Don’s Tips: Myth Of The Tap Root



Myth of the Tap Root


Extremely heavy recent rains and windy days in coastal areas of Australia have caused many trees and shrubs to blow over.  Have a good look at their roots.

Most of us are told that all plants (especially trees) have a tap root.  This holds them upright and allows the plant to access reserves of water deep in the soil.

This is a myth, an old husband’s tale.  In general all trees and other plants only produce roots within about 30-45cm from the soil surface.

That is, the roots grow out laterally, not down vertically.

Roots that grow laterally can collect far more water from rain and are far better at stabilizing the tree.  Much as a wide base stabilizes a wine glass.

Also, if trees didn’t have sideways-growing roots, you could never transplant them since you would be cutting off the roots.

Think about it!