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How to tell the age of a tree

History is alive in our woodlands – discover the age of your local trees

Posted: 3 April 2012
by Fiona McKim

1. Find a large tree and choose a point from which to measure it at around four to five feet from the ground, ensuring you choose a part of the tree that is not significantly thicker or thinner than the rest of the trunk.

2. Using a soft and flexible tape measure, measure the girth of the trunk in centimetres.

3. The age of a tree can be calculated by dividing this measurement by its growth factor, the growth factor of some of Britain’s most popular trees can be found below.

Oak: 2
Sycamore: 2.75
Holly: 1.25
Pine or Spruce: 3.25
Elm, Ash or Beech: 2.5

More green living advice from Junior:

Ways to encourage birds into your garden

Growing vegetables with your child

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Discuss this story

Hi Fiona,

Where did you find those Growth Factors? I'm trying to find a list for use with schools.

Best wishes,

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