Strong Root Systems = Strong Trees

Strong Root System | Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden

view sign enlarged

Strong root systems act as anchors. Without a deep, extensive root system, trees topple during storms. Container plants may become rootbound as expanding root systems are forced to grow in the shape of the pot.

Here's how to encourage roots to expand outwards through the soil rather than continue wrapping around themselves:

  • Dig a good hole at planting time. Preparing the planting hole will get the tree off to a good start.
  • Apply water around the entire canopy. Actively growing roots are at the edge of the tree canopy, not near the trunk. Move drip irrigation emitters and enlarge watering basins outward as canopies expand. 
  • Adjust the watering schedule as trees grow. Trees require water less frequently, but for longer periods of time, to reach expanding root systems.

If rootbound, loosen and spread roots before planting. It may be necessary to make several vertical cuts through the rootball with a sharp knife.

Don't spread impermeable plastic or landscape fabric beneath the soil surface as a weed barrier. Moisture collects near the barrier encouraging roots to stay at the surface. Instead use 2 to 3 inches of mulch to discourage weed seeds from growing.          

Return to Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden Topics

Return to Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden home page

Online Brochures

  • Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert
    A guide to growing more than 200 low-water-use plants.
    Browse brochure
  • Landscape Watering by Numbers Landscape Watering by the Numbers
    Gives instruction for determining how much water your plants need. View Tools
  • Landscaping with Style Landscaping with Style
    A guide for planning,installing, and maintaining your landscape Browse Brochure