Live Oak Ages, MS   larry tucei
  Oct 10, 2006 11:44 PDT 

Hello all. I have some exciting news from south Mississippi. I
located a 4' 2" diameter Live Oak that had been blow or cut down during
Hurricane Katrina. I counted 196 rings on this tree.  

A 4' 2" diameter Live Oak with about 196 rings

The 8' Diameter trees that I'm photographing must be at least 400 years old!   
Representing Mississippi    

Larry Tucei

RE: Live Oaks   Edward Frank
  Oct 12, 2006 18:09 PDT 


Good to see you post about Mississippi. The blown-down Live Oak
(Quercus virginiana?) count is something of interest to all of us. Many
of the larger Live Oaks are hollow and accurate ages can not be directly
measured by ring counts. It is difficult to extrapolate ages in one
tree based upon the age of another tree. There is a large variation in
growth rates from site to site and extrapolations may be off

Neil Pederson's Eastern Old List does not even list an age
for Live Oak. The Angel Oak on John's Island, South Carolina is touted
by the locals as being an estimated 1,500 years old. There is no way to
tell its actual age. Certainly the estimate of 400 years for a large
diameter Live Oak is not unreasonable.

Ed Frank
RE: Live Oaks   Willard Fell
  Oct 12, 2006 19:22 PDT 

As you say, site is everything in making estimations on age by size. While many areas do not have records of plantings, the live oaks shading Savannah's Downtown streets were planted in 1896 making them a respectable 110 years old. Also consider the fact that other than a few old Spanish missions on the islands, the mainland of GA was not settled until about 1730, about 275 years ago. The old original roads and alleys are lined with massive large live oaks which would lead me to believe they were less than 275 years old.

RE: Live Oaks
  Oct 12, 2006 19:50 PDT 

I visited a nice large live oak on the Camp Lejun Marine base a few years ago in NC. A friend of mine is a Major in the Marine Corps, and he had me on base for a visit. It is touted at being around 400 also. I also visited the Middletown SC live oak in 1993 on my honeymoon. What a great tree. It is great that you can get some real numbers from the blown over trees. I have two here in my nursery in SE Pa that have made it through the winters with little protection. I hope to plant them out in a couple of years. Come on global warming! just kidding.

RE: Live Oaks   Neil Pederson
  Oct 14, 2006

 That'd be great. Better yet, if you could get two narrow samples that go across the cross-section, that would be  great.

 I read your earlier post about potential ages.  When you don't  have the inside of a tree, if it is rotten, you really can't produce an accurate estimate as to how old the tree is. Rings are often narrower when a tree is smaller, for geometric reasons. So, a straight extrapolation will overestimate age. Yet, sometimes a small tree is suppressed. Therefore, an extrapolation would be underestimated. Do a google search on tree age estimation and 'charlie cogbill.' You'll find a nice discussion of this on the ENTS site.


Lawrence Tucei wrote:
Mon, 16 Oct 2006 07:17:00 -0500
Neil,  Here is the photo. I may be able to get a partial sample. 
I wet the cut so I could see better.   Larry 

Live Oak Growth Rates
  Dec 07, 2006 13:36 PST 


I was able to get a piece of 4'6" dia., Live Oak cut for me and
the ENTS. I will be shipping a slab to Neil Pederson for ageing
purposes! A friend of mine knew a Logger with a 4' saw, we set a time,
all met at the tree and he cut us a 3" slab. I can't wait to see the
results from Neil. We should be able to age the largest of Live Oaks
using this cut as some kind of benchmark. The tree grew within 300' of
the Gulf Of Mexico. In sandy alkaline soil in an open setting mainly
with other Live Oaks, as they blanket the Ms. Gulf Coast beachfront. All
the Live Oaks here are regenerating growth as they have for centuries
from Hurricanes. The Deep Southern ENTS, 

BTW, Happy Holidays to All.

  Dec 11, 2006 05:52 PST 


I will be sending a piece of a Live Oak 4'6" dia., to Neil in
Kentucky soon. But first, let me say it wasn't easy. A friend of mine
knew of some loggers that would make the cut for me, so we set a time
and all met at the downed Oak. The sample cut we took was approx. 10'
above ground when the tree was standing. The piece of Oak is 3" thick
and 24" long, a radius cut. It took a chainsaw with a 4' bar to make the
cut. I will take it to work, cut it smaller and rough sand it before
shipping it to Neil. I wanted to be able to age these Magnificent Live
Oaks and be accurate at it. When I first joined ENTS you guys responded
that you were very interested in this. So when we get the results it
should prove the growth rates of this speices given its locattion. The
tree grew approx. 200 yards from the Gulf, in sandy acidic soil mostly
with other Oaks and a few Pines. This tree has withstood numerous
Hurricanes over the years, but was brought down due to Hurricane
Kartina. The Ms. Gulf Coast has thousands of these trees, some are of
great age and quite large.
It will be very interesting to see these results.    


