Robert Kourik, 2008, 165 pp.
Compost and Soil Fertility,
Subtitled “change your gardening habits to help roots thrive,” This book is filled with practical tips for gardeners that are geared toward making the soil a better environment for roots. Along the way, Kourik necessarily covers composting, weed control, watering, no-till vegetable gardening, planting, and much more.
Roots Demystified is the only book in print for gardeners with such an extensive variety of root illustrations. There are twenty-five meticulous drawings produced by horticultural researchers who actually dug, troweled, dusted, mapped, and drew their way through entire growing root systems, down to the tiniest root. The resulting illustrations are a revelation of the beauty contained in the actual patterns, and habits of rooting plants. Guidelines also provide a home gardener with tips for the practical use of the new information.
In support of the drawings and the theme, the book includes a mountain of trivia, to wit:
-Half or more of the total mass of many trees is below ground;
-Growing root tips (caps) produce their own lubricant that helps them force their way through the soil;
-About 90 percent of a tree's roots typically grow in the top 18 inches of soil, and in some forest trees, half of that grows in the leaf litter above the soil surface (so keep your trees well mulched);
-Some trees send roots down 200 feet, and out many times the radius of the tree's canopy.
The vegetable root drawings were done by Dr. Weaver in the 1930s in Nebraska who actually dug, troweled, dusted, mapped, and drew his way through entire growing root systems, down to the tiniest root. I often wonder if he was married and who could put up with such a compulsive guy. No idea.
Did you know?
- About 90% of a tree's roots are to be found in the top 18 inches of the soil…
- At the end of its first year's growth, an apple tree can incorporate as many as 17,000,000 root hairs with a total length of well over a mile!...
- The glorious magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), can grow roots 3.77 times wider than the dripline…
- A measly turnip can produce roots that explore 100 cubic feet of soil (enough "dirt" to fill 20-25 wheelbarrows), and the roots of the lowly lima-bean bush as much as 200 to 225 cubic feet.
APPROX WEIGHT: 1.15 lbs.