Every single spring and summer, each tree grows another layer of wood that is added onto the trunk. In the spring the wood grows quickly and is a lighter color because it is made of large cells. During the summer the wood grows much slower, has smaller cells and is darker in color.
- To tell the age of the tree – Count the dark rings!
- When a tree is getting plenty of sunshine and rain it will have rings that are broad and evenly spaced.
- If a tree has went through a forest fire it may have some scarring on the bark right along one of the rings but every year the tree will add more wood to cover the scar.
- Very narrow rings that continue through several seasons can indicate a drought or maybe an insect infestation.
- If a tree has rings that seem wider on one side than the other it may suggest that something pushed against the tree as it was growing. The tree will build what is called “reaction wood” to prop up and support the side that is leaning.