Back to Basic: Tree Root Systems


"If a tree has strong roots, not even the strongest hands can pluck it from where it stands." Matshona Dhliwayo [...]

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In our experience, ensuring healthy tree root systems of your planting project is key. Without the proper foundational support to help them grow in their growth stages, most trees will struggle and eventually die.

"If a tree has strong roots, not even the strongest hands can pluck it from where it stands."

Matshona Dhliwayo

This phrase is well known to those who care for a hearty garden. It's easy to neglect the importance of what goes into a successful planting, including proper tree roots development.

Have you ever wondered why having a healthy root system for your plants is so important?

Caring for the tree root system is deeply crucial. That can be very hard to understand at first glance. When our focus is to ensure deep roots grow correctly, your planting result will be successful, and your trees will enjoy a longer life span.

The major portion of a tree's root system is in the top few inches of soil. There are many types of roots; two basic types of roots being nonwoody and woody roots. feeder roots, fine roots, lateral roots, oblique roots (also known as heart roots), and tap roots.

By ignoring the roots, tree can lack water and nutrients necessary for their planting to thrive. It could lead to permanent roots problems and making it vital that they add nutrients and other chemicals at that point.

Save cost

The most effective way to reduce the possibility of root injury and disease is to focus on tree health. Preventing most tree roots' problems, putting reasonable amounts of nutrients in relatively early is much easier than adding nutrients after you've already neglected the roots. This adds up difficulty and costs and generates fewer desirable

If you're looking for a solution before or after planting; we have various product options for your landscaping, project development, and tree roots needs.


If you haven't started your planting, first and foremost, our recommendation for you would be TerraCottem®.

It works in a synergetic way to significantly improve soil quality, water and nutrient retention for healthier plant growth. TerraCottem® works in the root zone. To activate TerraCottem® polymers, you will need to mix it in with the soil and water. TerraCottem® absorbs moisture and fertilisers into the soil surface. It helps your plants to grow and to get enough water and nutrients.

Choosing TerraCottem® is the first wise move to start planting trees, as we know, strong beginnings produce strong endings. TerraCottem® will ensure that plants and root systems only take up water when needed, no water will go to waste. Not only is TerraCottem® excellent for your tree roots, but it is also beneficial for the overall environment. 

Another thing to consider early before planting is the root barrier. Why?

While most root's structure tends to grow downwards, some may start to spread to unwanted areas. Some experts speculate that some roots can grow up to five times the radius of the tree's canopy.

Root barrier helps to direct the tree root growth downwards into the ground and away from surrounding hardscape surfaces.

This is effective for the roots of urban trees planted near walkways or pavements. Root barrier prevents damage, cracking and heaving that can result from the growth of tree roots under these surfaces. Having a root barrier also reduces that chance tree removal in the future.

Also consider root barriers before planting for tree stability and drought tolerance. They will typically encourage deeper root growth in most tree species. To do just that, Root Deflector Dimpled Barrier is your solution for protecting even the deepest roots. Root barrier is easy to install, with no specialist equipment needed.

Sometimes we need to prevent root spreading to all directions. The Root Director System or ReRoute Ribbed Root Barrier can help areas such as court yards, parking lots and footpaths.

These specialised root barriers have integrated ribs that cleverly prevent root spread and swirl issues. This will occur in tree root systems if installing standard root barriers completely around a root ball.

In a nutshell, root barriers help to direct root growth downwards and away from the surface as the tree grows. It reduces the cost of maintenance, soil compaction, and the need for removal of problematic trees and tree roots.


For healthy soil and tree roots, it's time to think fertiliser! We recommend applying seaweed products such as Acadian Seaweed Powder, Neutrog Gogo Juice, or Seaweed Secrets. This range of fertilisers are effective on a variety of tree species and will improve soil conditions. It will help tree roots absorb oxygen, water and nutrients and help your trees grow strong.

Why seaweed?

“Seaweed is magical stuff in the water, it's incredibly healthful to us, to our animals, to our soils and our plants.  As seaweed breaks down into the soil, it encourages microorganisms whose activities help convert unavailable nutrients into forms that plants can use.

It increases chlorophyll production and contains many micronutrients important for soil and plant health, as well as acting as a growth stimulant: it is rich in cytokinins, plant growth hormones that work above and below ground, improving root growth.”

(Alys Fowler for

Fowler also said that if we can afford only one type of fertiliser, make it seaweed.

Healthy Tree Root Systems For Your Next Planting Project

We hope this post is helpful for your planting project, ensuring that you have the best products in place.

If you have any questions regarding root systems or the different types of tree roots, we are happy to help! Reach out by email or call: 1300 866 367. Search through our wide range of landscaping supplies and products, designed to help the development of many species of plants and roots.

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