Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Trees are probably among the most powerful and impressive plants on earth and have always been spiritual companions, suppliers of raw materials and oxygen for people. Their growth form is defined by the respective root system, which supplies the tree with nutrients and moisture. There are four primary root systems: flat, heart, sinker and deep roots. As the name suggests, the deep-rooting plants form deep roots that grow several meters vertically into the ground.


deep rooter

Deep-rooters are plants that form a primary main root, which they drive more and more vertically into the ground. From this, further roots sprout to the side, but do not take on the main function as with flat or heart-shaped roots, whose root systems are on the earth's surface. Advantages of this root system are the following.

  • deeper water supplies can be reached
  • dry or colder areas can be colonized
  • are protected against wind breakage
  • different, hard soil layers can be penetrated
  • Roots do not drive into foundations or basements due to the small growth radius


A big problem with deep-rooted plants in the garden is precisely this strong coarse root with the pronounced fine roots. It provides the plant with the necessary support and for this reason some of the trees with this root system can reach heights of over 100 meters, such as various sequoia species. However, if deep-rooted plants are to be transplanted, this is associated with a lot of effort and can also result in the death of the plant if the root system is not handled carefully enough. For example, in particularly dry areas, pine trees can develop ten-meter-long taproots that make transplanting the tree almost impossible.

Notice: Some deep-rooted plants change their root form to sagging or heart root systems or develop a kind of hybrid of these with increasing age. This happens, for example, with beech trees, which, when adult, transform their previous taproot into a central root that reaches quite far into the ground.


Discover the world of deep-rooted trees: 15 deep-rooted trees presented

Many trees in Germany have a pronounced taproot, of which the pine is probably one of the best-known deep-rooters. In general, many trees with this root system are found in drier regions. They need the root to access the important groundwater that lies deep underground in these regions. The following trees generally grow over a taproot when young, retain it, or develop a different root system as an adult plant. The trees are listed with their reachable height and root depth to visualize a comparison between the surface and invisible parts in the earth.

Pine trees

The pines (Pinus) are the classic deep-rooted trees. They can be over 600 years old and are found in the northern hemisphere. In many East Asian cultures, they stand for strength and endurance, which is mainly due to their roots and growth. They are equipped with pine needles and cones and reach trunk diameters of one meter.

  • adult root system: taproot
  • Root depth: up to 10 m
  • Height: up to 40 m
Pinus sylvestris, Scots pine

sweet chestnut

Castanea sativa is also known as sweet chestnut and the tree's nuts are enjoyed roasted, especially around Christmas time. Some specimens reach an age of more than 2,000 years and it is originally found from Asia Minor to the Mediterranean and Central Europe.

  • Adult root system: taproot, later shallow root
  • Root depth: about 40 cm
  • Height: 20 - 25 m
Castanea, chestnut


With their characteristic leaf shape and spreading crown, oaks (Quercus) are among the most popular trees in Germany and can be found from North America to Eurasia and North Africa. They have one of the strongest root systems around and are one of those trees that can hardly be transplanted without being damaged. Some specimens are between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, such as the 1,000-year-old Bad Blumau oak.

  • adult root system: taproot
  • Root depth: 30 - 40 m
  • Altitude: 30 - 40 m
Quercus robur, English oak


As one of the tallest European deciduous trees, Fraxinus excelsior characterizes the landscape of many areas in Germany and feels most comfortable in calcareous soils, since its competitor, the beech, does not like to grow there. Due to their shape, ash trees are the template for the world tree Yggdrasil from Norse mythology and have always been spiritually important for humans due to their effect as a medicinal plant.

  • adult root system: taproot, later sinker root
  • Root depth: maximum 150 cm
  • Height: 40 m


The only European yew species, Taxus baccata, is known to be extremely poisonous. Almost all parts of the tree except for the red husk of the seeds are poisonous and can even be deadly to humans. It is particularly noticeable because of this cover, as it resembles an olive in light red.

  • adult root system: taproot with superficial fine roots
  • Root depth: depends on the location, minimum is 2 m
  • Height: 15 - 20 m
Taxus baccata, Yew


Larix belongs to the pine family and for this reason also has strong root systems and is popular for building houses and other applications, for example in shipping, due to its hardness.

