By Anne Baley
Trees are among the oldest living things on earth, with some extraordinary examples lasting thousands of years. While the elm tree in your backyard won’t live that long, it’s likely to outlive you, and possibly your children. So when planting trees on your property, keep the far future in mind. Gardens, flower beds and playgrounds may come and go, but a tree will live on for generations. Keep reading for information on the average age of trees.
What is the Lifespan of a Tree?
So exactly how long do trees live? Much like animals, the average age of trees depends on its species. If a tree has enough water, food and sunshine throughout its life, then it can live to the end of its natural lifespan. That said, no amount of care can make an elm live as long as a sequoia.
On the other hand, Alaska red cedar can live up to 3,500 years. Giant sequoias can last over 3,000 years and at least one Bristlecone pine is estimated to be almost 5,000 years old.
How the Age of a Tree is Determined
Trees that live in temperate climates with distinct seasons grow rings inside their trunks. If you were to drill a core from the outer bark to the center of the tree, you could conceivably count the rings to determine the age of the tree. If a tree is chopped down or falls from a storm, the rings can be easily seen and counted.
Most trees that live in warmer climates without seasons live a shorter amount of time, and can usually be dated by local records or personal memories.