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How long do trees live

June 18th, 2007, 07:27 PM
Hi everyone!

There seem to be quite a number of green thumbs around here so I have a really basic question.

How long do trees live? Hundreds of years? Thousands?

Just curious...:shrug:



June 18th, 2007, 08:04 PM
Lucky for you Marko, I'm a forest technician!

How old a tree will get depends on the species of the tree. A tree such as an oak, which is a very slow growing tree will live much longer (by hundreds of years) than a tree like a poplar, which is very fast growing and might reach 100 years if it's lucky. Out west there are spruce and cedar that are hovering around 1000 years old. So it all depends on species really.

June 18th, 2007, 09:08 PM
I am no forestry engineer but my dad was a CEO in the pulp and paper industry before he retired so I tend to know more about trees than I really ever wanted to (Kidding - I just sort of grew up with it, lol - and now, despite my "whine" , I can recite the poem "there is nothing so lovely as a tree" - or something like that, rofl and of course, I own a large woodlot. (with my own road - I kind of wish I lived out west sometimes with the majestic Redwoods and Sequia (sp?) who live so much longer but I live in the east and love our trees just as much!! Since I am in the maritimes, I am used to species like oak, spruce and pine and maple of course (Bird's Eye Maple is very valuable and some unemployed people steal them which is why I have someone watching my property which is over 600 acres!) - So I know that pine trees can be between 60 to 80 years where as an oak or can be a thousand years and upwards. Even evergreens - of which we have a lot (tho I look at Google Earth sometimes and cringe at what the forest industry has done - with all due respect to the good life it has provided for so many Maritimers and my own family) - and cringe!!! - can live for thousands of yrs. Some Pines can live for 4,000 yrs (I have pines but they are not in that range). But not all conifers live that long.

My sister who wrote a PhD biology thesis on silviculture - tho now works in another field entirely -(She actually did another PhD in business, a field she is welcome to, lol) would add that how long a tree lives depends not simply on the species but on many factors like climate conditions (water, temperature, sunlight, etc.), fire dangers,diseases like Dutch Elm Disease, and the condition of the soil.

So, it's an interesting question and a fascinating subject. I guess I still am interested in forestry, lol I am determined never to cut down unnecessary trees. There was much wind this winter and I lost quite a few trees because branches or pieces of a tree broke off completely (It was amazing - I've never seen anything like that before!!) and of course one has to maintain a woodlot by silviculture and caring for it, sort of gardening for trees.

June 18th, 2007, 09:24 PM
and I thought of doing a simple google search before asking here. :)

Thanks for those great answers!!!

I sort of knew that it depended on the species and WAS sort of wondering about the Man not cutting issue. Trees to me are truly fascinating on many many just one more question..

For those trees that DO live thousands of years, if Man left them to die naturally, how do they die? Do they succumb to tree diseases? Do they just die of seriously old age and if so, do they just stop growing and their leaves fall off, and their branches wither and the whole thing rots?

It's amazing and somewhat embarrassing to admit how little I (and many city folk) know about general nature topics.

Thanks again :thumbs up

June 18th, 2007, 09:56 PM
I suppose what would eventually cause their death would depend on what natural elements they finally sucumb too. Lack of sunlight or root development due to surrounding trees, insect infestations that go unchecked by natural predators, lightening strikes, fires. Could be a number of individual factors or a number of them all at once that finally ends their life.


June 19th, 2007, 07:27 AM
You have some of the neatest and oldest trees listed here in this blog. The oldest man planted tree comes from my counrty btw ;)

June 19th, 2007, 08:46 AM
Thanks for that great link - Trees are amazing! :highfive:


June 19th, 2007, 08:46 AM
I know of an oak. A very special oak. It grows in the middle of a French village, in Normandy. It's right next to the village church. It has wires helping to support it, but is alive and kicking! Inside, there are two chapels. The downstairs one (ground level) has room for 2-3 people, upstairs you only fit one person.

During the crusades, there was a hermit monk living in the upper room! That says something about the age of that oak. It has seem William the Conqueror ride by.

