I'm going to be using this section for posting excerpts from my forthcoming book, "Secret Voices From the Forest: Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees," coming out who knows when. This week is a bit from the description section about the Coastal Redwood, the tallest species of tree in the world, located ONLY in a narrow strip along the NW coast of North America–470 miles long by 50 miles wide.
"Most redwoods grow more successfully from sprouts [than seed], which grow around the circumference of the tree trunk. Shortly after sprouting, each sprout will develop its own root system, with the dominant sprouts forming a ring of trees around the parent root crown or stump. Sprouts can achieve heights 8 feet in a single growing season. When the parent tree dies, a new generation of trees rise, reaching 65 feet tall in 20 years. This ring of trees is called a "fairy ring".
"Amazingly, [Coastal Redwoods] have no taproots. Instead, their root system is composed of shallow, wide-spreading lateral roots that extend over one hundred feet from the base, intertwining with the roots of other redwoods. When a tree is inundated with silt from flooding, and the roots are buried under more soil, the tree adapts by growing new roots on top of the old, which then become anchors against the wind."