Actually, almost all tree roots are within the top three feet of the soil! Rather than grow down, tree roots grow out. If you imagine a tall tree whose canopy (all the leaves and branches) is about 40 feet across, the roots will only go about 3 feet deep, but will span across sixty feet. The roots grow outward faster than the leaves and branches do.
There are 2 good reasons for this. 1) growing roots outwards rather than downwards allows the tree to soak up more water from the surface when it rains. It increases the surface area that the tree is able to pick up water. 2) Growing outwards like this provides a good anchor for the tree, stabilizing it except in cases of outrageously extreme wind or rain.
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