How to Count Tree Rings

By Cynthia Measom

If you cut down a tree and reveal the inner part of it, you will see a variety of light and dark rings in the wood. These rings can relay a wealth of information regarding the tree's growth conditions throughout its life. If you want to determine the age of a tree, count the rings. It's not a complicated process, yet you should know not to count every ring.

Age of tree
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Step 1

Collect a circle of wood from a tree that has been cut down or locate a stump of a tree that is not rotted.

Step 2

Examine the wood for a circular pattern of light and dark rings. Each ring represents a layer of wood growth. The light rings represent spring growth and the dark rings represent summer growth. A tree acquires one light and one dark ring annually.

Step 3

Count only the dark rings. Start from the middle and move outward toward one side. The number of dark rings equals the number of years the tree has been alive.