Skip to Content

Oak Tree Root System – Are Oak Tree Roots Invasive?

Sharing is caring!

Are oak tree roots invasive? Does an oak tree have deep roots? Are you wondering whether or not oak tree roots can destroy foundation, structure, and pipes?

Oak tree Root System Explained

Oak trees have a single root system which is very unique. Oak trees’ root system consists of the taproot, lateral root, and root hairs. However, oak tree roots aren’t that deep but they spread for several feet which makes them somewhat invasive sometimes.

It is really important to know about the different types of oak trees’ root systems and their invasive nature so that you can mold your decisions accordingly.

Red oak tree:

Red oak trees can be invasive especially due to their long stretch roots that extend wider than the red oak tree’s branches.

White oak tree: 

White oak trees have a similar root system like regular oak trees. It can go deep at about 18 inches or 45 centimeters from the surface of the soil and can be invasive in nature.

Willow oak tree:

Willow oak trees can be invasive occasionally but willow oak trees’ root system usually is very fibrous.

Moreover, it is the lateral root of the willow oak tree that is less invasive meaning it does not penetrate the soil that much however, taproots are really invasive due to the wide roots. 

Pin oak tree: 

You should at least establish any kind of foundation or structure at 20 or 30 feet away from the pin oak tree because of its invasive nature and complex root system. 

Water oak tree: 

Pools, water pipes, sewer lines, surfaces, structures, foundations, and fences can get seriously damaged by your water oak tree’s root system as it spreads a lot in its circumference.

Silver oak tree: 

A silver oak tree can be non-invasive in its root system and its root system will comprise it to be 18 inches deep from the surface of the soil.

Shumard oak tree: 

The shumard oak tree’s root system includes lateral roots that can grow four to seven times bigger than the crown of the shumard oak tree itself which is why it is considered an invasive kind of oak tree.

Bur oak tree: 

Bur oak tree has an extensive root system which comprises it to be invasive by growing into pavements, surfaces, or foundations and thus fully destroying the integrity of such foundations.

Does Oak tree have deep roots?

The mighty oak tree typically has somewhat deep and long roots. The roots of the oak tree can also be considered invasive to some extent as the roots can go a long way into the soil.

In addition, oak trees’ roots have the potential to unroll beneath the surface of the soil for about 200 feet.

Moreover, this is the very reason why oak trees’ invasive nature causes severe damage to your pool area, structures, pavement, sidewalks, and so on.

Such roots of the oak tree can even cause damage to waterlines or sewer lines that are grounded under the soil.

In addition, oak trees also have different types of root types such as lateral root and taproot. Depending on these varying types of roots, the depth these roots can cover will also vary.

How Deep Are Oak tree Roots?

Oak tree roots are not known for deep roots rather they are known for their long-spread roots. Oak trees’ roots can extend up to 75 to 250 feet and when it comes to the depth of oak tree roots, they are shallow.

Accordingly, they have 18 inches depth from the top layer of the soil. Another fact about the oak tree roots system is that its roots move outwards than downwards. 

How big are Oak tree roots?

Although the oak tree’s root system is shallower, overall, the roots can get pretty long. Moreover, the roots of an oak tree can be huge that they can even grow three to seven times wider than the whole circumference of the tree’s crown.

In addition, this is why the greatness of the oak tree leads to the invasive and multiplying nature that can be disruptive sometimes.

What type of roots do oak trees have?

It is really important to be aware of the amazing root system of oak trees before intending to plant one or before contemplating putting any kind of foundation near an oak tree.

Tap Roots:

When the oak tree is in its germination process, it tends to grow a taproot from the very trunk of the oak tree.

Accordingly, this taproot grows deep and plans out the base root system for the oak tree before there are any signs of real sprouting.

The taproot can be 1 foot long and it is the most fundamental root system in the initial year of the oak tree’s life as it brings all the nourishment, minerals, and moisture for the development of the oak tree. 

Lateral Roots:

After taproot brings all the moisture and nutrients to the oak tree itself, it also branches out other roots called lateral roots.

Additionally, the lateral roots can go deep into the soil at about 18 inches and can spread for a long circumference of about 90 feet.

In the case of the length of the lateral roots, the length of these roots can be as long as two to three feet.

In addition, with the growing of lateral root and taproot, a very complex root mass starts to make itself apparent.

Root Hairs and Singular Root System:

Root hairs are also a part of the oak tree’s root system. Accordingly, root hairs that grow out of the smaller roots are really important in bringing moisture, nutrients, minerals, and so on for the growth of the oak tree.

Moreover, oak trees have a root system that is considered singular. However, when two oak trees are placed in similar circumferences, they can even share a root system which makes oak trees’ root system very unique.

Are Oak tree Roots Invasive?

Oak tree roots are invasive because they spread horizontally for hundreds of miles.

In addition, the invasive nature of oak tree roots can be damaging as well.

Accordingly, this is because when oak tree roots spread and multiply along the circumference of the oak tree itself, it grows into pavements, structures, and foundations.

These invasions can be very damaging and concerning therefore, while planting your oak tree, you need to be aware of leaving at least 20 feet of space from the oak tree.

Can Oak tree roots damage foundation or pipes?

Having an oak tree in your backyard is like a statement piece that provides shadow, purifies the air, beautifies the surrounding area, and boosts up the oxygen level of the surrounding environment.

However, having a mighty oak tree also comes with a lot of negative consequences. One of the most terrifying consequences of having an oak tree is related to the damage oak trees can do to foundations and pipes.

Oak tree’s roots are shallower than deep but oak tree’s root systems spread a lot which can obstruct a lot of foundations, pavements, water lines, fences, and so on.

Moreover, the oak tree’s root system grows pretty quickly and it can cause cracks and tear in the foundation.

Moreover, if the situation keeps getting worse, you have to install root barriers to stop the growth of the roots that are invasive to your home’s foundation or the pipes.

In addition, you can also particularly cut down the roots of the oak tree that are offending or disrupting the coherence or you can consult an arborist.

Do Oak tree spread or multiply?

It is no surprise that oak trees spread and multiply. Oak trees usually have the potential to grow from the soil to the tip of the roots at about 18 inches deep.

In addition, it doesn’t mean that oak trees have a more superficial spread rather they grow seven times wider than the circumference of the tree’s crown.

Therefore, oak trees multiplying or spreading issues can be a bit troublesome especially when root systems of oak trees get hold of foundations or structures which can seriously damage the whole integrity of any foundations.

Oak trees’ root system is an integral part of their well-being. Accordingly, oak trees’ roots can spread up to hundreds of miles. 

Moreover, it is the root system that grows firstly more intensively from the acorns than the leaves.

It is the taproot that grows more horizontally at first as a base root and then grows vertically alone with other lateral roots.

As a rough estimate, oak tree roots can spread three or seven times larger or wider than the crown of the oak tree itself.

Final Thoughts

Nothing can beat the effectiveness of having an oak tree in your yard. However, oak trees can be invasive, disrupting any foundation, structures, and fences in the proximity. This happens because oak trees’ root system consists of a system that can spread for many miles.

Sharing is caring!