We are giving away four copies of Dan Chiras' book The Natural Plaster Book.
Dan will be answering your questions in the finishes forum Monday through Friday!
See this thread for details
Permies likes plants and the farmer likes roots tap and otherwise. permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login

(the sound is wonky for the first 20 seconds)

daily-ish email

micro heaters

rocket mass heater


permies » forums » growies » plants
Bookmark "roots tap and otherwise." Watch "roots tap and otherwise." New topic

roots tap and otherwise.

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I started posting photos of roots on the apple seeed forum and i thought it could be better to continue on a forum for oroots becuase then it would be easier to find. rose.
    trees  have a tap root that over time may become several and lots of roots that run horozonatally just below the ground .
some people say not all trees have tap roots, Some people suggest that if the ground is very wet and full of nutrients the trees dont develop tap roots.
  tap roots can be usefull in dry cuontries to find water and also to find the nutriens that have been washed deep into the soil.

        I post the photo i posted in the apple seed debate. in this which is of a once coppiced maple that is cut periodically for fire wood leaving the bol for a new trunk to grow out of.
      The roots hav ebeen exposed ans the foot paht that wore don the ground exposed them. It is easy to see the tap root going down and the roots which grow out horizontally just under the earth. agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for raices arce montpell.jpg]

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Roland Ennos professor at manchester university who writes a book called "Trees" published by the Natural History Museum of London, about the phisiology of trees, says they put down more than one tap root with time but the tendency at first is to have a tap root and plenty of roots that run superficially horizontal just under the ground these root form the root plate that you see if a tree blows dowm.
     I have seen the documentary of a tree that was being moved and the experts on  moving trees pportrayed in theis documentary say that most of the roots are found in the first two feet of soil under the tree. They even presumed there would not be a tap root, trying to lift the tree without trying to cut through any presumed tap root that might be lurking under the root mass once they had wrapped up the superficial roots, however it would not come and they had to pass somthing under the roots to cut through anything that coudl be holding the tree to the ground. It was a big tree being moved for a golf course. Golf courses are the main buyers of mature trees it  is not the first ime i have heard of golf courses buying them. it must be very expensive to buy big trees first the price of the tree and then that o f moving them.

        I post a photo of the superficial roots of a ever green oak whose roots can be seen because the tree is at the edge of a quarry and the ground has been blasted away forom under its feet on one side of the tree. the superficial roots have been cut through so we don't see their full extension.
       Here they open quarries along the edge of roads rather than bringing the stone from afar to make the roads, at least that is my belief, i have noticed small quarries appear where they are maikng roads. This quarry seems to only get quarried some times.
    You can also see the cracks in the stone where the tap roots burrow down ¡n to the rock. The roots seem to produce a bit of earth round them in the cracks they make.

      This is grown from seed, all encinas in Spain except maybe those thast grow in gardens., and so they have never been watered and here there are three to four mounth dry season, so there has been nothing to encourage them to think they can manage without tap roots, like a ready supply of nutrients at the surface or getting watered in dry mounths.

     Encinas are a subspecies of evergreen oak maybe what is called in English holly oak, it has round and spiney leaves where these leaves are within  reach of the live stock who eat them. THis is a miracle bit about these trees they only have prickly leaves where they are within reach of live stock and if the live stock suddenly start to eat leaves that before were out of there reach the leaves at this level turn prickly again i have read . That is called plant intelligence, which is a strange thing  and interesting and there are scientists who study it.
    The second photo is of the wall of the quarry where there are no trees on the edge of the quarry, so that you can see that the cracks caused by the roots are not a normal feature in this rock. agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for roots 6.jpg]

[Thumbnail for quarry 2.jpg]

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
     Another photo of a tree in this quarry . You can see that below the tree the rock is full of holes made by the roots of the tree above because there aren't the same holes where ther is no tree, where there is no tree there are only horiontal lines in the rock.
     You can see the roots in the rock they are not enormouse but they are there.
    I have found a better picture of the roots in the ground in this quarry. agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for roots 4.jpg]

