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Roots in nature compared to nursery root systems

great root system
Great root system from a quality nursery. Lateral roots close to the surface are about the same diameter as deep roots.

Roots that develop on planted trees can be quite different from roots on trees in nature. Root systems on forest trees grow from a seed that germinates and remains in place; the tree is never moved to another location. Maybe one in a billion seeds becomes a mature tree.

Root systems on planted trees develop according to conditions in the nursery field or container, combined with conditions at the landscape site where tree is ultimately planted. We want every planted tree to become established and contribute to the landscape. Since soil attributes in the nursery such as aeration and moisture availability can be very different from the landscape, the root system that develops on planted trees is a complex hybrid of both. In many instances conditions in the nursery result in a fairly deep root system in the root ball, whereas conditions in the landscape tend to produce a more shallow root system. Click the links below to learn more about how this happens.