I have visited it several times, and wouldn't go to Normandy without at least passing by. They even made a comedy movie around the oak, the entire village rallying to save it when the central planning commission wnated to cut it down to make room for a larger road!

June 19th, 2007, 06:22 PM
If a tree is left alone and never has any disease or insect infestations(completely impossible, but hypothetically speaking of course) a tree would naturally go into decline and die very slowly over the course of many years.

June 19th, 2007, 08:41 PM
My own experience is that trees left to their own devices so to speak - can die as the result of a variety of things - weather (ie think of hurricane Juan in Halifax and the storm in Vancouver- both devastated the tree propulation in those cities!), disease - some trees rot from the inside and need to be pruned. Anyone who does not do proper silviculture on their woodlot or tress (if they rae say a corporation) is just asking for trouble. There are ways to determine the age of trees which you likely learned in school (the rings et al) and there are also ways to determine how healthy a tree is.

But it is hard to think of just one tree because it really is part of a group (unless it is a lone tree planted on a lawn or something). I love having a woodlot where I can go and care for the trees. I even own a chain saw, lol (and a portable saw mill - I have actually cut down trees- with mega help granted), used the portable mill to create lumber from my trees and have used that wood - usually pine or oak and eeb Bird's Eye maple - to build a deck as well as other woodworking projects. My dad is usually the wood working person though - I just help (as in here is the drill, lol) - I feel like instead of asking a nurse to hand me something in surgery, I am the nurse helping him - drill please, nail please, lol

But I take great joy at seeing something created from a tree. Since I grew up in a family intimately familiar with the pulp and paper process, I also love to watch how that works - taking trees, and creating pulpwood into a watery substance that is treated and becomes paper (it is rather like when you made pottery in school out of paper and water and is sort of like paste only there is LOT more of it, lol) - and then seeing it end up on the paper machines and coming out as in some cases newsprint (Most of the mills in my dads company make newsprint but some are diversified- and that seems to be the buzzword of the day).

The forest industry is in somewhat of a crisis because some companies did not begin reforestation early enough!!! (This is especially true of companies who do not reside in Canada so hence just took the resource and did not put anything back!). That is a whole other topic tho, lol

Here is a web site that has some useful info about forestry management in New Brunswick.

I have an entire box of materials that go with the web site if you want even more materials.

June 20th, 2007, 09:45 PM
Stacer - you perfecly answered the exact question I had in my mind. :thumbs up

Thanks so much everyone - great tree info. Love it!:highfive:


June 21st, 2007, 07:31 PM
So I didn't spend all that money on my education for nothing then!!:laughing:

marsupial mama
June 28th, 2007, 04:39 AM
I just saw this on the BBC website. they have a lot of very old trees in Britain. A 5000 year old yew in Scotland that is as old as Stonehenge and was already 3000 years old and venerated by the locals when the Romans invaded Britain. Check it out.

July 3rd, 2007, 03:51 PM
Trees are wonderful,if they only could talk,what stories they could tell..
When we bought our house,the whole street was lined with Chestnut-trees,part of the reason we bought this old house.
Then came the treekillers,they widened the street and most of the huge majestic trees were chopped down,I actually sobbed when they cut the one down in front of my house:sad:

marsupial mama
July 6th, 2007, 07:00 AM
oh, chico, that's awful... i love the old parts of town with the huge trees... the posher subdivision on the other side of the main road here has TONS of trees, way more than we do. I would be heartbroken too. One of the reasons I am glad to live on a side street off of a side street, I doubt they would widen it... But I heard there used to be more trees before, previous occupants and a somewhat opiniated neighbour got rid of them. I want to plant more but fear I won't see them in their full splendour. Unless I can $$$ to get mature trees transplanted which is very unlikely to happen.

July 6th, 2007, 07:11 AM
Well,here in Oakville,you now have to have a permit from the town,to cut a tree down from your own property.
We have 2 huge trees and 2 smaller ones in our backyard,I would not dream of cutting them down,it's a haven for all the birds and gives us privacy and shade:thumbs up
The new subdivisions,popping up like mushrooms look like ugly concrete jungles,no trees,no nothing....:sad: