A Non-invasive Guide to Approximating the Ages of Historical Trees in the Northeastern Landscape

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Understanding the ages of trees and their historical significance has the potential to encourage the public to think critically about the resiliency of plants in the natural world. A common method for approximating the ages of trees used in public gardens is dendrochronology coring. The main issue with this technique is that it requires that the tree be cored to get this data, opening it up to diseases or pests. This process also requires professional equipment that is not accessible to the general public. As people begin to learn how to determine the age of a tree without cutting into it, they may become less likely to remove it from their home lawns. What if we could all learn how to approximate the ages of the trees around us in a simple, practical way? Children and adults could learn the same method and alter the way they think about historical trees. Trees can have their ages approximated using several different best practices including the examination of certain characteristics distinctive to old trees, as well as using a formula by the International Society of Arboriculture. By utilizing methodologies from highly respected public gardens, as well as best practices from other professionals in the field, a comprehensive public guide to aging significant trees when historical records are not present was created to promote the appreciation for legacy trees. We should all strive to gain a better perspective on the magnitude of our natural environment, but in a simple, digestible way. This guide will be shared with public gardens to try to impact the appreciation of historical trees by the public.

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