Understanding Roots uncovers one of the greatest mysteries underground―the secret lives and magical workings of the roots that move and grow invisibly beneath our feet.
Roots, it seems, do more than just keep a plant from falling over: they gather water and nutrients, exude wondrous elixirs to create good soil, make friends with microbes and fungi, communicate with other roots, and adapt themselves to all manner of soils, winds, and climates, nourishing and sustaining our gardens, lawns, and woodlands.
Understanding Roots contains over 115 enchanting and revealing root drawings that most people have never seen, from prairies, grasslands, and deserts, as well as drawings based on excavations of vegetable, fruit, nut, and ornamental tree roots. Every root system presented in this book was drawn by people literally working in the trenches, sketching the roots where they grew.
The text provides a verydetailed review of all aspects of transplanting; describes how roots work their magic to improve soil nutrients; investigates the hidden life of soil microbes and their mysterious relationship to roots; explores the question of whether deep roots really gather more unique nutrients than shallow roots; shares the latest research about the mysteries of mycorrhizal (good fungal) association; shows you exactly where to put your fertilizer, compost, water, and mulch to help plants flourish; tells you why gray water increases crop yields more than fresh water; and, most importantly, reveals the science behind all the above (with citations for each scientific paper).
This book contains at least eighty percent more new information, more results of the latest in-depth and up-to-date explorations, and even more helpful guidelines on roots than the author’s previous book (Roots Demystified: Change Your Garden Habits to Help Roots Thrive). This is not a revised edition―it’s a whole new stand-alone book.
Understanding Roots by Robert Kourik is for the science minded, geeks, and serious gardeners out there. Learning about plant and soil science has been an exciting journey, and this book is a perfect addition to my homestead library. I never dreamed how interesting and delightfully complex this ecosystem actually is. The book contains an informative combination of soil facts, planting techniques, scientific studies, folk wisdom, growing strategies, and fascinating root drawings by Dr. John Weaver. One thing I learned, is that the root systems of most trees extend far beyond their drip line! I didn't realize that.
Chapters include information on humus, beneficial root biota, dynamic accumulators, deep roots & nutrients, nitrogen-fixing roots, roots to improve the soil, and favorable fungus. Practical advice is found in the chapters on transplanting roots, mulching tree roots, and roots & grey water.