The rooting habit of pinyon is characterized by both lateral and vertical root systems (67), but roots of pinyons less than 3 m (10 ft) tall have been traced to depths 6.4 m (21 ft) in underlying rock (25). Taproots and some laterals that penetrate downward, however, grow horizontally when they encounter an impenetrable horizon or bedrock. Laterals develop at a depth of about 15 to 41 cm (6 to 16 in) and can exceed the crown radius by a factor of two or more. Taproot growth of seedlings is rapid, averaging 17 to 27 cm (7 to 11 in) in length for 1-year-old seedlings (35). The extensive root system and relatively rapid rate of root elongation, especially of young seedlings, enhance the ability of pinyon to survive under and environments.
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