What Is a Caliper Measurement for a Tree?

A tree?s caliper measurement refers to the diameter of the tree?s trunk. Therefore, a 3-inch caliper tree has a trunk that is 3 inches across. A tree caliper is commonly used to calculate this measurement, especially for trees that do not have very large diameters.

The caliper of a tree?s trunk can be measured at about 6 inches from the ground or from the tree?s base. By calculating the tree?s caliper, an individual can determine if the tree has suitable dimensions for its intended purpose.

Tree calipers can be made of wood, metal or plastic. Their design varies, but they are traditionally composed of a graduated beam with measurement markings, a sliding arm and a fixed arm. These arms grasp the tree trunk, and the caliper measurement can be read on the graduated beam.

For an accurate calculation of asymmetric cross sections, an individual must take several measurements at 4.5 feet, or diameter breast high, known as DBH. These measurements are then averaged for the final calculation.

The caliper of a tree does not determine the tree?s height. The tree?s height range varies according to each type and also each specific tree. For example, an ornamental tree with a 2-inch caliper is probably going to grow to a much shorter height than a shade tree with a 2-inch caliper.