Actual Root growth

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For those of you who grow outdoors have you ever removed a plant or dug down to see how deep and wide unrestricted roots go ?
I am curious about the tap root and the distance out the roots travel .


Yep I do it every year. The roots never go very deep even with seed starts. I've never found a root deeper than 2'. Most roots are in the top 12". With clones they go even shallower since they have no true tap root, I never find any roots on them deeper than 12" usually. As for width, they will go as wide as the possibly can. If the bed is wide, the soil is soft, and they are getting water, I've seen them go as wide as 12'-14'. Digging deep holes is totally unneeded. Most people dig there holes way to deep which is just a waste of time and money IMHO.


Blaze , this is exactly what I thought . Remember years ago we were all taught that the roots system of trees looked like mirror images of the tree growth above ground ? Since then it has been discovered that is wrong , and their growth is exactly like you described finding with cannabis .
So actually for growing indoors with clones , a wide shallow pot would be more favorable then a deep narrow one . So those who grow indoors in beds actually have the right idea .

Thanks Blaze !


yup, my roots are barely over a foot deep. maybe a few frisky ones hit 18" but they are wall to wall in my 5x5 boxes.

Truth Hurts

Seeds can get down to 18-20" easily since they've got a strong tap. Indica varieties keep the root zone at 12-14" some shooting deeper. But you know...wider is better.

Bill Bloome

Greetings I grew outside in Va. for almost 15 years.It has been my experience that Indicas have a "root ball" of 12 to 14 inches deep and approx. 14 to 24 inches wide. On the other hand Sativas tend to have a slightly deeper tap root,much better defined then the "nest" of roots of Indicas.I grew a 12 ft Mexican Meshmecan plant that had a tap root almost 18 in, long and very pronounced with a "root ball" almost 2 ft across.It was the largest plant of the crop and the exception to the norm.As a general rule of thumb ,wider is definitely more important than deeper.


simple thing to dois look at your plant no older than 4 weeks flower, the width of the plant is exactly how wide the roots has travelled..... its called the plants "drip line".
It is the same for indoors, the wider the buckets the better the yields.



dig a serious hole outdoors, and fill it with some serious goodies. 3 x 3 x 3 minimum.

at the end of the season, you won't be able to pull it up.

as long as there is favorable medium for the roots to grow into, they will keep going.

i am talking about plants with a stalk the size of your arm. no tiny roots on those girls.

Truth Hurts

A hole that's 1.5 deep and 6 square will give way more volume than a cubic yard will...


And old thread but I was thinking about this the other day. Since I work around a lot of clay type soils. I learned some interesting things here, I didn't think that the roots grow out more than down...I thought they just push their way equally but run into competition growing latterly. I don't think wide pots are a wise idea indoors, since square is the way to go and that width is usually about plant numbers...but some grow bushes indoors with large containers.

I have these holes outside, that look so stable from the clay type soil. It's made me think about what it is going to be like, digging out root mass. I haven't put enough effort in out door experiments to really see fact verses fiction. The current holes should be perfect to see where the roots get to.

The holes are about as deep as my fist to my elbow, and about as wide in a circle. Large enough to put both feet in and have it at the very base of my knees, some holes are larger. I'm glad I read about the 'drip zone' so I know how far to place top dressings. That is very helpful since top dressings also help keep away tender weeds from invading.

I think I will get a root ball down to the bottom of the hole and some past that, but it gets pretty thick with clay type's not pure clay, but it's not draining well. If your roots aren't growing deep, it may not be draining well down there....that is a thought.


i read once about a grow that was comparing plant size to container size ,the plants that grew in a slender pot (straight up like a 2 ltr bottle) the plant grew without much side branching (good for sea of green style)and the plant grown ina pot that had a wide base (like an upside down funnel) grew bushier ,it was explained that the roots on the 2ltr botte couldnt spread out so the plant didnt bush either .now the same strain grown in the container with the wider base got much bushier ,the root zone spread out more so the plant .basically they said the wider the root zone the wider the top of the plant.I HOPE I EXPLAINED THAT RIGHT or atleast you get what i mean
Tobor the 8th Man

Tobor the 8th Man

I have had 10 ft plus plants in cornfields that had the roots go down over 5 feet. Most of my guerilla grows along stream banks the tap root can go down very deep to the water table which can be 5 and 6 feet when on a high bank.

You have to make the plant adapt to the ground when you transplant it into the hole. Encourage it to have deep roots so it doesn't need to be watered and can thrive when there is no rain. When you dig a wide hole and not very deep and then you water it frequently to get it established the roots will grow outward because that is where all their water is. They don't have to go looking. I used to use a painstaking method where I didn't disturb the roots at all when I transplanted outside. I have since fine tuned my method.

I like my seedlings to be at least 8 weeks old and as tall as I can get them. I actually don't mind stretchy plants if it happens but for the most part I have very healthy plants that are hopefully 15 to 20 inches above the soil surface in the pot.

I dig my hole 3 feet deep and pour in a gallon of water and veg ferts and let it soak in. While it soaks I mix some dolomite lime in the soil I took out of the hole. I add a cup of pre soak water gel to the bottom of the hole and then fill in the hole with a foot of loose soil. Moisten that soil. Now you have a 2 foot hole that is presoak and tilled for a foot down. Take the plant out of its pot (make sure you watered it some first) and loosen up the bottom of the root ball gently. Put it down in the bottom of the hole and take note how much your plant sticks out the top of the hole. Ideally you only want 2 or 3 leaf sets above ground level and ideally you will have 4 or 5 sets or more of leaves below ground level. Pinch off all the leaves and branches that will be underground. Now fill in the hole with the rest of the soil you had removed. If you have shorter plants just fill in with more soil so that only 2 or 3 leaf sets are above ground. If your seedlings or clones have alternating leaves one leaf counts. Now water the whole area with another gallon of ferted water. Put up your chicken wire fence (or you wasted your time) and sprinkle some slug stuff around the base.

Now the roots are deep and they have water down there. They will grow towards it while the plant gets established. Everywhere you removed leaves or branches will shoot roots out from those spots. You will end up with roots all along the 2 foot hole and then deeper roots from the original rootball that are now 3 feet down at least through the foot of loose soil. Don't baby it for the first month. You won't have to. This plant will be able to thrive during the driest conditions especially if you mulch it good with leaves or branches.

This is why deep holes are better IMHO for a GUERILLA GROW. You don't have to go back and tend the plants until harvest if you want to go total guerilla. If you want to do minimal care that ensures a good harvest use this plan. First visit is to plant in late May early June, 2nd visit July 1 to clear weeds and give another shot of veg ferts, 3rd visit August 1 to clear weeds, cut off lower branches and trim out small center branches to prevent mold and give veg and flower ferts, 4th visit Sept 1 to tie, fix, remove flowering branches and give flowering ferts, 5th visit Oct 5-15 harvest for me as I use 8-10 week strains. If you have longer strains you will need another visit.

Most of my guerilla grows in the wild never gets visited between the time I plant and the time I harvest. No trails=no rippers. I usually have one spot I baby in a cornfield and visit whenever I want and maybe a wild spot just for fun. But I do it knowing full well a trail could give the spot away.


Well outside it really depends on your soil if need to dig deep, If you have no drainage you need to dig deep so the soil drains. If you have good drainage and can water when needed, theres no reason to dig more han 24" i guess.
Inside pot size makes a huge diffence i think. The plant know where that drip line is. Skiny pots grow taller plant and can send the side branchs up past the main stem if the plants are packed in. Wider pots give you wider plants and bigger yeilds. I realy like the idea of a soil bed.
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