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Venerable TreesHistory, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass$
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Tom Kimmerer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813165660

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813165660.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2019

The Floracliff Trees

The Floracliff Trees

The Long Lives of Venerable Trees

(p.165) 12 The Floracliff Trees
Venerable Trees

Tom Kimmerer

University Press of Kentucky

It is difficult to know the age of a tree. Size and age are not closely related, and it is possible for a small tree on a poor site to be much older than a large tree of the same species on a better site. The only accurate way to measure tree age is to count the annual rings that temperate trees make. This is done by taking a pencil-size core of a standing tree, or cutting a slab from a dead tree. The oldest tree for which we have a highly accurate count is a 404-year-old chinkapin oak at Floracliff State Nature Preserve. It is very likely that older trees will be found. Old trees are often hollow, which makes accurate counting of early rings impossible. This chapter discusses the science of dendrochronology, the measurement of time using tree rings. It also discusses the reasons that old trees die and makes recommendations for prolonging the lives of very old trees.

Keywords:   tree size, tree age, tree longevity, dendrochronology, tree rings, oldest trees

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