What Happens If A Tree Is Not Planted Deep Enough?

Table of Contents

When planting a tree, the depth at which you plant it is just as important as where you plant it. Before planting your tree, make sure the root system has enough room to grow and that there is no soil compaction. If your tree does not have its own space, we recommend using a raised bed or planting in a container for better growth and a more stable base for the tree.
If the roots of your new sapling are not able to grow deep enough into the soil, it will not be able to become strong and healthy. Roots need around 60cm of soil to be able to grow properly (which means if you dig up your lawn, you should leave some grass in order for roots to grow back). So what happens if your new sapling doesnt get that?

Root Rot

If your roots are not able to grow deep enough into the soil, you will experience problems. Most often, this happens when the soil is too wet for trees to take root. The most common issues are root rot and poor growth. These issues will likely cause death of your tree if left untreated. Some other reasons for tree death may be not enough water, invasive competitor plants taking away nutrients from the new sapling, and lack of sunlight or proper nutrients in the soil due to over-use of fertilizers.

Shallow Rooting and weakened sapling

If your tree doesnt get enough soil to grow roots, it will be weak and fall over easily. The best way to ensure that your new tree gets the right amount of soil is to put it in a raised bed or container with at least 60cm of dug-up earth around the base.

Rotten Trunk and Base

If your new tree is planted too shallow, the roots may grow at first but then will not be able to penetrate deep enough into the soil. You could end up with a dead tree and a rotten trunk. If you are planting in concrete or other hard surfaces, it can be particularly difficult for roots to grow.
A healthy tree needs around 60cm of soil in order to thrive. If your new sapling does not get that and it rots, you could experience some serious problems. The rotting trunk and base would cause rot all the way up to the main branch of the tree, which would be very dangerous for everyone around it (plus youd have wasted money on this sapling).

Weak Stem and Branches

A sapling wont grow well if the stem and branches are not strong enough to hold the weight of a mature tree. Roots need to be able to slide down into the ground in order for your tree to have a solid base. If your new sapling has weak stems and branches, it will be more difficult for them to support their own weight. When this happens, the tree will have a harder time getting enough water and nutrients, causing it to weaken over time.
If you plant a sapling deep enough, it is less likely that the roots will become damaged or die. This means that youll not only save your tree from dying, but youll also save money on replacing it!

No Leafy Canopy

One of the main problems is that there will be no leafy canopy. The leaves of your new sapling wont be able to grow and photosynthesis wont take place. One possible consequence could be that the tree will not produce enough oxygen for life in the soil and roots, which can cause death.
Its important to plant your sapling deep enough so it can thrive. If you dont, you may find yourself with a dead tree or an unhealthy one that has stunted growth and poor yields.

No Fruit or Cones in Season

Your new tree might not produce any fruit or cones at all! This is because the tree will try to grow around its roots. A tree that has been planted too shallow or in an area with no soil could be stunted and won’t be able to grow past a certain height.
In order for your tree to be healthy, it needs plenty of nutrients and water. If you give it what it needs, it should thrive into adulthood.


How deep should the roots of a tree be planted?

Your roots need to be deep enough into the soil to allow for good circulation. 60-70cm is a good depth to aim for. If you are planting in a container or raised bed, check to see how deep the soil is and make sure you have enough room for your roots.

If the roots of your sapling are not able to grow deep enough, the plant will not be able to become strong and healthy, and may not survive in the long term.

If the roots of a tree are not able to grow deep enough into the soil, what will happen to the tree?

Regrowing a tree from a cutting is very difficult, but possible. If you plant the cutting in a larger container with more depth, the roots may grow, but not as well as they would if planted in the ground. It may take several years for the new tree to fully develop roots.
If the original plant was large and healthy it may be possible to replant it in the same location, but it may die over time due to poor root development. It is best to transplant a new sapling or use a different location in your garden.

Why is it important to have a deep root system?

Having a deep root system is important for saplings and young trees as they need to be able to get into moisture and nutrients in the soil below them. If the roots only come to the surface of the soil, they will not be able to access these vital resources.
If you cannot provide your sapling with the space it needs to develop a strong foundation, then it will be more likely that it will become diseased or die. You also don’t want any damage to your plants roots so try to give them enough space around your plants and do not compact the soil around them.

What Happens If A Tree Is Not Planted Deep Enough?

Brett Velarde

Brett Velarde

About Me

Recent Posts

How To Care For Tropical Trees