How deep are palm tree roots is one question most gardeners want to be answered before they plant this tree so they are sure where to grow it?
Palm trees are outstanding yard trees that can grow along the fences to beautify your home. Some species like the areca palm can grow indoors with proper root management. However, how deep do palm tree roots grow?
These trees have a fibrous root system that means, the roots grow shallowly at a depth that does not exceed 36 inches deep.
These roots grow horizontally and remain narrow even as the tree grows taller. The narrow roots extend out and spread in the soil instead of growing downward. They remain thin even as they grow longer forming a root ball under the soil cover, with some remaining exposed above the ground.
Some roots die off while more roots regrow to help the plant feed and anchor itself firmly in the ground.
The length of the roots never increases to match the height of the tree. For example, a tree can be over 50 feet tall with roots way shorter than that. However, the palm tree root system is adapted in such a way that roots branch out in a bid to maximize water and nutrient absorption.
How Deep Are Palm Tree Roots?
Palm tree roots grow with a horizontal growth pattern up to a palm tree roots depth of 36 inches at the topsoil area. The roots stay narrow and uphold a shallow depth all their life.
The queen palm has roots that grow up to about 24 inches deep. Even if the tree is big, its roots spread wider, not deeper. If you are growing a queen palm in your yard, water it at a wider diameter every year to ensure all the horizontal roots get access to water and nutrients.
Functions Of Palm Tree Roots
- Palm Trees have long fronds, and trunks; their roots have a major role in keeping the other parts well-fed and moist. Here are some of the important functions of the palm tree roots.
- Roots stabilize and anchor the long trunk of palm trees.
- They absorb moisture from the soil around and keeps the tree well hydrated.
- The leaves absorb dissolved minerals in the form of manganese, magnesium, and iron that are necessary to prevent yellowing in the fronds.
- They absorb water and nutrients and send them up to the trunk and the fronds keeping them fresh and green.
- The fibrous roots bind up the sandy soil around them by holding the soil particles together with the roots.
How Do Palm Tree Roots Grow?
Palm tree at a fast rate of about 3-10 inches every year if the growing conditions are favorable. However, the roots do not grow as deep as one would expect for a tree reaching heights of about 100 feet.
Its roots grow in the top 36 inches of topsoil. Here it is easy to access nutrients and water easily. The roots form a root ball from thin strands of roots that grow at the base. They also spread horizontally to tap the most nutrients from its surrounding. Some roots remain exposed and visible above ground.
Interesting facts about how the roots of a palm tree grow:
Roots Grow Horizontally
Instead of these roots growing straight down as most plants do, they grow horizontally and spread within the topsoil region. They grow up to 12-36 inches deep and spread away from the trunk of the tree. They do this as an adaptation that helps them absorb water and nutrients from around
The hotter the area, the more the roots spread horizontally trying to reach water and nutrients to keep the plant growing.
Planting palm tree requires you to space them adequately at least 11 to 12 feet apart. This will provide them with enough space for their roots to develop.
The Root Ball
The palm tree roots form a root ball that helps keep the large tree firm in the soil.
The root ball size does not equal the size of the tree. For example, a palm tree of about 16 ft. can have a root ball of about 24 inches in diameter.
These trees develop a root ball when they are young that helps them anchor the tree firmly in the ground. When planting a palm tree, it is advisable to dig a hole twice the size of the root ball to give it room for growth. This reduces the risk of the palm tree toppling over in strong winds or storms.
Roots Exposed Above Ground
The palm tree has roots that grow on top of the surface. The area at the base of the trunk has actively growing cells and roots that are exposed above the ground.
These roots are known as adventitious roots and appear to be dry. The exposed roots are inactive or dead, but the plant continues to feed through the roots underground.
When transplanting a palm tree, ensure you dig a deep enough hole so that the root zone is at least 2-3 inches under the soil surface.
Removing Palm Tree Roots
If you notice that the roots of your palm trees are invasive and pose a risk to structures nearby, removal may be necessary.
Uproot the tree stump and roots carefully not to damage the system around it like drainage trenches, building foundations, or sprinkler systems in your lawn.
Dig around the trunk with a shovel and remove about 20-25 inches of soil that surrounds the tree. This gives you access to the roots. Cut them off with an axe and dig up any big roots that remain.
The roots of the palm tree grow back. To stop this, apply a herbicide that is strong enough to kill the roots of palm trees and prevent them from growing again.
Apply a herbicide like a roundup or any other glyphosate alternative herbicide that is strong enough to kill these roots.
How Deep Do Palm Tree Roots Go Conclusion
The palm tree roots do not grow too deep in the soil; this makes it easy to remove them when you want.
Not all varieties of palm tree roots grow back after cutting. The clustering palms are the ones that grow back from the trunk. For most of the other types, cutting the trunk alone will mean the tree dies.
Unlike the trunks, the roots of palm trees usually regrow. You may have noticed that cutting a section of the roots when transplanting did not stop the tree from growing.
Now that you know something about the roots of a palm tree, go ahead, grow your own, and will enjoy its flora and fauna.