Gardening Books - Roots Demystified

Change your gardening habits to help roots thrive

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Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive is a clearly written and copiously illustrated book that explains how to make any plant flourish, using methods based on the knowledge of how roots actually grow. It explores the subterranean areas of every gardener’s world, revealing the complex and secret lives of roots and root systems, debunking outworn gardening myths, and providing down-to-earth advice on root-efficient planting and cultivation methods.

The roots uncovered and demystified in this lively book include those of lawns, prairies, shrubs, vegetables, fruit trees, and native and ornamental trees. Each of these divisions abounds with practical root-based tips; following Kourik’s advice is a surefire way to produce better-looking lawns, more abundant vegetables, more productive fruit trees, and sturdier trees and shrubs. Roots Demystified also describes several ways to garden without turning the soil—a plus for aging baby-boomers—and explains why roots thrive when not mangled by a rototiller or shovel.

A highlight of the book is its collection of 25 meticulous scale drawings produced in the early 20th century by horticultural researchers who actually dug, troweled, dusted, mapped and drew their way through entire growing root systems, down to the tiniest root hair. The resulting illustrations are at once miracles of precision, a tribute to scholarly obsession, and a revelation of the beauty contained in the patterns and habits of rooting plants. These drawings are amplified throughout the book by helpful illustrations and instructive diagrams. Roots Demystified is the first and only gardening book in print devoted to such an extensive number of illustrations of garden and orchard roots.

Take a look at some of the inside pages:

This beautiful diagram re-creates the pattern (seen from above) of corn roots growing in the top six inches of soil.
From Root Development of Vegetable Crops, by John Weaver & William Bruner. 1927. Pages 30-31.

 

Click on a Link to View Pages in PDF format:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Fruit Tree Roots

Width of Roots

Alfalfa and peach roots

Loam soil vs. clay soil and water

Surface cultivation yields


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Copyright 2012 Robert Kourik, TerraInformaTM ~ 707.874.2606

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