How To Find The Age Of My Bonsai Tree?

When bonsai trees are looked after and cared for properly, they can live for hundreds of years! In fact the oldest bonsai tree known of currently is a Ficus, sitting at around 1000 years old! But for someone who just wants to know the real age of their bonsai tree, short of cutting the trunk in half to count the rings, how can you find the age of a bonsai tree?

Unlike normal trees, you can’t cut your bonsai tree down to find the age of it using the amount of rings. The best way to find the age of a bonsai is to use a simple equation of diameter multiplied by growth factor, equals roughly the trees age. Keep reading for more information… 

A 1000 Year Old Bonsai Tree, Photo From Morten Albek.

Finding The Age Of A Bonsai Tree

When it comes to telling the age of a bonsai tree, there are a number of ways that can help you to determine it. You need to understand that the majority of bonsai trees may be old, in fact many of them can be way older than you might think. Yamadori in particular, can be quite old for their size. Now, the age compared to the size is directly influenced by many aspects. These bonsai trees grow in a very restricted environment. A bonsai container, basically creates the similar type of environment, aside from regulating the specific amount of soil, water and nutrients to keep the little bonsai tree happy all the year.

It is considered that bonsai trees and regular trees that grow in restrained spaces will eventually far outlive their species pals in regular conditions, mainly because they will not be able to reach their maximum height due to the other trees that exhaust their entire energy and begin to die back. The majority of Japanese bonsai trees are considered to be centuries old and they have been passed down from generation to generation. Remember to respect the age of your bonsai trees and keep those tiny rings steady.

Some juniper bonsai species are relatively easy to guess, as a result of many key ID components and the actual fact that we have many wonderful documents and apps able to ease on our research.

You might have probably discovered the old trick of just counting all the rings on a tree stump to actuate the trees age. Then again, we all love our bonsai trees and we do not wish to cut them down, they look beautiful in our home garden! Fortunately, a very quick and effective way to determine the age of the live bonsai trees that do not involve to cut them down just to count the rings is to simply measure them. We should appreciate that we have people in this world that are more than thrilled to help willingly and freely to educate the others. Truly but a gift to receive this precious knowledge from awesome and experienced people!

How To Find The Age Of A Bonsai Tree (Step By Step)

Step 1 – Start with the circumference, take a measuring tape and just ran it around the bonsai tree at a specific 1.5 inches from the ground. You need to remember that there are numerous factors that can contribute to the actual size of a bonsai tree other than age, for instance, the bonsai tree may have had some major competition, the soil also may have been excessively fertile or just really unproductive, all will add up to the trees growth. The circumference equals the inches around the bonsai tree.

Step 2 – Diameter. As soon as you establish the circumference, you now need to find out the diameter. And the diameter equals the circumference divided by 3.14 pi.

Step 3 – You need to find the growth factor. To do so, you have plenty of resources online that will give you the number for the specific breed of bonsai tree that you own. In the end, for calculating the tree’s age, you will have to multiply the resulted diameter with the accordingly growth factor.

Diameter multiplied by Growth Factor equals the Approximate Bonsai Tree Age.

Now, considering the fact that math may not be appreciated by many, I wish to redirect you towards a website called the Tree Age Estimator. It will help you to come with an answer to your question.

A 500 Year Old Bonsai Tree – Photo From Sekiabonsai.

As any other trees, during every spring and summer a bonsai tree adds up new layers of wood to its tiny trunk. Read carefully, the wood that is formed in spring grows quite fast and is lighter because it made out of large cells. In summer time on the other hand, the growth is slower and the wood consists of smaller cells and the color is darker. When you cut a deceased bonsai tree, you will observe that the layers appear as oscillating rings of light wood mixed with dark wood.

In the end, go ahead and begin to count all the dark rings on the trunk and you may just estimate your trees age. Don’t be afraid to study the rings, although may seem hard in the beginning, you can learn so much more about the bonsai. And always recall that countless things can affect the way a bonsai tree grows, therefore these changeable variations can alter the shape, the thickness, the color and the uniformity of the tree’s rings.

Final Thoughts 

I hope this guide helps you in working out the age of your bonsai tree! Most people will only have a rough idea of the age of their tree as for the most part it isn’t the most important piece of information. The only reason you would want to know the age of your bonsai tree is mainly for when buying or selling trees, it can add a lot of value to the price of a bonsai if the tree is extremely old.

If you have bought a cheap nursery tree or a bonsai tree online for a low price, it’s probably only going to be 3-5 years old and I really wouldn’t even bother trying to work out the age unless you’re assuming it’s maybe 15 plus years old. Even to this day it still surprises me how long bonsai trees actually live for, with the oldest known bonsai tree currently sitting at 1000 years old! If you’re interested in how old these trees can be, have a read of my new article: The 8 Oldest Bonsai Trees In The World.

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