Live oaks on Amelia Island are some of the most resilient local inhabitants. Unlike the water oak, they tend to live longer and weather storms. Considering the age of a tree, I’d like to estimate the age of a tree with a 72” diameter, using the formula below. Typically, the diameter is calculated by measuring the circumference at 4 to 5 feet above the ground and using that number to calculate a diameter.
The first 10 inches in diameter indicate an age of 76 years. Each inch after that adds six-and-a-half years up to age 154. After that, each inch adds six years.
72 Total Inches
First 10 inches – 76 years
Then, the next 12 inches… takes us to 154 years. After that…I’m guessing 22 inches in diameter, we still need to account for the last 50 inches at 6 years per inch. (50×6)+154= 454 years. That can’t be right! Let’s compare the “Treaty Oak” age estimate in Jacksonville. Apparently, the Treaty Oak’s estimated age is 250 years, with around 95 inches in diameter and a 25’ circumference. If I use this number, a 72 inch oak in Fernandina might be closer to 190 years in age. There is variation in growth rate, depending on location, water, surrounding vegetation, but seeing a tree like this as 150 to 200 years in age is reasonable. These trees could have been saplings when Louis-Michel Aury was on the island in 1817.
Regardless, big oaks are old and should be protected. I’d love to think the big oaks I grew up with might be around for another 200 years, but the island is changing. Looking for creative ways to develop property can preserve trees and homeowners are beginning to see the value of this preservation. Depending on the configuration of a site, sometimes losing lots can be offset by the premium for larger lots and reduced cost for infrastructure.