[Thumbnail for oak roots 9.jpg]

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
i have a photo that shows hw long the roots of a encina can be may be they can be much longer but here they are pretty long.
  the verticla cracks are were the roots of the tree are you don't see vertical cracks were the tree isnot and any way you can see bits of roots in the cracks. I htink i have to go and take a better picture in which you can see the roots better, i did take one last year but something happened to the film. agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for roots 2.jpg]

paul wheaton

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14157
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
Some very deep roots to be sure.  And those trees probably were not transplants, but from seed?

sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
Bill Kearns

Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 150
Location: E Washington steppe
Great pics Rose!  I always appreciate your posts, as they're so full of good information.

Maybe I should be planting some oaks ... perhaps their roots could penetrate the caliche here 

Permaculture is a gestalt ... a study of the whole. Not just how to produce more and better food, but how human life on the planet affects and is affected by the surrounding environment.
Bill Kearns
rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
thanks 9anda1f ,rose .
rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
your name in Spanish sounds like you are a wild person, it sounds like "ferocious fox" maybe that sounds bad, if you are a person who wants to sound dangerous it sounds good, anyway hello.
      Zorro = fox the Spanish z sounds like a English  th. feraz, ferocious   rose.
rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  This is very short i thought i put more into it.

Paul Wheaton the oaks have grown from seed more than likely if they have not that would be most unusually though recently they may be changing planting methods. The tradition in the countrry is that oaks appear and then the locals clear them so as to get a wood as they want it. I  have seen them appear on the ihlls of a plain that was the plain and its hill treeless I can only think it is jays who bring th eacorns they are known to hide acorns as a store for themselves.

      Also there is a tradition of keeping these trees as bushes that is how the ones in the part of my garden with oaks in it had been kept that is just seven kilometres from here. Cutting them every fifteen years for charcoal and so there is no knowing from the size of the tree which looks young how old the tree is, not unless you do a lot of work to find out and know how to find that sort of thing out.
     Here a picture of what i htink must be the roots of the gorse plant on the slope. I shall have to go to the lap top rather than the family computer for that.they are suprisingly long at leats they seem suprisinl¡gly long to me. Gogrse is used as fodder, I  have heard of chopped gorse being used as fodder in Irland and the bushes here have normally lost a lot of branches. They normally look very truncated, in one place they are even eaten down so they look flat. agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for gorse roots.jpg]

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Here are the roots of a willow where a bit of river fell down stream the course of the river is teep here meanting lots of step down and a bit of step fell away and the roots got exposed.
    I thought it was interesting to see what a thick mat of small roots came out of the main roots and wondered if this mat had somehting to do with willows helping rivers to continue running. and so took this photo tha was a long time ago now.  Apparently if you take away the trees rivers dry up. Obviously this does not happen so much in a wet place as in a dry ones agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for roots sauce.jpg]

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
    Here are the roots of some sabinas, a mediteranean and north african high mountain, in this case a bit above a thousand metres, the juniperus thurifera. Its last point is reached before you get to the second village down the road from this one.
     High in the mountains in the mediteranean means that it has to suffer a lot of Farmers usually ive in the villages. You probably build yourself a house in the woods by tricking the village council and just putting in a hut at first.
     It is a great picture of superficial roots all at the same depth more or less below the ground and more or less equidistant from each other. and this paht had several band croseed by roots I put in a photo of another such tree that is growign nearer the path and on the left, second. Maybe its the same tree from the other side but this is not the only tree whose roots were exposed by the rains.
and a third detail of the roots.
     It is worth keeping an eye out for roots you can photo, as the years go by you end up with a few interesting examples. I started taking pictures of such things maybe fifteen years ago it seems worth while now. agri rose macaskie.

