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Plant Roots: What are they for?

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Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  camprn on 8/30/2015, 9:04 pm

Roots are so often out of sight, thus out of mind. What the roots do for a plant;
http://awaytogarden.com/understanding-roots-with-robert-kourik/

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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  Kelejan on 8/31/2015, 2:02 pm

Very interesting article.  Fascinating how far a carrot root can spread, and how far one needs to water and mulch trees, at the drip line and outwards.

No wonder so many trees get blown down when the storms come after prolonged drought.  Just like Kew Gardens in England many years ago and  a few days ago in the B.C. Lower Mainland.
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/22/2015, 1:04 pm

He's right that the science shows tree roots are generally surprisingly shallow. Our Master Gardener class professors told us they're usually within the top 18 inches of soil. I had previously believed the old supposed truisum Kourik mentioned, that the roots underneath were more or less a reflection of the canopy above. That would mean very deep roots of substantial girth. But no, it doesn't work that way at all ...

Interesting stuff to think about. Especially how you could possibly mulch a tree according to Kourik's recommendations -- that would take a huge area of mulch and an enormous amount of it!
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roots

Post  kauairosina on 9/26/2015, 12:57 pm

I will look for a photo from years ago.  A ficus, Benjamina, formerly a little bitty house plant that had managed to get to about 20 or more feet tall, managed to send its roots into one of  my elevated beds.  The bottom of the bed is a foot off the ground, the roots managed to sneak their way in through the welded wire at the bottom.  The picture shows my grandson struggling with excavating those hummers.  They had grown into roots with one to two inches diameter once they penetrated the wire.

We cut the ficus down.
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  sanderson on 9/26/2015, 1:19 pm

That was one tenacious Ficus b. Shocked I always thought they were house plants only and then I saw one outdoors in LA, the size of a patio tree, where the weather is so mild.

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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/26/2015, 2:57 pm

Ficus is considered to be invasive.
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Post  kauairosina on 9/26/2015, 4:09 pm

Invasive?  Aggressively invasive.  I will be sending photos, via Sanderson, one of these days, of  some honkin' invasive roots.  Our contractor said "size of an anaconda"...
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  NanSFG on 9/26/2015, 4:37 pm

Very interesting.  I will have to read the book.
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  jimmy cee on 9/26/2015, 7:56 pm

Tree roots.
Back in the 60s I was involved in soft/hard clay stripping.  This was done by removing to earth on top of the clay.
It sometimes went down 150 feet, more or less depending on the cover.
Huge equipment was used and I ran a D-9 bulldozer which had power enough to go right through a 2 story house without even knowing it was there..
The top of the area to be mined was in the range of100 to 150 feet wide X 100 yards long.. This all depended upon how high cover was over the clay.
First chore was to remove trees that have been growing for hundreds of year, understand this activity occurred in areas only an occasional hunter may have traveled to. To remove a tree the blade of the bulldozer was lifted to it's highest level and then pushed being very careful not to go so far as to fell the tree leaving the bulldozer in a very precarious position. All that needed to be done was to have the tree leaning in the direction of the fall..
Once that was done the bulldozer backed up and proceeded to dig up trees root system opposite direction of the fall.
The tree eventually would fall leaving the main root ball exposed. root ball sizes were usually determined by the type of tree, I can tell you that they were huge, and I mean huge. Never have I seen any that compared to the size of the tree.
It was totally amazing though that such a proportionally smaller size could keep those huge trees standing. I'm certain there were many more roots remaining in the ground that were tips of what was dug up.
If tree roots went down as high as trees grew, there would never be stripping as we once did.
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/26/2015, 9:37 pm

Great article! Thanks!
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  has55 on 9/27/2015, 1:36 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Great article!  Thanks!
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  Kelejan on 10/1/2015, 1:18 pm

@kauairosina wrote:I will look for a photo from years ago.  A ficus, Benjamina, formerly a little bitty house plant that had managed to get to about 20 or more feet tall, managed to send its roots into one of  my elevated beds.  The bottom of the bed is a foot off the ground, the roots managed to sneak their way in through the welded wire at the bottom.  The picture shows my grandson struggling with excavating those hummers.  They had grown into roots with one to two inches diameter once they penetrated the wire.

We cut the ficus down.
I don't blame you.
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Re: Plant Roots: What are they for?

Post  plantoid on 10/2/2015, 7:47 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:He's right that the science shows tree roots are generally surprisingly shallow. Our Master Gardener class professors told us they're usually within the top 18 inches of soil.  I had previously believed the old supposed truisum Kourik mentioned, that the roots underneath were more or less a reflection of the canopy above.  That would mean very deep roots of substantial girth.  But no, it doesn't work that way at all ...

Interesting stuff to think about.  Especially how you could possibly mulch a tree according to Kourik's recommendations -- that would take a huge area of mulch and an enormous amount of it!

 At school we used to be told that if you cut a tree in half along the bole length there wouid be as much below the ground as above it ..they lied Laughing.
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