How to Tell the Age of a Tree (Without Using Tree Rings)

If you come across a tree that has been cut down, you can work out how old it was by counting the tree rings. One ring for each year. That’s easy. But did you know you can tell the age of trees that are still alive? Here’s how to tell the age of a tree (without using tree rings)!

tree rings

You will need

  • Some string
  • Measuring tape and/or string
  • Notebook and pen


1. First measure 1.5m (5ft) up from the ground of your chosen tree.

2. At this point pass a piece of string or flexible measuring tape around the the trunk of the tree to measure the girth of the tree.

3. If using string record the length of the string.

4. Every 2.5cm is equal to one year. So if your girth is 250cm the tree is 100 years old.

Why not try it out on different trees.

You might also like to Measure a Tree and 15 Fun Nature Activities for Kids

Did you work out the ages of trees? Tell us how you got on in the comments below.

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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched in 2007.