Types of tree roots
It is a commonly held belief that there are two main different types of tree roots.
These two types are taproots and fibrous roots.
We are going to describe the differences between these different types of tree roots and clear up a few misconceptions about them.
Taproots are roots that grow deep into the ground. Horizontally they remain close to the the main trunk of the tree. The depth of taproots provide some powerful benefits.
Deep taproots are more resilient to drought as they are able to access water from deep in the ground. They are also able to access minerals from the depths of the soil.
Trees that are generally considered as having taproots are Oak, Pine and Fir.
Fibrous roots are far more shallow than taproots. They grow far further horizontally, they grow down and out.
Fibrous roots are more susceptible to damage as they are closer to the surface. They are also more at risk when drought strikes.
Most trees are considered to have fibrous roots.
Depth of the roots
There is a common misconception that the roots of a tree grow to great depth. In reality a trees roots are largely within 60cm of the surface of the soil.
Even those trees that are considered to have taproots rarely actually maintain this past the sapling stage.
When picturing the roots of a tree many picture the reverse of the tree that is above the ground. This is a false image. A trees roots can range in size with estimates from 1 and 1 half to 7 times the size of the crown.
Roots coming to the surface
We often hear customers tell us about tree roots that have risen to the surface.
This is rarely the case.
Roots when in the correct environment don’t grow above the surface. Sometimes rocks or compacted ground make it difficult for them to grow beneath the surface and they are forced to grow above.
What is more common is that due to compression of the soil and erosion roots that were previously below the surface now appear above. The truth is the poor roots have in essence been dug up!
Roots cause pavements to crack
Tree roots get a bad rap for this.
In reality the issue is poor research and poor workmanship.
When building upon different soil different factors need to be taken into account and different methods used.
Some soils such as clay are highly prone to shrinking and swelling. This is what leads to this damage to the pavements as well as other issues like subsidence in houses. When the gaps are caused by these changes in soil the roots of a tree then grow to fill these gaps.
Look after your roots
Healthy roots are essential to a healthy tree.
We will be back soon with some guidance on how best to look after your trees roots, what to do when they are damaged and when they are beyond repair and it’s time to have them removed.