Re: dendrocronology   Neil Pederson
  Dec 11, 2006 08:45 PST 
Dear Larry,

Yes, live oak is not easy to work with; I should have warned you of that.
At a former institution we contracted a crew of arborists to cut down a few
live oaks for age analysis and restoration purposes [the trees broke our
strongest borers]. The crew quit after 3 trees [they were contracted to cut
6-9] because it wasn't worth it to them.

Anyhow, I look forward to that piece.

Thanks for your effort,
RE: dendrocronology   Robert Leverett
  Dec 11, 2006 10:11 PST 

Neil and Larry,

   This is way cool. A live oak chronology as a consequence of ENTS. Way


   Out of curiosity, do dendro-scientists, such as yourself, have a
hierarchy of trees that are toughest to core? We put everything else in
ENTS on some kind of comparative scale, why not tree resistance to being

Re: dendrocronology   Neil Pederson
  Dec 12, 2006 06:17 PST 
Bob, ENTS,

This will be cool! It will be cool to see how old a 4' diameter live oak
will be at 10' off the ground. We will have an internally cross-dated age for
this tree as a result of these samples.

I will let you know when we get an age.

RE: dendrocronology
  Dec 15, 2006 07:12 PST 

Ed,   The diameter of the piece was 4'6" at one point to 4'2" at another
point. The Oak was in 4 sections, the stump cut 4'6", the butt cut 4'2",
and the fork cuts. The sample was at the top of the butt cut approx.
8-10' above ground.
Re: Large Live Oak   Edward Frank
  Dec 16, 2006 18:26 PST 


Thanks for the photos I will post them the next time Looks like a fantastic
tree. Excellent work. I update the site next week.

For those interested there are some neat articles on Live Oak on the web.
The American Forest website has an excellent article from Winter 2006 on
Live Oaks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Live oak society:

The Live Oak Society website:
The Live Oak society is limited to one human member and currently has 5452
member trees in 14 states. A member must have a girth of at least 8 feet.
There are some nice photo galleries on the website. Of interest to the
aesthetics debate is a copy of the Louisiana road policy toward significant
or historic trees. There are addresses for many of the trees. (The older
just have town and county information.)

International Oak Society:

Ed Frank
Louisiana live oak age(ish)   Neil Pederson
  Jan 17, 2007 17:08 PST 

Hi All,

We spent a day last week doing the final prep on the samples of live
oak killed by Katrina Larry Tucei sent up up to Kentucky. Larry did a
nice job prepping the samples, so the sanding wasn't bad at all. Live
oak is one tough tree! The rings were a little more difficult to see
than from what I recall of live oak. Given that, we crossdated using
visual characteristics: ring color, 'interesting bands' of pore
vessels, and even a scar in one ring.

The age on the samples dates to what we think it 1872. We can't be
for sure if that is actually 1872 as we don't have another sample of
that species form that area [and it would take at the minimum 6-8 more
trees to verify]. I do not think, however, the age for these samples
is too far from that date. I would be surprised is there are any
missing rings; the ones in the wood are quite wide.

So, the samples from the 4' 2" diameter tree appear to be 134 yrs. We
don't see the pith, but it can't be too far off.

RE: Louisiana live oak age(ish)
  Jan 18, 2007 12:43 PST 

Neil, ENTS,   The Live Oak sample I sent was from the Ms. coast, it grew
200-300 meters from the Gulf of Mexico in Long Beach. Ed, has posted
info about this tree on the web. Neil, what year would you say the scar
is from? Perhaps a former Hurricane? Larry
Re: Louisiana live oak age(ish)   Neil Pederson
  Jan 20, 2007 15:32 PST 

Larry, ENTS,

Perhaps. It is hard to say. I can't give you a 100% date as we only
have 2 samples from one tree - we do not have complete dating control.
That would require a minimum of 8 more live oaks from the immediate

Do you have a list of hurricane dates for the surrounding region? We
could blindly test the date, even though that still wouldn't prove too
much as the tree dating is uncertain.

RE: Louisiana live oak age(ish)
  Jan 22, 2007 05:58 PST 

Neil,   I can get a list of past Hurricane dates. Neil, it would be
interesting to know the average growth rates of Live Oaks per Ft. Dia.,
looks like around 30 years per Ft. Thanks to you I now can make fairly
accurate estimates, and I thank you for helping me learn about
Dendrochronology. Would you like some more Live Oak samples to help in
accurate aging data? If you guys are not to busy. I still think these 9'
to 10' Dia., trees are around 400 years old. What to you think? I'm
looking forward to the Kentucky meeting, I have lots of questions for
you.   Larry