What is the Oldest Tree in Michigan?

What is the Oldest Tree in Michigan?

With all the beautiful and amazing trees in Michigan, you might also wonder which of those trees have been living or have lived the longest. To be honest, the answer to that question is somehow complicated. As you know, there are many things that you should consider and you would need an expert’s analysis of those data to come up with a concrete and objective answer.

Michigan biggest tree a possibility

Many tree experts have probably done the research for this to see if they can find out which is the oldest tree in Michigan. Unfortunately, no one was yet to come up with a solid and concrete answer.

Isn’t the Biggest Tree Also the Oldest Tree?

Some people might be thinking that the answer to the question “what is the tallest tree in Michigan?” will also tell us which is the oldest tree in Michigan. However, it is not that really simple since different types of trees have a varying rate in terms of their physical growth. To explain it in a clearer way, it is easier judging in a  “Biggest tree in Michigan contest” than “Oldest tree in Michigan contest” simply because the first one only has 1 criterion and it is easier to measure.

Black Willow Trees

For example, Black Willow trees are the type of trees that grows rapidly in terms of their height. In fact, the tallest tree in Michigan is a Black Willow tree that you can find in Grand Traverse County.

Having said that, you should also consider the species of the tree when studying its age because some of them are a slow-growing type of tree. There are a number of tree species that have a very long lifespan like red and white oak, sugar maple, white cedar, yellow birch, eastern hemlock, and the list goes on. Their lifespan can usually reach more than 300 years, so it is safe to say that there are a huge number of trees that have been living for a few centuries in Michigan right now.

Where is it Possibly Located?

If you want to know the oldest trees in Michigan, it is also important to know first the possible location of those trees. However, since Michigan is covered with many forests, it can really be a hard time to figure out which one might have the oldest tree. Old-growth forest, also known as virgin forest, is a type of forest where it has very little disturbance at all which makes it long-lasting. 

Old-Growth Forests

Old-growth forests are the places in which you will usually find some very unique and endangered species, along with a vast amount of carbon, an essential element for trees. With that, it is highly likely that the oldest tree in Michigan is possibly located in one of its old-growth forests.

Are There Possible Nominees?

Years ago, there were some claims about a thousand-year-old White Cedar tree that is located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a U.S. national park in South Manitou Island. However, an expert from Michigan DNR reported that the tree already died.

Interestingly, during a field trip in 2007, 2 people named Ernie Otsuno and Lee Frelich were able to study a few living cedars trees and concluded that some of those trees could possibly be more or less 500 years in age.

white cedar tree in Michigan. Possible biggest tree in Michigan.

Without any hard pieces of evidence, all that we have for now is an assumption that the closest candidate for the “oldest tree” as of today is the cedar grove in South
Manitou Island.

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