Shallow rooted plants have specific needs and it’s important to take these into consideration when planting them. Generally, a plant is considered shallow rooted if its root system is contained within a few inches of the base stem or trunk. Some common shallow rooted plants include certain perennials and annuals, turf grass, and the popular rhododendrons. Often times, shallow rooted plants are used as groundcover and to hide bulky equipment such as septic tanks.
One of the main considerations should be location. Shallow rooted plants do not handle wind or frost well, so it is important to not plant them in any area where they are susceptible to wind damage or extreme cold temperatures. Wind is an important factor in the health of a shallow rooted plant so you should water your plants in the morning, rather than later in the day when the winds pick up.
Properly taking care of the roots of a plant is imperative to keeping it healthy. One of the top tips for planting your shallow rooted plant is to water them frequently, but lightly. They do not do well with deep soakings. Also, if you’re growing your plant in a pot, make sure you not only water your plant in the center, but the sides of the pot as well, because shallow roots also grow on the sides. The key is to remember that you’re watering the roots, not the soil.
Another good tip for planting shallow rooted plants is to apply a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content after aerating the lawn or soil. This will encourage deeper rooting.
Additionally, the soil should be well drained to ensure healthy plant development. Sub-irrigation, watering from the bottom-up, is also a great idea for shallow-rooted plants. This way, the sides of the roots at the bottom of the plant also get water.