UKTC Archive

Re: Estimating tree ages based on trunk diameter/girth

Subject: Re: Estimating tree ages based on trunk diameter/girth
From: Paul Barton
Date: Jan 14 2022 17:57:42
Thanks to all that have replied on this!

Jerry, I hadn’t seen that neat little calculator based on John White’s 
system, thanks!  Thanks Simon for the Mitchell’s extracts too.

Of course my post would raise questions and debate on the point of the 
exercise - my fault for giving some limited context.  Suffice to say we have 
been asked to carry out this preliminary work but it’s not actually a proper 
review of the TPOs.

I am also not trying to claim a high degree of accuracy through this work - 
it’s merely a broad-brush approach to inform further assessment later.

Enjoy your weekends all!

On 12 Jan 2022, 08:55 +0000, Paul Barton <>, wrote:
Dear collective,
I wonder if you can help me?  I am looking for a simple method to estimate 
tree ages as part of a preliminary review of some area TPOs - i.e. to 
assess whether trees that are present now were most likely present (or not) 
on the year the area TPO was served.
I have come across various apps that claim to give an age based on trunk 
girth but after a brief test they seem to overestimate age (based on my 
experience only) as I suspect they are based on forestry plantation trees 
which tend to be more slender over time than open grown trees.
I came across this document from Newport council 
 which suggests that tree growth rates could be split out in to slow, 
moderate and fast - each with a corresponding ‘average’ annual girth 
increase.  These are given as: • Slow - 1.88 cm per year • Average - 2.5 cm 
per year • Fast - 3.13 cm per yearUsing such values would allow me to 
classify species by growth rate category and therefore have a ready 
reckoner to estimate tree ages based on their girth.  It can never be 
claimed to be very accurate but for the purpose of quickly assessing 
hundreds of trees a repeatable documented method would be useful.
BUT I don’t know if the above growth rate values are based on good data, 
ideally in the UK.
Finally to the point (congratulations if you lasted this long)…can anyone 
point me to a reliable source of UK tree growth rate data so that I could 
verify or amend the above suggested rates of growth?
Kind regards,
Paul Barton | Barton Hyett Associates Ltd | Arboricultural 

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