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By measuring the ratio of these two allotropes, one can determine ages of over 20,000 years ago with a standard error under 3%.
The oldest plant alive has been dated back as far as 11,700 years (7367 years too old) and is called King Clone.
The thickness of tree rings varies with the local seasonal weather, so a sequence of thick ring, thin ring, thin ring, thick ring, thick ring, thick ring, thin ring, thick ring shared by two trees is strong evidence that the corresponding rings formed at the same time.
Each individual tree only covers the span of time it was alive and growing, but as these spans overlap it is possible to match up overlapping sections and work backwards.
There are three standard creationist responses: First, creationists assert that current rates (Y) are different than past rates.
It is possible that these rates changed — but under uniformitarianism, which is necessary for science to function, we must assume that rates did not change unless there is evidence for this change.
Moreover, these dating methods are not mutually exclusive: where their range, accuracy, and applicability overlap, the dates they produce agree with each other.