i often say a tree is twice as big underground as above

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5March 25, 2012

the question is..

is there any documentation to back up this theory..

or did i just dream this up .. to make a point ...

i cant even think of a way to google it ...

ken

ps: i try not to make things up.. but sometimes it gets so ingrained.. you start to wonder if there is any truth in it ... like a story from grandpa.. lol ..

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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

To be strictly accurate, there will be variation from species to species. However, I believe the figure that is most often accepted is 3X below ground as above. I do not have a citation handy for this however.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:30PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

I've seen pictures of tree downed by tornadoes, and some of the biggest trees had the puniest root systems.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ken, do you mean in the volume of space the roots or crown takes up in the ground or above ground? Or the distance the roots travel from the trunk? (Like the roots extend twice as far as the canopy edge.) OR, in surface area?

In the attached link from UFL, Ed Gilman (a much respected scientist) indicates that roots of healthy trees can be expected to grow up to 3 times the diameter of the canopy. He is speaking in terms of lateral measurement, which what most of us are concerned about.

If you were to think of surface area of a root system compared to a crown of a healthy tree....gosh, I couldn't even hazard a guess! The roots would be about umteen million times greater, lol!

You know, a lot of people go to their graves thinking that trees form a mirror image of themselves at the soil level, with the size and dimension of the roots being just like that of the crown. It takes some educating to convince them otherwise. You are way ahead of the game thinking in terms of 'twice as big'.

This link will take you to another good article, but it's the diagram I'd like you to look at.
http://www.sustland.umn.edu/implement/trees_turf.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree roots

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:49PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

so.. safe to say.. i didnt dream it.. lol

and safe to say.. i am not exaggerating when i say it ...

yeah rhiz.. i know the drawing you are talking about.. probably some old hippy drawing from way back.. the mirror image .... green man.. druids.. etc ...

whatever.. glad i am not having auditory or dreamal hallucinations..

to take is a step further ... i am thinking about instant gratification or tree planting .. and the argument that the smaller the transplant .. tree .. the faster it gets established.. and can probably outgrow a large transplant.. say the instant gratification 2 inch caliper type ... in a given 5 year span .. and i am figuring that it all has something to do with the ratio of root loss to the plant itself ... [i havent read the link above yet]

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: a cursory review seems to indicate that not a single one is close to reality .. of which i reject yours.. and substitute my own ...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:11PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Good link and interesting question.

When I dug up the crap myrtle the other week the tree was larger above ground than what I removed from below by about 2 to 1. I did not remove roots six feet below the ground.

Now I severed many roots. The question is how far did they go? And who would know.

What is the largest tree ever bare rooted? Anyone do horticultural science like this?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Actually, ken, the drawing in that link is an accurate depiction of a tree's root system, lol.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:40PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

This is what I picture. Perhaps a could extra large structural roots but pretty much the one on the right.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:08PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what are you talking about rhiz???? .. there are 3.3 million pix at my link .. which did you choose to comment on???

or am i missing something??

try this link

ken

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:24PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

lolol...we are BOTH missing something. I meant the picture in MY post, from UMN. THAT'S the one that is accurate. Tornado's picture is a good one.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:41PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

this is really weird.. when i hit the rhiz link above here in GW.. i get all words .....

but when i hit the link in the reply to my email.. i get a different link ...

here is what i get here:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wo017

oohh crude.. you have two links there.. only one hotlinked.. what a dullard .. lol ... never mind.. as whats here name used to say ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: check this one rhiz

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 7:12PM
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wisconsitom

Keep in mind, whoever said that they see the largest trees have the smallest root systems (When blown over), that the majority of the root system did not end up in that tipped-up root plate. Most were torn asunder in the event.

Or did I just want to say 'torn asunder'?

+oM

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:58PM
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scotjute

From personal observations, the roots of blown over Willow Oaks in swampy areas in Lousisana are not as substantial as those of excavated Live Oaks in hot dry central Texas. Neither one looked like it would be 2 time the size of what is above ground. The hill-country live oak roots gave the impression that they were about the same size as the above-ground parts of the tree.
Have read that Bur Oak can have as much volume below ground as above ground but have not seen any proof of it.
Perhaps Bald Cypress would be apt to have more volume in roots than in top. These trees along with Live Oaks are highly rated for resistance to hurricanes along the coast.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:29PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Keep in mind, too, that tree in urban and suburban locations often have SEVERELY compromised root systems. Simple compaction, excavation, construction, and a host of activities damage and diminish the health of a natural root system.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:34PM
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saccharum(z9 FL)

Although it varies by species, site, and individual tree, in most instances the root system makes up less than half of the total biomass of a tree - often a lot less than half (see link below). But I would agree that the roots often spread out much farther than the distance of the canopy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Biomass and utilization of trees

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 4:32PM
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