There is a tree in the front yard of my house. An elm. An old elm. Frankly, it is the patriarch (or matriarch) of the neighborhood. Maybe the town. Or state. Every other year we pay to have it injected with a Dutch Elm vaccination. I’ve always wanted to know how old it is – without cutting it down and counting the rings. . . .
I did some research on the subject. There is a metric one can use to determine the age of these magnificent gifts of God.
At a height of around four feet, measure the circumference in inches and divide by pi (3.14). This gives the diameter. For an elm – multiply the diameter by 4.0 and that will give you the approximate age. For other tree species, the multiples are as follows:
x 2.0 – Aspen or Cottonwood; x 3.0 – Silver Maple, Pin Oak or Linden; x 3.5 – River Birch; x 4.0 – Elm or Red Oak; x 4.5 – Walnut or Red Maple; x 5.0 – Sugar Maple, White Birch, White Oak or Cherry; x 7.0 Dogwood, Ironwood or Redbud
In the case of our grand elm, the circumference is 140 inches (I used a long string to wrap around the trunk – and then did the measurement). Divided by pi equals a diameter of 44.5 inches. Multiply by 4.0 = 178. That’s 178 years. Our tree was born in or around 1842. I hope it will be around for years to come. . . . .