How Deep Are Those Tree Roots?

Many people think the shape of a tree’s root system mirrors the trunk and crown but in reality, most roots are in the top 12” of soil. Tree roots anchor a tree, keeping the tree standing straight plus taking needed nutrients and water from the soil. Most of a tree’s root system is close to the surface though many also have a deep tap root. When trees are transplanted, some of the root system is left behind, so don’t prune before or right after re-planting. That weakens the tree’s ability to get established in the new setting.

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The majority of roots are in the top 12” of soil.

For more information, see the Purdue University Extension bulletin on tree roots that surface: https://extension.purdue.edu/Gibson/pages/article.aspx?intItemID=12124

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