Pine Tree Root System

Pine tree root system

Pine trees are conifers and are characteristic vegetations of Northen Hemisphere. Pine trees can be easily distinguished from other trees due to their cone-shaped head and needle-like leaves. Pines are economically benefited to humans for their timber trade.

Plant Specifications

Plant Specifications

  • Pine trees can grow up to a height of 4 to 100 feet.
  • Pine trees are conifers, that is, they contain cone and needle-like leaves which are mostly evergreen.
  • Pine trees come under the category of Gymnosperms, that is, their seeds are not covered by fruits or ovary (Gymno= Naked). Other than conifers, this group contains cycads and ginkgo as well.
  • The seeds of Pine trees are contained by cones (Pinecones). Unlike the deciduous in which the seeds are contained in the fruits. These cones are structures made up of the scales of the tree.
  • Location of Pine tree worldwide
  • Pine trees, as mentioned earlier, are found mostly in Northern Hemisphere.
  • Pine has genus Pinus which has 126 species and belonging to the family of Pinaceae. 

Roots of Pine Tree

Roots of pine tree

Pine tree roots are similar to most other trees. The roots of Pines grow into a Taproot system. The seedling of Pine simply grows into a primary root first which later on gives rise to the various lateral roots or also called as secondary roots similar to all the other Taproots.

Types of Roots

Based on this, Pine roots are divided into two types, that is, Fine roots and Coarse roots.

Fine roots

These roots thrive on the upper layer of the soil (6 inches of the top layer) in the first year of the plant development. These roots, as the name depicts, are fine and tender. They’re developed as the initial roots of the plant which are later replaced by the Coarse roots.

Coarse roots 

These roots replace the Fine roots after a year of the plant development. They grow deeper in the soil like Taproots and live as long as the Pine tree. This root is the thick main root also called as the Primary root which further leads to the growth of small lateral roots also called as the secondary roots.

Soil Preference and Length of the Roots

The length of the Pine tree roots depends upon the availability of water in the soil and also on the oxygen content. The roots require an intermediate amount of oxygen and water content while thriving. Therefore, these roots abate their growth in moist soil that has a high amount of water content.

They grow deeper in the sandy soil compared to the clayey soil. Since the clayey soil is thick and has less space between the soil particles to hold oxygen and has more water content rather in comparison to the sandy soil which is loose and has less water but more oxygen. Roots of Pine trees are known to best grow in the sandy, slit or loamy soil having an average particle size of 0.002 -0.02mm.

Small Pine trees have root length of 4 to 15 feet while roots of larger Pines can extend up to a length of 35 to 75 feet deep.  Primary roots of Pines grow vertically downwards in the search of water.

Anatomy of Roots

anatomy of pine roots

The roots of a Pine tree when dissected consist of root hair, Epidermis, woody cortex and vascular bundles/tissues.

  • The Epidermis is the outermost single layer covering the roots and forming a boundary between the roots and the soil. The epidermis serves various functions like protection from water loss, helping in gaseous exchange, absorbing water etc.
  • Cortex is the layer beneath the Epidermis and above the vascular tissues. The cortex form the Cork of a root and stem. In case of the Pine roots, this cortex has a woody structure. Cortex helps in transportation and in the storage of food in the form of starch.
  • Vascular bundles are present in the innermost part of a root or stem formed from various types of cells. The two main types of the cell are Phloem and Xylem which forms the transporting system of a plant. Xylem tissue is responsible for carrying the absorbed water from the roots to the upper parts of the plants. The absorption and transportation of water from the soil to the roots and then to the steams and leaves occurs either via Diffusion or Transpirational Pull.
  • Root Hair is the extension of the epidermis of the roots of the younger roots or root branches of the Pines. They are only present in the Region of Maturation of the roots. Root hair is also known as absorbent hair as they are responsible for absorbing a great amount of water from the upper surface of the soil.

Functions of Roots

  • Tap Roots of Pine trees provide them with stability as the above-ground portion of the plant enlarges along with anchoring the plant.
  • Absorbs water and inorganic nutrients from the soil.
  • Stores food in the form of Starch (a source of energy).
  • Roots of Pine trees are also involved in the Vegetative reproduction.

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