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How to Determine's a Tree's Age WITHOUT Cutting it Down

Updated: May 20, 2022

Counting rings on a tree is one way to estimate the age of it but what if you want to estimate the age of the tree while it is still living? Well, there is a very simple equation to help get a rough estimate of the age without having to break out the chainsaw. All you need is to know the type of tree, a way to measure around the trunk of the tree (about 4 1/2 feet from the ground), and the growth factor of the tree you are measuring (listed below).

First, at 4 and 1/2 feet from the ground, measure trunk for the diameter, all the way around. Divide the diameter by 3.14.

Then, multiply by the tree's growth factor (listed below).

What are the growth factors for some of Western North Carolina's common trees?

Ash - 4

Beech - 6

White Birch - 5

White Oak - 5

Walnut - 4.5

Cottonwood - 2

Elm - 4

Sycamore - 4

Poplar - 6

Silver Maple - 3

Red Maple - 4.5

Sugar Maple - 5

Black Maple - 5

Black Cherry - 5

Dogwood - 7

Bradford Pear - 3

Couldn't find the tree you're looking for? There are hundreds of species living in Western North Carolina, we couldn't list them all here. Try looking them up online or plugging in 4.5 or 5 would give a safe general estimate.

That's Diameter divided by 3.14, multiplied by Growth Factor

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