[Thumbnail for 427.JPG]

[Thumbnail for 486.JPG]

[Thumbnail for 487.JPG]

maikeru sumi-e

Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
Rose, do you have any thoughts on how deep the roots of seed-grown almond or peach trees may go? I have been searching the past couple nights for an idea but find very scant information. Everything I find is for grafted or bare-root trees, which often won't develop taproots or sinkers. Both are sometimes mentioned as prime desert trees or well-adapted for arid areas, but I want to know more about the limits of their natural drought resistance.

rose macaskie

Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
 I dont know about peach tree roots, and i have just looked it up but it seems to be a big job to find out a lot about them one place talks of five foot deep, but what you say has made me think of these things to say about roots.
   I read recently that the quince, tree that is often used as a root stock for pear trees, has shallow roots,while the pear has deep roots, so i doubt that the roots of a tree wil be shallow because it has a root stock, i imagine that whether its roots are shallow or deep depend on whether the root stock used has shallow or deep roots. The perry pears i want to buy are grafted on pyrus communis and so have deep roots sccording to the nursery but the other pears i want to but are grafted on to a quince so they will have shallow roots.    
   As i said at the begining of this thread, the quince seems to manage the summer droughts easily so having a shallow root does not make a plant less likely to manage drought. Heidi Guildmeister who has a very good book on how to garden with little watering, says that many mediteranean trees have shallow rooots these collect the water of an occasional thunder storm, maybe they collect dew too.

 Also, i was going through Brad Lancasters videos, I don't remember why, to listen again about the small  basins which will hold water and stop it running off so as to  have damp spots for his plants maybe and somwhere he says that velvet mesquite has deep roots and chilean mespuite shallow ones, which struck me because maybe some members of a family of trees will have shallow roots and other members of the same family deep roots. I imagined that if one type of juniper say had deep roots another one would too but it seems that you can't bet on that being the case.
Another point is that trees grown in situ, from seed, has a chance when the seed grows to put their tap root down into the soil and that is what grows most at first, so the tree grown from seed, where you mean it to live, will soon have a long tap root, longer than that of maybe an older plant  bought in a pot and planted in the ground whose tap root has not been allowed to grow straight down or than a bare root bought tree whose tap root may have been cut off, so at first the plant grown from seed has the advantage of a long root that has dug way down into the soil that the others dont have but plants do grow new down growing roots later in life called sinker roots so in the end the pot plant or the bare root plant you have grown  wil have roots that go down just as deep as the one grown from seed.
   Another thing that maybe you have to consider is do the trees have plenty of water or not, in an orchard they maybe have so much water that they dont put down tap roots, i dont know if this is a factor but maybe it is. rose macaskie.
maikeru sumi-e

Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
Yes, have a hard time finding information as well. Since everything's grafted not too much work has been done on the original roots of ungrafted trees. I wasn't aware that pear has deep roots, but that's good info. Shallow roots are great for catching light sprinkles, but it seems it has to be combined with other water-saving or drought-avoidance features. Many cacti have shallow but profuse roots to catch rainwater as you mention, but they are well equipped for water storage and limiting evapotranspiration otherwise.

Orchard trees are a very different kind of creature. Most of them are shallow rooted due to irrigation and compacted soils or plowing.
John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5819
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
One of the most impressive root structures has to be the Mesquite tree, common in Texas, and the Sonoran and Chihuauan desserts.

A 20 foot (+/-6 metre) tree can have a tap root reaching 200 feet (58m) into the soil.  It also has an extensive shallow root structure, covering a 1/4 acre or more!  It survives by capturing what it needs from a rare dessert rain, and after the rain, it can capture water from previous decades of rains buried within the soil.

A true dessert survivor, it could possibly survive in the Sahara (but probably squeeze out anything else there that might of had a chance).  In the southwest, it is the wood of choice for BBQ, or smoking meats and peppers.
maikeru sumi-e

Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
The devil's tree.
subject: roots tap and otherwise.
Similar Threads
apple seed exchange
Please critique my fruit tree plans!
roots and their importance to plants and the soil
Growing guilds from seed
growing apples from seeds vs. cloning
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books