The old trees of various species reach the age between several hundred to over one thousand years. In this case, there is a specific diversity of age possibilities, and what is old age to a willow (50 – 60 years) is only the end of childhood to yew or oak. This is why we should be aware of which trees we will encounter on our trail of the truly old trees of the Carpathians.
One of the most typical tree species of the Carpathians is fir. By nature, it lives up to several hundred years, but 300-year-old specimens are considered old. Trees with long lifespan also include the linden which – much like the fir – lives up to several hundred years. Among the wild trees of the Carpathians, large dimensions and long lifespan are observed in the ash, as well as the sycamore, spruce and beech. The yew lives a really long time, as it easily exceeds 1000 years! We will end the review of the truly old trees with the mountain Swiss pine, which inhabits the highest parts of the Tatras.
The Carpathian Nature Map will lead us through the trail of fir, linden, ash, sycamore, spruce, beech, yew and the Swiss pine. In order to complete it, just look for other old trees in the visited area. If you want to approach this methodically, you can use the register of natural monuments, which contains a list of the oldest trees in a given commune or voivodeship. The complete register is maintained by the Voivodeship Nature Conservator, whose office you can find in the Regional Directorate of Environment Protection.
The long lifespan and native character of the species is usually confirmed by a plaque saying : Natural Monument! Each tree considered as such a monument is entered in the list maintained by the office of the nature conservator, but should also be described in the documents available in commune offices. There, you can check the approximate age of the tree and confirm the species.
And how do you measure the age of trees? There are three methods, which can supplement each other: 1/ archive records and documents confirming the planting of the tree, 2/ conclusion of the age drawn from the form and dimensions of the tree (which requires great experience in the recognition of numerous environmental factors) and 3/ counting of the layers of growth in a sample of wood collected with the aid of a wood drill.
For those interested in the issues associated with trees, we can recommend numerous studies and books which compose the science known as dendrology, i.e. the study of trees. We will certainly encounter old trees in tree parks, which are called dendrariums.