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LAN 200 - Sustainable Landscape Practices

Lab 2: Tree Measurement & Evaluation

Landscape Practices Lab

Tree Measurement and Evaluation


The purpose of this lab is to familiarize the student with various measuring techniques that are useful in the landscape/nursery industry and useful in evaluation of trees.  Much of the information gained in this lab will be used in your Tree Evaluation Project.

Helpful Website and Organization:
A conservation organization with a “Champion Tree” Program, historic tree nursery, and many other resources for and about trees. 

Lab Topics:

  1. What is DBH and how do we measure it?
  2. How do you measure tree height and what is a clinometer?
  3. How do you calculate crown spread?
  4. What is Critical Rooting Area (CRA) and how do you figure it out?


Outdoor Lab Activities :  work in groups of 2 or more

  1. Choose a tree and determine the crown width.  Measure out 3 to 5 times the crown width.  Use flags to mark this area representing the potential root spread of this tree.
  2. Measure DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) of several trees. Hint:  Circumference = Diameter x 3.14    (C=Dπ)
  3. On the tree that you determined crown width, calculate the Critical Rooting Area and use contrasting color flags to represent the CRA.
  1. Measure several tree heights using the clinometer and tape measure.
  1. Using the STCC Tree Evaluation Sheet provided, evaluate one tree.   Gather with the group to review the evaluation sheet and ask questions.

Supplies needed:

  • Tree measuring handouts (see box on left)
  • Tape Measures
  • Marking flags, 2 colors
  • Clinometers
  • Clipboards
  • Tree Caliper
  • STCC Tree Evaluation Sheets
  • Calculator
  • Pen or pencil