Do Pine Trees Have Deep Roots?

Pine trees have some of the deepest taproots in the tree world, generally reaching between 3 to 6 ft deep. A Pine Tree’s taproot is the deepest part of its root system.

You might have seen various images or designs of trees in which they are shown with the root system below them reaching down at a distance equal to the tree’s height. But it might surprise you to learn that this is not at all accurate and in fact 95% of all plant roots are within 4 to 6 inches of the surface.

This is where oxygen is available and where the root system can access water and other nutrients that a plant needs to survive. Deep roots are mainly for support.

What Kind of Root System Do Pine Trees Have?

Pine Trees use a taproot system to grow. A seedling forms a primary root (the taproot) and from there branches out into secondary roots, which grow laterally. The taproot is the largest root in a tree’s root system, growing vertically straight down from the tree’s trunk. At the ground surface, the taproot is the same width as the tree trunk, and from there it narrows as it grows downward.

Pine Trees’ root systems vary in structure based on their species and soil type. The primary root’s purpose is to keep the tree stable, while the secondary root’s function is to support the above-ground part of the tree and extract water and nutrients from the earth.

There are two types of roots inherent to Pine Trees: fine roots and coarse roots.

How Deep Are the Roots of a Pine Tree?

fallen pine tree The depth that the roots of a Pine Tree reach will depend primarily on the environment in which the tree is growing, as well as on the species of Pine Tree. Most Pine Tree root systems extend down to about 3 to 6 ft, but can be deeper in dry, sandy soils. If water is more easily available, then the roots won’t have to reach as far. Pine trees prefer soils that are sandy, silted or loamy.

Roots can’t grow where there is no oxygen, so once the taproot reaches a depth with little to no oxygen, it can’t go any deeper. However, a Pine Tree’s root system can extend away from the tree to a distance twice the height of the tree.

Do Pine Trees Fall Easily?

While out hiking you might have encountered Pine Trees that have fallen over. Pine Trees are particularly susceptible to the wind because they are often the tallest trees in the forest – it’s not unusual for them to exceed a height of 100 ft.

Some of the reasons that Pine Trees fall over are weakened root systems, including decay of wood, injuries to tree roots, and shallow root systems. In sheltered gardens, this shouldn’t be such a problem.

Because of their deep taproots, Pine Trees are relatively sturdy. However, their wind-resistant abilities will be determined by the ground they are growing in and how they are treated. In this sense, it is best to leave roots undisturbed so that they are able to provide the water and nutrients that keep the tree healthy.

Why Do Pine Tree Roots Grow Above Ground?

Pine Tree roots don’t naturally grow above ground. The reason why you might see Pine Tree roots above ground is that the soil around the base of the tree has eroded. Sandy soils, in which Pine Trees are often found growing, are especially prone to being washed away.

Pines grow best in a forest setting, not as standalone trees. The web of their roots under the surface area of the forest helps to maintain the soil structure and prevent erosion.

Standalone trees in your garden can be more vulnerable to erosion, especially if they are grown in sandy soil, which is what Pines are generally best suited to. Given that sandy soil is prone to be washed away in heavy rains, this can expose the Pine Tree’s roots.

Furthermore, if during gardening activities you disturb the soil at the Pine’s base, it can easily damage the root system and start the deterioration process leading to further exposure of the roots and making it seem as if they are growing above ground.

Can You Remove Pine Tree Roots That Are Above Ground?

Tree rootsIf there are areas in your garden or lawn that have been intruded on by Pine Tree roots, you might feel it necessary to remove them. However, it is good to bear in mind that removing roots can impact a Pine Tree’s health and also decrease its stability, leading to more problems in the future.

If you are convinced that removing some roots is the best option for your lawn then there are several things you should be aware of. You should avoid pruning roots more than 2 inches wide. If large roots are removed, the tree may not be able to get enough nutrients and water.

Don’t remove roots close or fused to the trunk since these are critical to the tree’s structure. Often, removing tree roots is not enough to make a yard level again. In some cases, porous material, like a combination of sand and compost, can be top dressed to level the area so it can then be seeded with grass and maintained without having to cut back a significant quantity of tree roots.

Will Pine Tree Roots Grow Back?

Pine Trees grow new soft roots every year. However, if the Pine has coarse roots (as opposed to fine roots), it will not recover from harsh pruning. Pine Trees themselves, if cut down, will not recover and sprout new growth, as other trees are known to do.

Are Pine Trees Good to Have Around the House?

Pine Trees can provide attractive ornamentation in the garden and their pines and sap can also be used to make things that are beneficial to our health. These include pine tea and pine sap incense.

Pine Trees can also provide great shade for your lawn. However, pine needles can be a bit of a nuisance and will need to be raked up or removed with a leaf blower every now and then.

Do Pine Trees Cause Foundation Problems?

Big roots damaging houseThe main supporting root of the Pine Tree is the taproot, and this grows straight down so it will not be a problem for building foundations. The secondary roots, which grow laterally, are the ones more likely to intrude.

The roots will not be powerful enough to force their way into a building’s foundations, but if there is a crack already present, Pine Tree roots can work their way inside and widen it. However, these can be dealt with relatively easily.

How Do I Keep Pine Tree Roots From Growing Under My House?

The best way to prevent Pine Tree roots from growing under your house is to excavate a deep trench along your foundation and cut any tree roots you find. Install root barriers to prevent trees from sending roots under your house.

There are various forms of root barriers. These include physical barriers, such as steel, copper, fabric or concrete, and chemical barriers. As a last resort, it might be necessary to remove the tree entirely.


The depth that a Pine Tree root will grow depends on the soil it is growing in and the amount of water available in its environment. Pine Trees use a taproot system to grow – the taproot is the primary root that grows down vertically and from this the secondary roots grow horizontally.

Generally, the taproot of Pine Trees will reach 3-6 ft deep. This of course depends upon the size and age of the tree, as well as which species of Pine it is.