  • adult root system: taproot, later heart root
  • Root depth: up to 2 m
  • Height: 55 m
Larix decidua, European larch

linden tree

Linden (Tilia) are mallow plants and belong to the deciduous trees that primarily attract insects in the garden. The typical linden smell adorns entire avenues in large cities like Leipzig and allergy sufferers in particular are susceptible to the pollen of the tree. Lime blossom honey is a popular form of honey because of the nutritious nature of the tree, large quantities of honey can be produced.

  • adult root system: taproot, later heart root
  • Root depth: up to 2 m
  • Altitude: 15 - 40 m
Tilia, Linden

Chinese Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, also known as Chinese redwood or primeval sequoia, is considered a living fossil that was thought to be extinct until 1941 when it was rediscovered in China. Today the tree adorns many parks around the world.

  • adult root system: deep root without taproot
  • Root depth: 50 - 100 cm
  • Height: 30 to 50 m


The elms (Ulmus) have been in the limelight again and again since the year 1920, mainly because of the elm dieback, since large parts of the populations occurring in the lowlands have already been decimated. The wood used, the elm, has been used for all kinds of purposes since antiquity, for example as a veneer.

  • adult root system: taproot, later flat or heart root
  • Root depth: location-dependent, extremely variable
  • Height: 40 m


Juniperus is not only known for the berries that are used in numerous cuisines, but also because of the different growth forms as a shrub or tree. Nevertheless, they are always deep-rooters, which can also be used well as a hedge. In addition, the berries are used as a raw material for the alcoholic beverage "gin".

  • adult root system: taproot
  • Root depth: up to 6 m
  • Height: 12 - 18.5 m
Juniperus drupacea, Syrian juniper

walnut tree

The walnut (Juglans regia) is popular mainly because of the nuts. Brittle and walnut oil are two of the most common products from the tree, which behaves as a true deep rooter only for a short time. The walnut has existed on Earth since the Tertiary and it grows mainly in Europe and Asia. In many cities and regions, walnuts are one of the main exports and important for the local people, like Adilcevaz in Turkey.

  • adult root system: taproot, later heart root
  • Root depth: up to 100 cm
  • Height: up to 30 m

Black Locust

The false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia) actually comes from North America and, like the real acacia, is a deep-rooted plant that spreads a little over time. Introduced to Europe in the 18th century, it has adapted very well to the climate and even thrives in the wild. Not only because of its wood, but also because of its nectar. Commercial acacia honey is often obtained from the extremely sweet sap of black locust trees.

  • adult root system: taproot, later sinker root
  • Root depth: up to 300 cm
  • Height: 12 - 30 m
Robinia pseudoacacia, black locust


There are three species of redwoods (Sequoioideae), all of which are native to North America and are the tallest and heaviest of all trees. In height, the coast redwood is unrivaled at nearly 117 meters tall, while the giant sequoia is the heaviest plant above ground. Dubbed the "General Sherman Tree," the specimen is between 1,900 and 2,500 years old and is estimated to weigh around 1,950 tons with a volume of 1486.9 cubic meters. In the case of fallen sequoias, the taproot of these giants, which is receding in old age, can still be seen.

  • adult root system: taproot, later heart root
  • Root depth: 200 to 500 cm
  • Altitude: over 100 m

bald cypress

Taxodium distichum, also known as swamp yew, is an interesting deep-rooted plant that is one of the few deep-growing trees that grows in water. He forms so-called "breathing knees" to breathe. These are roots that protrude from the ground and look like a human knee because of their shape. Despite their desirable habit in wetlands, drought survival is not a problem for them due to their taproot. It even develops an extremely aggressive growth downwards in order to get water.

  • adult root system: taproot with patellar roots protruding from the surface
  • Root depth: Knee roots up to 40 cm, taproot several meters
  • Height: 35 m
Taxodium distichum, Bald Cypress

black walnut

The black walnut (Juglans nigra) is the American relative of the walnut and is very popular there for its fruits and wood and has been used for centuries. In the 20th century they were also planted in Germany, where they grow in large numbers along the Rhine and Danube rivers. The fruits have toxins, but they are not dangerous to humans.

  • adult root system: taproot, later heart root
  • Root depth: up to 200 cm
  • Altitude: 30 - 50 m

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!