Understanding Roots in Trees: Why Are They Important?

How important are roots in trees? In this post, Tree Workers of Phoenix, your reliable certified arborist in Phoenix, AZ, answers this fascinating question in greater detail. 

Why Are Tree Roots So Vital?

With root growth going on deep below the soil surface, it’s easy to overlook the importance of these vital components. Here are the main reasons the tree’s base layer is so crucial.


Trees and branches get all the admiration, but they are there primarily for energy production. The roots in trees are responsible for absorbing the bulk of the nutrients and water the tree needs. The roots of mature trees extend deep into the ground to search out these supplies.

Without the roots, the branches and leaves would not be able to grow at all. 


You might think trees store nutrients in their leaves, but you would be wrong. Leaves do not live long enough to make a viable storage solution. Instead, roots in trees fulfill this vital function. 

This allows the tree to access a steady supply of nutrients during winter when food and water are scarce. 


Try to lift a branch from a relatively old tree, and you will gain a new appreciation for the root system. This system anchors the tree firmly, acting as a counterweight to the top-heavy canopy. Without roots in trees, a strong gust of wind could knock the trunk over. 

Trees can anchor themselves in one of two ways. They either have:

  • A fibrous root system: Such systems work well in shallow soil where it is difficult to dig deep. Many trees using this system are prevalent in areas where it is challenging to grow and easy to access surface water. These trees are easier to uproot. 
  • A tap root system: Tap roots are useful to trees where water and other surface resources are more scarce. The tree may also have to contend with inclement weather or strong winds, making it necessary for it to have a strong foothold. 


In nature, plants compete with one another for resources all the time. The roots are vital in this competition, spreading out and claiming real estate. The plants with the most extensive and strongest systems are bound to dominate and survive.

Checking the Roots

We don’t recommend digging into the ground to look at them because you risk root damage. However, we do recommend checking the root systems periodically, particularly where the trunk flares out and the roots start. This includes paying attention to roots after stump grinding, as they can impact the surrounding soil and vegetation.

There should not be any constricting elements around this areas or around the roots. This space should be clear of debris so that it can breathe well. 

Mulching your tree will protect the roots from the heat of the sun and help them retain water. However, the mulch should not be right against the bark. Give it a space of a few inches from the trunk and extend the material to the edge of the tree’s canopy for the best results. 

Inspect this area regularly for signs of roots lifting out of the ground. Gently clear away the topsoil around the root flare occasionally to look for signs of fungus or rot. Also, look for signs of wood-boring insects and deal with any issues you find quickly.

Contact the Professionals Today!

Are you unsure what to check when it comes to roots in trees? Contact Tree Workers of Phoenix at (602) 320 2797 to schedule a professional arborist inspection to help with your uprooted trees. Our certified professionals use a combination of expertise and state-of-the-art technology to check your tree root health or stop tree roots from growing back.


Tree Workers of Phoenix has been in business since 1994 and is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and International Society of
Arboriculture (ISA).


18402 N. 19th Ave. #115

Phoenix, AZ 85023

Phone: 602-320-2797

Email : rickthetreeexpert@gmail.com

Hours of Operation :

Monday - Sunday : 9:00am-5:00pm


Call Now Button