Extent of fruit tree root spread

My 8ft tall Eureka persimmon has put up a few root suckers for yrs. These have mostly been 10ft or less from the tree. But I found one today 27ft from the base of the tree. I guess watering at the dripline doesn’t quite cover all the root system. I’m sure it’s from my persimmon because the leaves are distinctive and it’s the only persimmon I have outdoors. Not a seedling because it doesn’t have seeds.

Have any of you seen roots at a large distance from your trees?

The most I’ve seen is about 10ft on M111. If this is a
standard own root tree, I could see it happening.
How old is the tree?

I believe the tree was planted in spring 2004. So it has had plenty of time to extend it’s roots.

Makes me wonder how far my 40ft tall and ~60 yr old pecan tree has spread.

In most cases it’s so hard to tell. There are usually few indicators although some roots are distinctive in shape or color. I can identify some mulberry roots and my Afghan pines have distinctive roots.

Do you think they may spread farther under conditions where there is less water available?

Roots do seek out water to the extent that they root where it’s moist. So if there was a long wet strip say via drip then they might follow along the drip line.

In the case of my persimmon the sprout 27ft away is in the area where water runs off my roof. So maybe it’s following along the drip line of my roof.

I’ve always assumed length of feeder roots to be at least equal to the height of tree in open areas, but 3x is amazing. Don’t the hormones have to balance between the upper portion and the lower?

Yes, I’ve noticed tree roots have an affinity for extending into my veggie gardens, even though they are well beyond drip lines, and that they tend to grow more downhill than uphill when planted on an incline. I assumed that is because there is more water available in those areas.

I don’t think hormones would affect root extent very much. It’s more about finding water.

[quote=“fruitnut, post:8, topic:2395”]
I don’t think hormones would affect root extent very much. It’s more about finding water.
[/quote]True, but I would expect that this one long run might mean there is less than typical root spread around the rest of the tree.

I have red tips and ligustrums whose roots have spread 15-20ft., so I’m
not surprised about your persimmon. Tree roots don’t just seek out water
but will extend even further, if they sense fertilizer in the area.

How about my Poplars with roots 120+ ft away! I spent a small fortune ripping out my entire backyard with a bobcat. The roots were gnarly and suckered like crazy even a year after I took out the tree.

This year the roots tried to sucker through my deck! The drought finally killed them, phew.

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I hope the drought killed them. Maybe they just went dormant when the soil dried out.

I had a 12 inch diameter pecan stump in the center of my greenhouse. It was cut down winter 2004 and continued to sprout until 2011. Finally died and mushrooms took over. A similar sized mulberry just outside the greenhouse and cut the same day never sent up any shoots.

The pecan was never allowed significant leaf area so survived all that time on root reserves.

You can never say! Here’s a branch growing just on the branch reserves.

BTW, what looks like a stump in my earlier pic is just a knot in the root which kept on blowing up as the lawn mower kept whacking at it.

I have seen this kind of thing a great deal. Educated arborists are well aware that trees often send out roots more than triple a trees spread. I’m aware of it because I do so much planting on a wide range of sites. Most amazing is that the reach of the roots go far, far beyond the extent of their root systems due to mychorizal relationships.

Generally, the lighter the soil the more extensive the root system.

I’d agree with that both in root width and depth. In this area with 15-20 inches rain a yr trees do better on very sandy soils than heavy soils. I think that’s because of better water intake on sand, less evaporation from the surface, and less competition from grasses. The trees root deeper than the grass and in sand some water percolates to depth. On heavy soils grasses suck it all up before it can percolate below 4-5ft.

There are a number of old BW images from research at East Malling that show the root system of apple trees–as a whole tree removed from the ground. This one shows the same type of shot, but I recall a degree of variation in the older ones; maybe they were illustrating different rootstocks…

Edit: Found one example in a Youtube video which, as an aside, isn’t a bad watch if you’re interested in British apples.