Many people think that a tree’s root system forms a tight sphere deep underground at the end of one long root, sort of a mirror image of the trunk and branches. Here’s the truth about tree roots:
- Most trees do not have a taproot that extends deep below the ground.
- Their roots form a wide disk that can extend twice as far as the crown of branches.
- 80 percent of the feeder roots are in the upper six to eight inches of soil.
And what it means for gardeners:
- Protect the root systems of important trees.
- Keep major soil disturbances at least 15 feet from the trunk.
- Don’t pile soil or mulch around the tree. Adding only a few inches of soil on the tree’s root zone can cause slow, irreversible decline.
- Plant shrubs or perennials near a tree using hand tools, which which allow you a controlled and delicate touch.