Each spring, we eagerly await the moment our trees will sprout that first leaf–then another and another.
While it’s easy to see when trees grow new leaves, we can’t see when their tree roots are growing. Luckily, our scientists at the Davey Institute study exactly what is happening underground with trees. With their discoveries, we can understand and care for trees better.
Below, learn how much trees grow each season and how you can help your tree roots grow more.
All About Tree Root Growth Rate in Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter
When Do Tree Roots Grow The Most?
In general, tree roots grow the most in late spring through very early summer. Many trees experience another smaller growth spurt in early fall.
This second period of growth is very dependent on what kind of tree you have. Some tree species experience this. Some grow a little. And some don’t undergo this uptick in fall growth.
Do Tree Roots Grow In Winter?
Yes and no! As long as the ground temperature is above freezing, tree roots can and do continue to grow, whether tree roots grow in winter depends on the local climate. As soil temperature moves closer to 36°F, roots grow less. Then, once it’s freezing, growth pauses then resumes as soil warms in the spring.
Overall, it’s safe to say your tree roots do grow a bit during winter. But, from November to April, any root growth is likely slow compared to during the growing season.
When Do Tree Roots Grow The Fastest? How Can I Help Trees Grow Faster?
We know that roots grow anytime the ground isn’t frozen if they have the water, air, nutrients and energy they need to grow.
Trees that have their leaf litter removed depend on us to provide essential nutrients, which are found in composts, mulches, and fertilizers. They may rely on us to provide water as well when conditions are dry, or to loosen soil around roots with air tools and biochar to provide for air circulation. Once they have these things, tree roots can keep on growing!
At Davey, our experts use Arbor Green PRO® and Arbor Green Xtra plus B (depending on the region) to keep trees nourished with essential nutrients each year. These fertilizers are designed to slowly release nutrients uniformly over time, regardless of when they're applied. Our goal is to always make sure your tree has enough nutrients to keep on growing.
Ask your local arborist about ways to provide for optimal root growth when roots should be growing the most through fertilization, irrigation, and soil decompaction.