Soil, Roots, and So Much More!

An important part of your plant is the roots. They soak up all the nutrients, water, and allow your plant to dig deeper and spread farther! For this to happen, plants have a specific root systems; taproot, fibrous, and adventitious. A taproot system has a main root that grows vertically downward with a few  thin roots branching off. A taproot has a hard root cap that pushes through tough soil layers.  Some plants that have these types of taproots are carrots, parsley, turnips, and radishes.

A plant with a fibrous root system has many small roots that branch out and are much shallower than a taproot. This kind of root allows the plant to have a firm foundation because it clumps into the soil. Plants that have this type of fibrous root system are onion, grass, and wheat.

Adventitious roots grow on any other part of the plant besides the actual root. Vines, tomato plants, some succulents, and many other plants have adventitious roots.

When plants have a strong root system in the right soil, your plants can do marvelous things! The type of soil they need is particularly important. Sandy soil tends to be either acidic, low in nutrients, or warm/dry. They tend to dry out in summer and have quick water drainage. Clay is a heavy soil that benefits from high nutrients. It remains wet and cold in the winter but dries out in the summer. Silt soil has a high fertility rating and is made up of medium sized particles. This helps to hold moisture and drains well. Silt soil, however, easily washes away with rain. The best type of soil you can have is loam. This is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay! Loam is easy to work with and provides good draining. Adding nutritional fertilizer and soil starter to any of these soil types can adjust the texture and acidity.

Different types of soil can be found in different soil layers. For example, clay, sand, and silt, can be below the loam layer or the organic soil. This allows for specific root types to pass through. Taproots are able to dig deeper into the harder layers because they have a tough root cap. While the fibrous roots have more delicate but stretched out roots, they can spread through the top organic and loam layer of the soil.

Shallow roots do great in containers, pots, and hanging baskets. Deeper roots grow best in raised garden beds or straight in the ground!

You can help your soil by providing compost and the correct amount of water. Water helps the flow of nutrients, the passage way for oxygen into your soil, and is key for photosynthesis. Help provide the nutritional foundation your plants need!

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About Rachael Caddell

Originally from Charleston, SC, Rachael grew up among gorgeous gardens and her mother's green thumb. Now in the midst of growing her own garden, Rachael loves to find new creative ideas for her plants. She is a writer and manages social media for Park Seed. In her free time she likes to cook, watch movies, and travel.

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