Trees don’t die because of “old age,” and unlike people, they don’t “wear out” either. They don’t wear out like a car engine, a human heart, or a sharpening stone.
What usually gets them in the end is decay followed by a sudden gust of gravity…
I believe a tree could live forever (and there is no real scientific reason that they couldn’t) given a perfect environment.
A tree usually dies because it runs out of something, like water, or elements, or space. Or, something runs into it, like a tornado, a moving van, a prolonged drought, or a guy with a chainsaw. There are exceptions to the rule around town, like an ancient oak completely surrounded by asphalt, or a delicate dogwood baking in full sun. It’s kinda like the 98 year old guy that has rifled down 2 packs of Camels and a fifth of gin for the last 75 years and is still kicking, but it is not the rule!
My mom used to say “You think pushin’ forty is hard, try pullin’ it.” Ha! Was she ever right. How old is old, then? Well, there aren’t any 100 year old willows around, but a 100 year old Bristlecone pine isn’t even done teething yet, but why? The simple reason is that broadleaved softwood riparian trees rot like crazy, while conifers are filled with resins that keep decay in check.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant a tree that has a shorter expected lifespan than most, as it isn’t the destination in life as much as it is the journey… If you like it, plant it! The most common reason for not planting a tree is “I’ll never live long enough to see it at maturity.” So what? Look at all the trees we enjoy that were planted before we were but a gleam in our daddy’s eye, and the person who planted it is long since gone… Planting a tree is a lot like having children, short of them stepping out in front of a bus, they will probably outlive you, as they should!
The best time to plant a tree is yesterday they say, how true indeed. There are trees I recommend that you should NEVER plant, but take that advice with a grain of salt, it is just my opinion. If you like it, plant it!
With all the crazy stuff going on in the world lately, I think we could use a little beautification, and trees are about the most beautiful things I can think of…