Image Source - TREES, ASSOCIATES, and SHIGO (2 CD set).

Non-Woody Roots  - Non-woody roots are the roots that facilitate the absorption of essential elements dissolved in water.  There are two basic types of roots.  Woody and non-woody.  Non-woody having less lignin and primarily are found in the upper four inches of the soil.  They are often found  within the later ecological stages of trees, coarse woody debris (CWD) or sometimes called “soil-wood”.  I have seen non-woody roots inside symplast containing, standing, healthy, hollow trunks.  Non-woody roots are organs that absorb water and elements essential for growth. The elements are dissolved in water prior absorption.  Further, there are two types of structures that form on or in non-woody roots: root hairs and mycorrhizae.  Non-woody roots have very little lignin in cell walls.  Non-woody roots live for a short time; from a few weeks to a year.  Non-woody roots shed dying and dead root hairs and epidermal cells.  The shed cells are digested by soil microorganisms.  They recycle elements essential for life.  Non-woody roots are organs that absorb free water and elements dissolved in it from the soil.  Non-woody roots with root hairs are organs that grow within days when water, temperate, and soluble essential elements are at optimum levels.  Root hairs "come fast" and "go fast".  They die and are shed after a few weeks.  A root hair is the extension of a single epidermal cell.   Non-woody absorbing roots have very little lignin and no corky outer bark.  Woody roots have lots of lignin and a corky outer bark.  Non-woody roots do grow in winter in non-frozen soils, and may even grow in non-frozen soils below frozen soils.  Trees only absorb water, when non-woody roots are growing.  Shedding of non-woody roots adds a great amount of carbon to soils.  Mycorrhizae form when some fungi infect young, emerging non-woody roots.  The mycorrhizae are organs made up of tree and fungus tissues.  The organs facilitate the absorption of phosphates, manganese, copper, and zinc.

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See “Woody Roots

See Troubles in the Rhizosphere, 1996

See Trees and Associates in Winter

See "Root Hairs"

See "Mycorrhizae"

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