The Route of Roots…

Anyone that gives you a definitive description of the layout of your tree’s roots is either lying, or guessing. Until you yard your tree out of the soil and shake all the “dirt” off, you will never really know the extent of the route of your roots! Roots, like most things in life, take the easy route. You could plant two acorns off of the same mothership just a few feet apart in your backyard, and a hundred years later have two COMPLETELY different root systems… Roots never follow the rulebook, and being the unseen force that supports your beloved tree,are a very complex and intricate system.

Ground penetrating radar aside, most of my opinions and recommendations I can make about the roots of your tree are going to be based on a scientific wild-assed guess (S.W.A.G.)

We must assume that in a perfect world that the roots of ANY tree do this or that based on a S.W.A.G. and we hope to hit our target most of the time.

If we miss that target, well, we tried. The best thing to get as close as possible would be to learn that roots are lazy.They take the path of least resistance and when something gets in the way they go under, over or around in their quest for a perfect life.

When roots travel along the top of your soil and tear the hell out of your sidewalk, it is because you did not give them any other choice. In order for roots to behave themselves, we must provide a route for them to behave…

Roots have 5 basic functions:

1. Anchorage. Most important, as this keeps the tree from crushing your new Porsche…

2. Absorption. This facilitates the trees availability to micro metals, nutrients, moisture and the like.

3. Storage. This is the savings account your tree will need for spring rev-up, after idling its engine during the dark winter months.

4. Transportation. All the material from above and below must have a place to go, and a way to get there.

5. Respiration. There is a gaseous exchange that needs to take place within the area beneath the union between the Earth and atmosphere

All the above functions require the same thing as the above ground portion (the other half) of your tree needs, water, elements, temperature and space.

When you plant your new tree, try to imagine it a hundred years down the road!

Are the routes for the roots planned out, or will they have to destroy everything in their path just to survive?

Are roots “invasive?” The honest answer is NO, If they don’t have to perform the miracle of surviving in too small an area, with zero space to expand sufficiently to support the tree and available moisture, drainage, nutrients …

The happier your roots are, the less comprehensive insurance you should carry on your new Porsche…

As always, plant high and often.

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