Plants are extremely important to our environment and global ecosystem. Without plants, our excess carbon dioxide would build up and there would be no available oxygen from the lack of production of it. Plants also absorb water and nutrients from the earth and surroundings. What is not well known is what part of plants carries out this job, as well as what types there are, how they develop, and how this makes transplanting trickier.
Roots are the part of plants found primarily underground, though large parts of roots may be found partially unearthed in larger plants. The root of the plant is responsible for "feeding" it, that is, absorbing nutrients and vitamins, as well as water, into the tree, where it is carried to other parts by the stem. Roots are also responsible for keeping the plant firmly in the ground, also fittingly called "rooting" it. The roots of plants are responsible for keeping mud slides and erosion at bay.
Though other processes and occurrences happen within a plant, the idea that other parts of the plant absorb water is a misconception. Though invariably water will wet the plant, this water only permeates in minute amounts. Leaves, flowers, and stems of plants do not carry out the function of absorption. In the leaves, photosynthesis occurs. And the stem is responsible for transporting nutrients to all parts of the plant. Each part plays its own role.
Types of Roots
The two types of root systems that are found in plants are called taproot and fibrous root systems. Taproot systems contain one major branch of root with few, not many, smaller branching root fibers. Examples of this type of root include carrots and parsnips. Fibrous root systems are fittingly named because instead of one large root, the roots of these plants are many smaller root fibers that are branched out. Examples of this type include grass, beans, and several types of trees.
The most important thing to consider when growing plants is how the roots are developing. Plants with stunted root development may be unhealthier than those with healthy and vital root development. Depending on the plant, roots are often found within the first foot of soil, though the largest roots used to absorb water may be found in the first 6 inches or so. Also often, with the exception of carrots and parsnips, etc., root systems often spread beyond the span of the top part of the plant. If, for instance, a bean plant has a span of a foot and a half of leaves and beans, the roots of that plant may reach as far as three feet in span.
When considering transplanting a plant to a different location, it is important to consider the root type. If, for instance, you have a tree that happens to be a taproot root system, transplantation will be difficult, depending on the age of the tree, because getting one root out is often extremely harder than several smaller roots. Those plants with fibrous root systems, however, often handle transplantation well because the loss of a few smaller roots may not affect it as much.