Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

What Are Tree Rings Called?

...
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

When a tree has been chopped down, the cross-section through the trunk reveals a concentric pattern of rings. These rings are called tree rings, or annual rings, and provide scientists with a tool to help date past events.

Function

Inside the trunk, a thin layer of cells called the cambium divides to create new tissue both inside and outside its own circumference. The outer tissue becomes the phloem, while the inner tissue becomes the xylem. Most (though not all) trees in temperate regions add one ring each year.

Types

Tree rings are sometimes called annual rings, although both names are often used interchangeably. The study of tree rings and their use in dating past events is called dendrochronology.

  • When a tree has been chopped down, the cross-section through the trunk reveals a concentric pattern of rings.
  • These rings are called tree rings, or annual rings, and provide scientists with a tool to help date past events.

Significance

Droughts, heavy rainfall and forest fires can leave distinctive marks on the rings of a growing tree. Rings that formed during a dry spell, for example, will generally be narrower than other rings. Scientists can use this technique and compare ring patterns from different trees to figure out when past droughts or fires may have occurred in some regions.

Related Articles

Tree Ring Facts
Tree Ring Facts
What Are the Five Main Parts of a Tree Trunk Called?
What Are the Five Main Parts of a Tree Trunk Called?
Ginkgo Tree Habitat
Ginkgo Tree Habitat
What Countries Grow Cocoa Beans?
What Countries Grow Cocoa Beans?
What is the Lifespan of a Cedar Tree?
What is the Lifespan of a Cedar Tree?
Tree Conservation Facts
Tree Conservation Facts
Tree Caliper vs. Canopy Size
Tree Caliper vs. Canopy Size
When Do Pecan Trees Produce Nuts?
When Do Pecan Trees Produce Nuts?
How to Identify Tree Seedlings
How to Identify Tree Seedlings
How to Ring Trees to Kill Them
How to Ring Trees to Kill Them
What Effect Does a Leaf Miner Have on a Tree?
What Effect Does a Leaf Miner Have on a Tree?
My Live Oak Is Losing Leaves
My Live Oak Is Losing Leaves
Douglas Fir vs. Balsam Fir
Douglas Fir vs. Balsam Fir
What Climate Do Cocoa Beans Grow In?
What Climate Do Cocoa Beans Grow In?
Loblolly Pine Tree Diseases
Loblolly Pine Tree Diseases
Garden Guides
×