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Pine Tree Root System – Are Pine Tree Roots Invasive?

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Pine trees are one of the top commercially important trees, but it also has a place in landscaping. But before you choose to plant one, you must select the suitable species and location depending on the soil type and space. 

There are many things you can know about pine trees. The abstract below will explain the pine trees’ root system and if they are invasive.

Pine tree root system

Pine tree root system can be invasive if any structure or tree is in the radius of its root system. But usually, it can not damage any foundation. The size of the pine tree root system can vary depending on the species, but generally, the root reaches seven times the diameter of a mature pine tree. 

There are 126 species of pine trees, and they can have many different traits. Some species are larger than others and prone to become invasive if you have one in your house.

Let’s understand the root system of the pine tree, so you can get a clear idea about how pine trees can become problematic and what ways to avoid the problems.

The pine tree root is prone to become invasive, but that is true for all the other trees. Trees need to grow their roots and expand the root system as far as possible as it makes them stable and keeps them safe in harsh conditions. 

The growth of roots depends on many other factors. Firstly the species. Larger species of pine trees have large and expansive roots. When they grow big large roots, that may look like the tree is being invasive, but the tree is just developing its root system.

The oxygen level of the soil has effects on root development. Roots need oxygen to grow, and the oxygen level in the soil is highest in the upper portion of the ground. So, trees can grow long fine roots without any issue. But trees can not go as deep as they want. 

After a certain distance, trees can not go deeper because of the low oxygen level of the soil.

Soil texture also controls how long the root system will grow. In clay soil, the roots do not overgrow. As clay has smaller particles, it’s harder for the trees to grow roots. 

However, the water holding capacity of the clay soil is higher, and clay soil has more strength to hold a tree tight. So trees also do not need to grow long roots for strength and water.

On the other hand, trees can grow long roots in sandy soil. They need to go deeper and broader to get the necessary water from the ground, and extended deep roots are also required for the trees to get structural strength. 

Check out some of the popular pine species and their root system.

Pencil pine tree: 

Pencil pine trees grow 30 to 60 feet, and their roots can become invasive if planted near contractions.

White pine tree: 

White pine trees grow 50-80 feet, and they can have a massive root system.

Norfolk pine tree: 

Norfolk pine trees can grow up to 200 feet in the wild.

Italian pine tree: 

Italian pine trees can grow 40-80 feet, unsuitable for small lawn landscapes.

Ponderosa pine tree: 

Ponderosa pine trees can grow up to 200 feet long in the wild.

Mondell pine tree: 

Mondell pine trees can grow 30-40 feet, and the roots can be invasive sometimes.

Canary island pine tree: 

Canary island pine trees can grow 70-80 feet and are unsuitable for planting near structures.

Loblolly pine tree: 

Loblolly pine trees can grow 60-90 feet and can be invasive.

Cypress pine tree: 

Cypress pine trees can be 70-80 feet tall and invasive as they need large spaces.

Longleaf pine tree: 

Longleaf pine trees can grow up to 120 feet and are unsuitable for landscapes.

Does Pine tree have deep roots?

Pine trees have deep roots, and they also have horizontal roots that are not so deep. Deep roots are called coarse roots, and horizontal roots are called fine roots. 

Pine tree roots can grow as deep as they find oxygen. Or sometimes they can not grow because of bedrock. But the deep roots do not cause any issues to the surrounding environment. 

The fine roots can come out of the ground and sometimes deal damage to sideways or similar things.

How Deep Are Pine tree Roots? 

Pine trees grow their roots quite deep. But the roots need to stop growing deeper when they reach a point where there is no oxygen in the soil. Roots can not grow without the presence of oxygen.  

The depth of the root also depends on the type of the pine tree species. More giant trees need to grow deeper to get structural strength and the necessary water source.

Soil type also has effects on the root system of pine trees. In the sandy soil, oxygen can reach deeper into the ground so the roots can grow deeper.

Are pine tree roots shallow or deep?

Pine trees have both shallow and deep roots, which are essential for the trees and have slightly different roles. Deep roots absorb deep water, saving the tree in times of drought. 

The upper portion of the soil is rich in available nutrients and oxygen. So pine trees also grow a shallow root system that helps them absorb them.

What kind of root system does a pine tree have?

There are two types of root systems pine trees have. They are,

Coarse roots:

Coarse roots go deep into the soil. They provide structural strength and collect water nutrients from deep in the ground. It becomes a lifesaver in times of drought.

Fine roots:

Fine roots grow in the upper portion of the soil, approximately 6-12  inches beneath the ground. This type of root system can reach as far as 28 feet. It absorbs the nutrients and water from the upper portion of the ground.

How far do the roots go on a pine tree?

Pine tree roots can grow seven times the tree’s diameter, and some sources also say the roots of the pine trees can grow two times the tree’s height. That’s why small species of pine trees are suitable for landscaping.

Pine tree roots may be growing long and wide, but they do not cause damage to buildings and foundations. But the thin concrete walkways can get damaged by the pine trees.

How big are Pine tree roots?

Pine tree roots can be 4 to 75 feet, depending on species and location. Pine roots can grow very deep and wide in the mountains and sandy soil. More giant pine trees are not suitable for landscaping as they need large spaces.

Some dwarf species of pine do not grow as large as regular pines. You can find them in your local nursery.

Are Pine tree Roots Invasive?

Pine tree roots can be invasive, especially the larger species of pines. That’s why it is essential to choose the correct species of pine trees and plant them in the right place.

However, the pine roots do not damage the concrete foundations as they do not need to go through the concrete, although if there is a water source or crack in the foundation, they may deal some damage.

Can Pine tree roots damage foundation or pipes?

Usually, pine tree roots do not damage the foundation, but the foundation can hurt the natural growth of the pine tree. The roots can damage the pipes if the pipe is in the wrong place or has a leak. 

The roots will use a leaking pipe as their water source, which may damage the pipe more. You can sometimes cut a small portion of the root. But do not cut larger roots as that can damage the tree.

Do Pine tree spread or multiply?

Pine trees reproduce with the cones that hold the seed. But the roots do not help them to spread or multiply. The roots store food, absorb water and nutrients and provide strength.

Early to mid-spring is the best time to plant a pine tree. Pine trees need full sunlight to partial shade to grow.

Final Thoughts 

Pine trees have deep and wide root systems, which can be invasive if planted in the wrong places. They do not harm concrete structures but can be problematic for thin walkways, water pipes or similar objects. You can cut some of the nonmajor roots but not more than 25%.

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