Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

4: Tree Age

  • Page ID
    20240
    • 4.1: Determining Tree Age
    • 4.2: Young trees
    • 4.3: Field Technique Tips for Counting Whorls:
    • 4.4: Forest Setting
      Larger trees growing in a forest present the greatest challenge. As noted above, it is very difficult to estimate tree age simply from size. So much depends on the tree’s microenvironment (access to light, water, space and nutrients), its unique species-dependent growth habits, and the events that alter the tree’s environment or health over the course of its life. The frequency and intensity of disturbances such as fire, insect attacks, or windstorms profoundly influence tree growth over time.
    • 4.5: Increment Boring
      Counting a tree’s annual rings is a reliable way to estimate its age when records are unavailable; this method has been adapted for living trees. An instrument called an increment borer extracts a small, pencil-sized piece of wood, or core sample, from the trunk of the tree. A mini-auger is drilled by hand from the bark to the center (pith) of the tree, and the resulting core sample extracted from the hole displays the annual rings (or increments of growth) of the tree at that point in the tree.
    • 4.6:. Field Techniques for Increment Boring
    • 4.7: Summary Questions