Why Healthy Roots are Necessary for Healthy Plants

One of the most important parts of a plant lies beneath the ground. Healthy roots are a direct indication of a healthy plant! So how do you improve root mass and root health? Whether growing plants is your hobby or your career, understanding and improving your plant’s health is key to success. Read the article below for more information!

What is are Roots and Root Mass?

Roots have many functions, but here is a brief summary of what they do and why they are important. Roots are like an anchor. They keep a plant in the ground, and help the plant balance and stay upright throughout the year. Come wind, storms, animals, or any other external force, roots help plants stand their ground. 

Roots are also responsible for finding water. They suck up water and essential nutrients through “root hairs” that extend far into the soil in search of moisture. Once water is absorbed, it is distributed through the plant to keep it hydrated and rigid. 

“Root mass” specifically refers to the weight and density of the roots. This measurement can be compared to the overall size of the plant to draw conclusions about hydration and fertilization needs. 

Indication of Health

Above ground, a plant may seem to be thriving, but if the underground roots are not doing well, the plant will not be able to live very long. The length of a plant’s roots is typically a great indicator of its overall health. The stronger a plant is, the deeper and thicker its roots will be!

Have you ever relocated a healthy plant only to watch it die in the next week or so? Chances are, you weren’t able to dig up enough of the plant’s root mass for it to survive in the new location. You may have even moved it to a better spot and given it more care, but not having enough of the original root mass will make it very difficult for any plant to survive. 

How to Increase Root Mass

So if roots are so important to plant health, what can you do to increase root mass? There are several things you can do! If you ever transplant a plant to a new location or buy a plant from a nursery, make sure that there the root mass is large enough for the plant to survive long-term. Typically, a good sign is if the root to plant ratio is about 1:5. However, the ideal ratio will probably change depending on species and conditions. 

The first thing you can do to increase root mass is to water it an appropriate amount. If you water your plant too often, the roots will stay near the surface of the soil because they’ll have no reason to extend in search of moisture. You should let the soil dry out a little between waterings to promote root growth. Be sure to research each kind of plant you have to learn about ideal watering times.

The next thing you can do is fertilize an appropriate amount. Fertilizers with Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium will give plants sustenance to continue growing. Be sure that the soil has adequate organic matter. This will be a natural source of nutrients for any plant.
Roots are essential for growing plants and maintaining a beautiful landscape. For more information or to talk to a landscaping professional, give our team a call today!