Do roots stop growing in the autumn?
Well on this evidence they put a spurt of growth on! I collected over 4,000 acorns from the avenue of Evergreen Oak at Holkham two weeks ago today and after maturing for a week in my office and just as they began to germinate we lined them out in our seedbeds.
I have done the same for the last decade, and the emerging seedlings in the spring were particularly impressive this last summer.
Tree roots grow given three vital ingredients; temperature, water & oxygen. You can aerate ground to promote oxygen within the soil profile and apply water but fixing a higher temperature is out of our control. They put a spurt of growth on for the Autumn to nutrient load ahead of a long winter of dormancy. Recent trials show that a tablespoon of granulated sugar sprinkled on top of a tree this time of year is greatly beneficial with the roots taking up this easily absorbed food supply to give it a boost for the following spring. It costs very little to do, give it a try!
Even during the cold winter months roots will continue to grow, though a lot slower than in the spring and summer. They will extend in soils above 10 degrees Celsius quite comfortably and in this country this means that root growth will carry on year round in all but the harshest winters.
Large and mature trees will be more sedate in their root growth than younger specimens that are eager to satisfy their juvenile vigour.
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