How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Tree not planted properly
A tree that has not been properly planted

Provide for roots

Healthy roots are vital to plant survival.  Water, nutrients, and oxygen are absorbed by root tips and are essential for growth.  Roots eliminate waste carbon dioxide, store food, reduce erosion, produce compounds essential to the plant, and support the plant structure above the ground.

Roots are often neglected because they grow underground and are not seen.  Provide them with proper soil conditions and adequate space.  Make sure large trees are planted away from buildings to reduce damage to foundations.  Examine the surrounding soil for barriers to root growth before planting.  After the first few years of growth, roots of healthy plants extend well beyond the canopy or drip line of the plant; these horizontally growing or lateral roots often extend for a distance equivalent to two to three times the diameter of the drip line.  Most roots will be found in the upper 2 feet of soil. 

Breaking up hardpans or compacted soils deeper than 3 feet before planting can improve plant growth by increasing drainage and facilitating development for some species of sinker roots, which grow near the trunk and deep into the soil.  Breaking up hardpan is especially important in arid areas, where hard crusts often form near the soil surface.  Mulches help reduce surface compaction that can retard root growth.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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