Tree Height

There are many methods that can be used to determine or estimate the height of a tree, including something as simple as a stick.  To accurately record tree height, the measurements should be confirmed by an expert such as a local arborist, forester, or other appropriate professional. This would be especially important in the case of National Champions. When you enter a tree you will be asked what methodology you used (even if was just an estimate).

As with girth measurements, tree height measurements are taken from the same starting point on the ground.  They are both measured relative to where the tree first sprouted.  The best way to approximate this for trees growing on slopes is to imagine a line running down the mid line of the stem. Where it meets the ground is where you should base your measurement. Tree height is the vertical distance from here to the highest point of the tree (the heighter).

There are many documented ways that tree height can be determined. Some are very accurate and some can provide seriously flawed results.The two biggest sources of error are misidentifying what is the actual top of the tree, and the fact that the tree top may not be directly over the base of the tree. All tree measurement methods that use the tangent method of calculating tree height can be affected by as much as 20% by these errors.

The following guides provide many tips on measuring tree height;  Eastern Native Tree Society - ... Tree Measuring Guidelines 2008 (492kb) and Tree Measuring Guidelines - ENTS 2006 (745kb).

We thank the ENTS for permission to publish these links.

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