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Author Topic: Tap Roots  (Read 273 times)


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Tap Roots
« on: April 29, 2020, 09:13:16 PM »
Wisdom tips appreciated by me & all here likely.

What fruit trees have tap roots, what results from cutting it off?

Thank you


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Re: Tap Roots
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2020, 09:51:43 PM »
I'm not sure of the reason for your question so I am not sure if this is real helpful.  I suspect any seed grown tree is going to have a tap root, although some may be more impressive than others.  Trees propagated by cutting or air layer will not have a tap root and some claim that these trees are less well anchored (although some also claim it is not a big deal).

I assume you are referring to seedlings (relatively small trees) here.  I would not intentionally cut the tap root unless you are willing to risk the tree.  I had one of the South American walnuts in a grow bag and didn't realize its tap root had grown out of the bag until I tried to move it.  The tap root snapped off and the tree died within days.  I am not sure if this would be an exceptional case but be aware that it might have a bad outcome if you cut off the taproot.  I think it would really depend on the type of tree.  I had a friend bring a couple of ingas over for me that were ~5-6' tall, had no root ball and were missing most of the roots, including most of the tap root.  I assumed I was wasting my time planting them but both survived & grew well once they got established.

If it is a tree that is in the ground & established, I would guess it would not be fatal to cut the tap root if there were a lot of other roots, especially if you removed some of the leafy growth to compensate.



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Re: Tap Roots
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2020, 02:16:54 AM »

This system destroy taproots on seedlings.

Triloba Tracker

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Re: Tap Roots
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2020, 09:23:35 AM »
my primary obsession being pawpaw, Asimina triloba, this topic of taproots has been something i've thought a lot about.

Pawpaws are said to have strong taproots, and indeed if allowed to a seed will produce, for example, a 14-18 inch taproot or more before it even emerges above ground.

Many people recommend tall pots for seedlings to accommodate the taproot.

But some nurseries grow pawpaws in root training/pruning pots, or in open-bottom band pots that are only 5-6 inches deep. I have had some folks tell me with a very young seedling you can just whack the taproot off.

Like many things in the plant world, there seems to be no absolute on this.

However, i would not recommend cutting a taproot once it's already formed, at least not if the tree is actively growing (similar to HIFarm's experience). But it seems like you can likely successfully grow trees by inducing a truncated taproot from "birth" using air-pruning techniques.

I actually made my own "band" style pots this year with depths of about 8 inches, in which to grow pawpaws. The seeds behaved just like every other pawpaw i've grown, and the trees are plenty healthy.  I've planted them in the orchard, so time will tell of the long term impacts. (I also have a commercial-grown pawpaw with about a 5 inch taproot that made it fine through its first year and is growing vigorously now in its second spring in the ground. But in the back of my mind I feel i need to keep an eye on it since its root system was so small initially.)


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