How do roots grow?

By The Old House Web

How do roots grow?

Roots are opportunistic -- they do not grow in any particular direction. Root growth flourishes in soils that supply adequate oxygen, water, nutrients, support and warmth. Roots will not grow in soil that lacks adequate oxygen or is hard and compacted. A healthy root system is essential for optimum top growth.

Tree roots are distributed under and out from the plant canopy. They can extend a distance of 4 to 7 times the projected area of the canopy. The root zone is irregularly shaped and can have a diameter 1 to 2 times the height of the tree. The fine, non-woody roots grow upward toward the soil surface. These small roots branch and their many root tips form the primary water and nutrient absorptive tissue of the tree or shrub. Where many trees and shrubs are growing close together, the roots are intermingled within the same soil. The large, woody roots are usually in the top foot of soil but can extend to a depth of 7 feet, if soil aeration is adequate.

What are root functions?

Fine feeder roots absorb water and nutrients that are essential to food production by the leaves. The return of the food to the roots is essential for continued root development. The large, woody roots anchor the plant and conduct water and nutrients from the fine feeder roots to the stem. The conductive tissue of roots and stems is similar in form and function.

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