The root system is an essential part of any plant. If a tree loses a branch, it will easily survive, but there can be severe consequences if its roots are damaged.
Today we will talk about the root system of Dwarf Alberta Spruce, its shape, depth, and other features. We also touch on the topics of diseases that affect the roots and pests that can damage them.
Do Alberta spruce have deep roots?
Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a small plant, so its roots are not significant. Preferably, the depth does not exceed the height of the plant, although there may be exceptions. Also, the diameter of the root system is slightly larger than the width of the spruce crown.
It’s hard to tell the exact size of each plant’s roots, but the size depends on:
- Age of the plant;
- Growing conditions;
- The soil in which it grows;
- Many other factors.
Let’s look at each case in more detail.
During the first two years after planting, young spruces have a small root system that is not much larger than the pot from which it transplanted. With age, the plant begins to grow, the roots increase, and can reach size aboveground part of a plant.
Growth conditions also greatly affect what kind of root system your spruce will have. If the plant has enough sunlight, it receives regular irrigation and the optimal amount of fertilizer, then the roots in such a plant will be large and healthy.
Soil is an important factor that depends on the size of the root system. If the soil in your yard is heavy, then the roots will be difficult to spread, and the plant will grow more slowly.
If the soil at the planting site is sandy, then the spruce will be easier to penetrate deeper. Besides, there is no stagnation of water in the sandy soil, which reduces the risk of root rot.
From this, we can conclude that it is better if the soil is sandy. However, this has one drawback in dry weather, and the spruce may not have enough water as the sandy soil dries faster. Therefore, it is crucial to create a soil mix that holds sufficient moisture.
Problems (diseases and pests) of the root system
There are problems with spruce roots, especially if you plant trees incorrectly. Let’s look at the main problematic situations and talk briefly about ways to solve them.
Among the diseases, the most common root rot. Pathogens cause it if the conditions are appropriate (excess moisture in the soil). To avoid this situation, plant the spruce in light soil without stagnant water. It is also vital to arrange drainage before planting.
Various pests, including European chafer, can damage the underground part of the plant. The larvae of this beetle can eat the roots, although it is rare. If you suspect that this pest has arrived in your yard, it is better to water the dwarf spruce with an insecticide solution.
Rodents can be another threat to the root. They can damage the spruce quite seriously. If you have this situation, consult a specialist.
How to choose a Dwarf Alberta spruce with good roots
Suppose you decide to plant dwarf spruce in your yard and go to a garden center for this. What is the first thing to look for when choosing a plant?
If the spruce grows in a pot and its needles look healthy and have a bright green color, then it is a sign that everything is OK with the roots.
Next, pull the plant out of the pot and look at the roots; its tips should be white. Also, they should not be strongly intertwined and should not have molds and fungi.
These signs indicate that the plant is healthy. Otherwise, it is better to continue the search for healthier spruce.
Avoid damage to the root system
If you need to dig a ditch or pit near dwarf spruce or transplant it, you should proceed with extreme caution. Minor damage can lead to the death of the plant. The plant can survive branch and needle damage. But root damage can kill it.
Before transplanting or other work near the spruce, water it for a few days to saturate the plant with enough water. Do not dig closer than the crown diameter. Some roots may spread further; try not to damage them.
Root depth of 3-4-year-old Dwarf Alberta Spruce can reach 20 inches. It is the depth that you need to go when transplanting a plant. If you are replanting spruce in a new place, it is better to shade it for 1-2 months. Also, transplanting is best done in spring or fall.
It is good practice to replant spruce trees when they are still young. Also, do not replant the spruce too often—two or three transplants per lifetime but no more.
If you have dug a plant, do not allow the soil to dry, it is better to plant it immediately. The fact is that the root forms mycorrhiza that helps the plant to receive water and other useful substances. If mycorrhizae die, then the plant may not survive.
Healthy root system
Healthy and strong roots are the keys to a long life and a beautiful view of the plant. Let’s determine what can be done to make the tree grow good roots.
First of all, as I wrote earlier, you need to make the right soil mix. Take 3/4 of the garden soil and mix with 1/3 of the compost. Put spruce in this soil mix and put drainage stones at the bottom of the planting hole. After planting mulch the spruce, it is best to use the bark.
During the first few years after planting, it will be helpful if you loosen the topsoil. Do this regularly, at least once every three months. You must be very careful not to damage the roots that grow close to the surface.
For vigorous development of the underground part, the plant requires regular watering. Water the plant only when the topsoil has dried. Use as much water as you need to keep the soil around the plant moist, but you don’t want to overwater it.
The root system will develop faster if you fertilize it. Use prolonged action fertilizers. In this case, enough fertilizers will get to the bottom of the plant, and it will grow quite quickly. You can also water the plant with a solution that stimulates root development (rooting hormones).
Many of you are interested in other problems related to the underground part of the plant. Let’s look at the most common.
Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a compact plant, and gardeners often place it close to the house. In this case, the question arises: Will the roots harm the building and other underground communications?
It is hardly possible. The tree would have to be very large to do serious damage to the foundation. The root is easier to penetrate the soil than in concrete.
The same applies to plant spruce near other plants. Many people wonder if the roots of the plants will not damage each other.
Plants can grow at close range without much hassle. Yes, they will compete with each other, but it won’t hurt them. Pruning branches can solve this problem.
Today it is popular to grow spruce in a pot. This method has one small problem; the healthy growth of the roots requires a place to spread. Because pot space is limited, it is necessary to transplant the plant into larger containers occasionally.