By Kaitlyn Ersek on Nov 5, 2015 6:30:00 AM
In plant health, roots are often neglected. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind! Yet, roots are fundamentally key to plant health. These systems, which consist of one fourth to one third of a plant’s dry weight, are in charge of important functions for the plant.
If a plant’s root systems are unhealthy, it can pose serious consequences for the plant. In fact, according to Colorado State University, “Eighty percent of all plant disorders are soil/root problems.”
That means we need to pause and give these plant segments the attention they deserve. So why are root systems important?
Root systems are known to significantly affect the size and health of plants, their ability to adapt to different soils and their ability to respond to cultural practices (i.e. fertilization).
According to Colorado State University, they are in charge of but not limited to carrying out the following functions:
Anchoring and supporting the plant- The plant becomes stable because of the roots, which safely hook the plant into the soil. Another thing to note is that the threat of soil erosion is lessened because of healthy root systems.
Absorbing and conducting water and nutrients through the plant- Nutrients and water enter the plant through the roots. In lawn care, this means a vast root system is key to tap into available nutrients and water within the soil. The better the roots can reach sources of nutrients and water, the less service providers need to apply additional resources.
Stress tolerance- When Mother Nature comes calling, plants with healthier root systems have the advantage over plants with weak root systems. This applies not only to weather conditions like a hot, dry summer, but also to pests and disease. In fact, healthy roots react faster to pesticides and fungicides than unhealthy root systems.
Looking to increase the health of your plants’ root system?
Some recommended practices include aeration and seeding and increasing the soil’s microbial activity. Check out our ebook on root health for additional information.