Which Trees Can Live the Longest
Finding the Trees that Will Be with You for Generations
It’s nice to think that the trees we plant will be around for our grandkids to enjoy or that the old oak with the treehouse will be around for years to come. But which of the trees in our yards will last the longest? Find the species that will provide shade and beauty for decades.
So, How Old Can Trees Get?
Maximum age depends on which species we’re talking about. Still, many trees commonly found in backyards across the country live anywhere from 50 years to well over 100. Here’s how long you can expect certain trees to live in the wild:
- Gray birch: 50 years
- Persimmon: 60 years
- Black willow: 75 years
- Southern magnolia: 80 years
- Sassafras: 100 years
- Red maple: 130 years
- White pine: 200 years
- White oak: 300 years
- American beech: 300 years
What Tree Lives the Longest?
Many long-lived trees grow in conditions most of us don’t have in our backyards. The Alaskan yellow cedar, which can live up to 3,500 years, mainly grows in the Cascade Mountains at elevations higher than 2,000 feet. Giant sequoias can live to 3,000 years, but their diameter makes them unsuitable for most backyards. The bristlecone pine provides us with our oldest trees: up to 5,000 years old! It thrives at high elevations in California.
There is a mix of long-lived hardwoods (like oaks and hickories) and softwoods (like firs, redwoods, and yew) that live for many years.
Flowering trees typically have medium lifespans, with fruit trees living the shortest amount of time.
Do Trees Die of Old Age?
Most trees are more likely to die from poor site conditions that lead to being susceptible to extreme wind, storm damage, pests, disease, or fire. However, trees are not immortal. While it’s not likely you’ll find one dying of old age, trees do have a limit on how old they can get.
Related Content: How to Prevent a Tree from Growing Too Tall
How Long Do Trees Live with Proper Care?
With proper care, like regular pruning, proper soil and site conditions, and insect & disease management, trees can live 50 years or more. Urban trees with small growing plots are more likely to die early, requiring more care to stay as healthy as possible. However, most trees didn’t evolve in conditions similar to your backyard, so they may have a shorter lifespan than they would in the wild.
How Long Does It Take for a Tree to Grow?
Growing time depends on the species of tree you’re planting and whether you’re growing your tree from a seed or a sapling. Juvenile trees labeled as “fast-growing” can more than double their height in a decade, going from 10 feet to over 25 feet. Meanwhile, slow-growing trees grow from 10 feet to 18 feet or less in the same ten years. Fruit trees often take 5-15 years to mature enough to bear when planted from a seed. Many trees are considered “mature” at ten years of growth.
Remember that trees never stop growing, so mature size is subjective.
How to Estimate How Old a Tree Is Without Cutting It Down
You’ve probably heard of counting the rings on a stump to tell how old the tree was when it was cut down. But how do you tell how old a tree is without killing it? Professional arborists can inspect your tree and approximate its age according to several guidelines while leaving it alive.
An arborist can also measure the diameter of your tree. Comparing it to the average diameter of the species at different ages provides an approximate age. This method is less precise but non-intrusive.
Helping Your Trees Grow for Many Years to Come
Do you have a long-lived tree in your yard? Make sure it sticks around for years with personalized tree care from Monster Tree Service. Call us at (888) 744-0155 or contact your local Monster Tree Service to schedule regular services with professional arborists and plant health care experts.