“Beauty is only skin-deep,” said Thomas Overbury in 1613, in reference to his wife. But the same can be said for trees, whose beauty stretches way up into the sky. But true beauty…as any mother or sappy novel will say…lies within. To see the hidden beauty that lies within trees, there’s only one thing to do…
…know your roots.
With this knowledge, you’ll be on your way to better tree service in Lafayette, Indiana.
Hunters and Gatherers
The true magic of trees lies not in the great, green gown that reaches into the heavens. It lies in places unseen, unheard, and in most cases, unknown.
The roots of trees are long, groping fingers that stretch deep into the soil, hunting and gathering for the precious nutrients that feed its mighty trunk, while cleansing the soil of these typical recyclable treats.
As Below, So Above
Although the beauty of a tree’s leaves doesn’t tell you the whole story, it’s a reflection of what’s happening under the tree. As the roots dig deep to provide water and nutrients for the rest of the tree, you’ll see the canopy grow larger, greener, and more majestic by the day.
Tree roots have 4 essential functions that give trees the strength and beauty we’re used to seeing in these green giants.
- Absorption – Roots’ main function is to absorb crucial water and nutrients to be used by the tree as a whole.
- Nutrient Transport – Not only do roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, but they also transport this food throughout the trunk and leaves.
- Nutrient Storage – Roots contain carbohydrates that the tree can use when other food and light sources are unavailable.
- Support – Of course, a tree’s strong roots help it remain “well-rooted,” that is, roots keep trees firmly in the ground.
The Root of the Matter
A tree starts out like any other plant. It starts as a seed that has successfully made its way into the soil. From there, its first job is to produce a taproot. The taproot serves the same function as the tree’s roots. It seeks water and provides support for the sapling as it grows.
From there, lateral roots will begin to form and spread out, collecting water and nutrients to help the sapling grow into a mighty tree.
As the tree grows larger, the roots probe the soil for water sources, going after the closest sources first as they branch out, following the path of least resistance. For this reason, the roots of trees can be shaped all different ways as they find the best system for receiving nutrients and supporting the hefty, growing trunk.
This is why some trees have very deep roots and other trees have wide roots that stretch horizontally. And more interesting, this opportunist nature is why you see upturned sidewalk slabs and roots that surround rocks, which the roots won’t grow through.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing. Whenever there’s a dry spell, watering your tree roots is a good way to keep them strong until the next nourishing rain makes its way to your lawn.
Keep in mind! One thing that may not be obvious is exactly HOW to water your trees. You may think of dousing the area around the base of the tree, but that actually won’t be very effective. What you want to do is begin watering under the edges of the tree’s canopy and allow it to soak through to about 12-18 inches so it can get to the roots.
Be careful not to overwater your trees, as it can cause damage. Some trees will need more water than others, depending on the type of tree it is and the amount of water it’s used to receiving. If a tree has roots that are close to the surface of the ground, it’s likely accustomed to frequent, shallow watering, most likely from a sprinkler. These may have higher water needs.
Next, make sure to give your trees some breathing room. Be careful about putting too much soil or mulch around the base of the tree. This can literally suffocate the roots, which need oxygen to breathe.
And yes, tree roots breathe oxygen. It’s only the green parts of the tree that breathe CO2.
Also, keep other plants and flowers away from the base of the tree. Apart from the risk of suffocation, these can compete for water, and the digging can damage roots.
Lastly, be careful about cutting roots. You could cause damage that leads all the way up to the canopy, and you may leave the tree vulnerable to disease and insects. If it must be done, aim for doing so during colder months, like late fall and winter, because it’s less stressful to the roots.
Take Care of Your Roots – Tree Service in Lafayette, Indiana
Preserve the natural beauty of your trees by caring for them at their core. If you’d like more information or would like guidance before cutting roots, contact Wildcat Creek Tree Service in Lafayette, Indiana.