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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Using known planting dates to callibrate Veteran Tree age assessments

As previously mentioned our photographic history can be a fantastic resource, often in family portrait shots there will be a house and garden in the background, many times broad landscape shots highlight large significant trees of the period when the picture was taken. Even though it is somewhat unusual to have an actual tree planting picture it does sometimes happen as seen in the missing trees shot at Burliegh, and the Southport Bathing Pavillion shot below:

Now since we know the photo was taken in 1938 we can have an accurate estimate for the tree's age....looks like a 5yr sapling so allow +/- 5yrs then approx 80 yr old Ficus benjamina:

Now just how such a young tree could, or should fit into the concept of Veteran trees....well to be honest of course it is not a 'Veteran Tree', it is however a historically significant tree for the Gold Coast region, and understandably so when you view the other trees along Marine Parade (The Gold Coast Highway).

One of the less obvious consequences of looking at trees with a view to longer time frames, to how they connect with our own past, our own that you begin to find living connections with that past in unexpected locations.

For Veteran Tree hunters having the knowledge that this sized Ficus benjamina is 80yrs old gives you a useful benchmark for other similar species growing in similar locations, yes there will be a degree of variability even along our part of the coast... but if you found, say a Hill's fig in the hind dune area twice as big (with respects to Diameter at Breast Height DBH) you could be relatively confident that it would be around 120-150yrs old.

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