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 Do tree roots always grow downwards?

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A Ahad
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PostSubject: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:55 pm

This was a question somebody posed in a science forum.

Question
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thehairymob
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:12 pm

No, though in general they do sometimes under the ground they come to obstacles, such as stones. Then they can be forced to grow up and over or around the object. You also get hairs that grow out of roots as the root thickens these become smaller roots or rootlettes that can start of heading upwards through the soil before turning as they grow down.
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:53 am

Dear Ahad,
Do you remember the baobab trees that grew on the planet of the Little Prince? I remember the drawings in the book. The baobabs grew over the whole planet. It would depend on where one stood to know it the roots were growing down or sideways or up! hahah. I imagine it is kind of sheep in the cage theory. Just what your perspective is determines up, down or sideways.

Thehairymob is correct. I know a bit about trees. The really big oak trees that grow here send their roots out sideways for the most part, and hold on to the earth with many strong roots. Some go down a few feet, but mostly all the roots are in the first three or four feet of soil.

A Big oak drinks 250 gallons of water a day. It transpires that much, too. So, rain comes and drops 250 gallons of water. It is a lovely cycle.

Some small trees have a long taproot. If they are planted on land that has a hard pan under the first two feet, they will be stunted all their life. They cannot penetrate it.

When I grew trees in pots, the roots could not escape the pot and grew in circles and tied themselves in knots. That is true of the bald cypress. Ah, but the pot makers made a pot for that and had it shaped like a clover leaf to fool the roots into making a downward turn and growing out the holes in the bottom of the pot. It did not work very well.

I had a lot of sweet gum trees and red maples growing in pots. They kept blowing over in the wind so I lined them up against my barbed wire fence and tied them up. There they sat for several years. They grew through the pot's holes and put down roots into the ground. They grew and grew and now they are a solid fence of trees along that wire two hundred feet long. They are 30 feet tall.

If you ever go to China and look at the ground, you will see thier roots just breaking the surface. Smile

Love,
Betty
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:32 am

I grew up in an area where bayous and cypress trees were a predominant form of plant life. As I understand it, the knees are a part of the root that grows upward.






Ann
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A Ahad
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:27 pm

Billy is right that there are some trees that have a lot of surface roots going sideways, especially if there is stone or hard granite directly beneath the trunk.

Betty,
I'm afraid I missed the fantasy of baobab trees that grew on the planet of the Little Prince.
Ann, that's a lovely picture, reminds me of the mangrove forests with trees standing in water like that.

I love all kinds of trees. I planted trees since I was four or five. One variety I planted in my village in Bangladesh next to our house was a jackfruit tree:



Many years after I came to live in England, my uncle wrote a letter to my mum saying my jackfruit tree had grown to a fruiting size, and that it had produced a very fine crop of its first jackfruits. They were all eating them and thinking of me! flower

Now I have a question for anyone here who has tried to grow bonsai trees. I want to learn, so please enlighten me.
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thehairymob
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:07 pm

I tried to grow one but when I moved it died. One strange sounding thing I learned is you don't just trim the branches but the roots as well. The roots need to be trimmed back every two or three years. Use the light, if you have it on a window sill, to help shape it as it will grow towards the light. Wink
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:44 pm

Does lightning move from the sky downward or from the ground upward?
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thehairymob
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:25 pm

Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:27 pm

Dick,
that's a trick question. You get your favorite icon for that.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:08 pm

Quote :
Does lightning move from the sky downward or from the ground upward?

Actually it's kinda both...

The lightning bolt we see is from the ground upward, but before that
occurs an ionized pathway develops from the cloud down to the earth
(invisible to the naked eye). This now very conductive pathway becomes
available to the negative electrons of the earth.

When the difference of potential overcomes the resistance of the
ionized pathway between the ground and the cloud, a "bolt" of lightning
carries the negative electrons to the cloud - and equalizes the
difference.

Electron flow is always from negative to positive.
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:39 pm

You just never know what you're going to learn on this messageboard!


cheers
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Helen Wisocki
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:20 pm

Long, long ago, when I lived in California, I had a little redwood tree that needed to be pruned on top and in the roots to make it a bonsai tree. It had to be wrapped in wire to get the branches to grow where I wanted them. But that's all I remember. I left it with a "friend" to water while I went away for a week, and she killed it! I probably would've killed myself eventually.
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RunsWithScissors
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:31 pm

Helen, I hope you wouldn't have killed yourself!!! I'm kidding... Funny how one little ommitted word can change an entire sentence.


Last edited by merrihiatt on Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Helen Wisocki
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:40 pm

Oops! Thanks for noticing, Merri! No, it didn't mean that much to me. Ha!!
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RunsWithScissors
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PostSubject: Re: Do tree roots always grow downwards?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:40 pm

Yea! I'm so glad! hee hee
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