- Feb 2, 2014
- Reaction score
- Tarpley Tx
- Hardiness Zone
Let's define defunct and at what time period this happens. Does defunct mean useless? Lifeless? Inoperative? Unusable? Non functioning? These bottom roots are functional up to and until the top roots are established. Having said this the original question was what to do with leggy tomatoes, plant them on their side or deep. I say it doesn't make any difference, just an individuals preference and his soil and climate. Is what you are saying do not do either and plant as normal? We both agree that a plant can grow roots anywhere along its stem and the only variable factor as to depth or planting on its side is the length of the stem. We also agree that roots do not grow between the top and the bottom. Somehow we have gone off on a tangent here. Just what are we discussing here? I think it is about the bottom roots loosing their usefulness after being buried deeply. I say that up to the time we pull the plant out of the ground the lower roots still have a function and are not useless, otherwise they would die and just leave the top roots to take over everything.I agree. I agree entirely. I agree so much because, to some extent, you're making my point.
Modern hybrids are still either bushes or vines, & still act in the same way.
So we are agreed that tomatoes can make roots anywhere along the stem if it is advantageous, but won't bother if it's not? You wrote, "Why waste the effort?"
In my view, this shows that the buried roots are defunct, as the tomato:
1) Cannot know that being buried deeper is a possibility.
2) Will make roots only in the top couple of inches, no matter how deep it is planted.
So if you bury a tomato, say 9 inches deeper than originally, then there will be a 7 inch gap between the new and the original surface roots, which will be 9-11 inches underground.
If, however, you were to bury your tomatoes 18 inches deeper than originally, (unlikely, but possible) it would still only grow roots in the top couple of inches, and leave a 16 inch gap to the original roots. IT WOULD NOT GROW A THIRD SET 9-11 INCHES UNDERGROUND, even though it could.
It logically follows that surface roots at 9-11 inches underground are useless, or it would. You wrote, "Why waste the effort."
Thus, by burying tomatoes deeper, it is you who is wasting the effort, by making the original roots useless and forcing the plant to grow a new set.
It also has a tap root in order to suck up water and nutrients from depth.