Each ring marks a complete cycle of seasons, or one year, in the trees life. As of 2020, securely dated tree-ring data for the northern hemisphere are available going back 13,910 years.
How reliable are tree rings?
It is an accurate and reliable dating method with a large number of uses in environmental studies, archaeology and everything in between. The method has gone from strength to strength and is now a vital method across multiple disciplines.
How can you tell the age of a tree by counting rings?
Count the dark rings to calculate the age of the tree. Start in the middle of the stump or cross-section of wood and count the first dark ring you see. Continue counting outwards from the middle ring until you reach the last dark ring. The total number of dark rings represents the age of the tree in years.
How do you determine the age of a tree without cutting it down?
You can get a rough estimate of the age of a tree without cutting it down and counting the rings. The girth of a tree can be used to estimate its age, as roughly a tree will increase its girth by 2.5cm in a year. So, simply measure around the trunk of the tree (the girth) at about 1m from the ground.