Healthy plants start with healthy roots, so examine plant
roots whenever you get the chance. Take note of the roots on your new transplants, and
compare them to the roots you see at the end of the growing season when you are pulling up
old plants. Youll begin to get a feel for what healthy roots look and feel
likegenerally they are light in color, firm, and smooth. Examine diseased plants
too, looking for signs of unhealthy roots.
time you walk down a sidewalk that has been cracked and buckled by tree roots, consider
the force exerted by those growing rootsstrong enough to break concrete! You may
have a new appreciation for the hidden world beneath your feet!
Successful gardeners know that
its better to water plants thoroughly once a week than to water a little every day,
even if the total amount of water applied is the same. Why?
Repeated shallow watering
encourages plants to form roots near the surface, where the water is. This leaves the
roots vulnerable to drought, overheating, compaction, and pests. Watering deeply allows
the plant to form an extensive root system that is better able to anchor the plant and
withstand adverse conditions.