Yes, each spring there is a period of growth and the layer of the tree just below the bark grow outward (I forget what it’s called)… so once a year you see a period of expansion / growth and you can determine the age of the tree by seeing how many growth seasons it went through. Dendrochronology is what it is called. Here’s a better description than what I offered which I found by googling Dendrochronology:
New wood grows from the cambium layer between the old wood and the bark. In the spring, when moisture is plentiful, the tree devotes its energy to producing new growth cells. These first new cells are large, but as the summer progresses their size decreases until, in the fall, growth stops and cells die, with no new growth appearing until the next spring. The contrast between these smaller old cells and next year’s larger new cells is enough to establish a ring, thus making counting possible.”
I bet the wikipedia page has a ton more info (and a cool picture of a tool used to drill a core sample— so you can date a tree without cutting it down)!
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