How long do oak trees live?

One of the most common questions we get asked at RSA trees is how long do oak trees live? We’re not surprised. The mysterious essence of the oak tree has created an aura of magic around the oak, so they’re commonly associated with folklore, witchcraft and various other types of magical beings. You might recognize this guy from a famous film franchise;


Yep, even the LOTR franchise has acknowledged the magnificence of the oak tree, as the majority of the ents in the films are actually great oak trees. They’re painted as being thousands of years old and being rooted their since the beginning; but what about oak trees in real life? Disclaimer: Ents aren’t real. Sorry to break it to you.

Well, it’s true that some oak trees can live for in excess of one thousand years. Whilst we like artificial trees too, nothing can beat an old, aged oak tree in our eyes. The oldest tree in the United Kingdom is the Bowthorpe oak tree, which is estimated to be over 1200 years old;


Whilst this isn’t the average age of the oak tree, it does give a good idea of how long that they can potential live. Of course, this is only applicable if they are given the chance to live! Petitions to save old oak trees are being fought all the time; in the majority of cases they are lost, but in some special circumstances, the oak tree (and its supporters!) will win the battle.

How does it grow for so long?

Well, unfortunately many of the oldest oak trees are products of their circumstances. This means that often they are only so slow growing because they have been restricted the opportunity to grow with full potential, otherwise their life span may be significantly shorter.

With oak trees, much of their age is determined on what type of oak tree that they are. The oldest growing oak tree is the white oak tree group, in which trees can often grow to well in excess of hundreds of years, or in cases like the above, thousands. A more common oak tree like the red oak tree group may only live to one hundred years or so, which is still a significantly old trees.

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