Secondary Roots on Plants

Secondary Roots Pumpkin Vine

Promoting Secondary Plant Roots on Vining Plants

You’ve got secondary roots growing off the vines in your garden. You wonder…. is this a good thing? …. indeed it is!

The definition these are any plant root growth not at the stump or tap root, the place where the main vine of the plant comes out of the ground.

Secondary roots are a good, make that a GREAT thing to have. They anchor vines, helping to protect them from high winds. They nourish the plant and fruit. In some cases, they even take over feeding and nourishing your plant, if the vine is separated from the main roots.

Secondary root growth is common in vining plants. This includes pumpkins, watermelon, squash, and cucumbers. Other plants, like tomatoes, can develop these roots. They form along the vines where the leaf stem meets the vine. They are white, whitish, or light beige. Most form from the bottom of the vine. Some will form from the top, and curl over the vine and down into the soil.

Promoting Secondary Root Growth

Gardeners should promote secondary root growth. It’s normal and healthy. They pick up a significant amount of nutrients. And the vines act as a pipeline delivering this extra boost to the fruits growing on the vine.  As a result, it can double the size of your fruit!

Promoting root growth is easy. This is done by covering the vine with a little soil. The entire vine can be covered. Or just cover the area where the leaf stems meet the vine. Cover vines with about an inch of rich garden soil. Keep the area well-watered, and these new roots will soon be feeding your plants, putting on pounds to your fruit.

Apply fertilizers to the secondary roots, just as you would to the main taproot of the plant.

Secondary Roots Versus Tendrils

As discussed above, secondary roots grow into the soil. They help to feed the plant and anchor it against high winds. Tendrils are common on vining plants. They do not grow into the ground. However, the main function of these tendrils is to anchor the plant, attaching themselves to objects on the ground, along fences, and even attaching themselves to other plants.

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