Precise dating of the year of felling is one intended outcome of dendrochronology. However, occasionally some or all sapwood rings might be missing, either due to deterioration or because they were carved off, or for some other reason. Consequently, while heartwood is preserved, sapwood might be fully or partially missing. In such cases, the year of felling must be estimated by adding a suitable number of sapwood rings. A heartwood age rule (HAR) has been advocated for Scots pine and adapted to European larch and Cembra pine, implying a linear relationship between sapwood ring count and the square root of heartwood ring count, largely irrespective of position in the stem. The same rule applied to all observations of a species, irrespective of silviculture, location or fertility of the growth site. Scots pine had twice or thrice as many sapwood rings as Cembra pine, which had 10% more rings than larch. The magnitude of model residuals was proportional to estimated sapwood ring count. Relative residuals were roughly normally distributed. To be applicable in Bayesian modelling in dendrochronology analyses, detailed information on model errors has been provided.