Will you agree that root structure has major impact on the yield?
A study carried out by Scientist show that doubling the container size nearly increased plant growth by 40 percent. (Source)
Not just healthy foliage and stems, you must even care about roots to have better yield.
Knowing how deep cucumber roots grow will help you to plan the container accordingly.
Cucumber plants with shallow roots will eventually fail to produce good yield. Plant gets its nutrients and water from soil through roots. Deep roots are better at holding the plant strong compared to shallow roots.
Watering your cucumber plant at right time (growing season) is very important to allow the roots to grow deep.
A healthy cucumber plant will have one taproot (main root) that goes deep up-to 3 to 4 feet. It will also have branch roots that spread about 2 feet in diameter below the surface of the soil.
The main root of cucumber plant grows deep up-to 48 inches or 4 feet to absorb nutrients and trace minerals from the soil.
Also Read: How long does cucumber plant take to grow?
Cucumber Root’s Structure
A study states that there are few nutritional elements that can be found in deep soil, which are easily untaken by deep roots.
Cucumber plant as mentioned develops taproot right from its germination. This root along with branch roots help the plant to uptake much needed nutrients, water and trace minerals that will eventually help to thrive plant growth.
You can grow cucumber in a container and in backyard.
But, while choosing container or pot you must make sure the size is at-least 5 gallons. You know, with 4 feet growing taproot and other branch roots that spread within the 2 feet diameter, your pot must have enough space to build cucumber root structure.
Because of this root structure it is often difficult o transplant cucumber plant successfully.
Below are few interesting queries that you’d like to know as a cucumber gardener.
How Deep Do Cucumber Roots Grow?
Let me repeat this sentence, for those who skipped above highlighted lines.
Cucumber plant has single taproot that start growing right from germination process and reaches up-to 4 feet deep in the soil. Along with this root, cucumber also has many branch roots that grow horizontally up-to 2 feet long.
In some cases these shallow branch roots can grow up-to 6 feet just below the surface of the top soil.
There are studies that back how root structure will help your plant produce good yield.
In other words, thick long root of cucumber plant can affectively uptake nutrients and water from deep layers of the soil. Thus, absorbing nutrients will obviously increase plant growth and fruits.
How can knowing the root depth of cucumber plant will help you as a gardener?
Are you’re planning to grow heavy feeders plants in your raised beds or containers? Then you must know about the plant’s root structure how deep they grow and how wide they spread.
In case, you’re installing raised beds on concrete, then plant with deep roots like cucumber won’t be able to thrive and produce good yield.
Likewise, a small container won’t be spacious for roots to grow. Thus, the plant will experience yellow leaves, stunted growth with no yield.
Optimal height of raised beds must be 18-24 inches, assuming that your beds are installed on open ground. So, the roots can sink easily into sub soil.
Raised beds have their share of benefits with lower weeds and pests. Apart from this, raised beds allow better drainage for plants like cucumbers. With raised beds, you don’t have to worry about tilling soil every season.
Similarly, container gardening has its share of benefits.
But, if you’re unaware of the root growth you may not be able to grab these benefits.
Check this out: What not to plant with cucumbers?
Root bound – Signs
By now, you know that cucumber plant roots need at-least 5 gallons of pot. When you try to grow them in a smaller container for your own reasons, then roots starts to “bound”.
Apart from container, even if you’re growing outside in garden, barriers like wall, rock and pipe lines may result in root bound.
Yellow or brown leaves, stunted growth and wilting are few symptoms of root bound. To make sure you can see through drainage hole, the roots pop out of the hole.
This is why you must know how deep cucumber plant roots grow before planting.
Note: Another important benefit of knowing root depth is, you can group similar plants in your raised beds for hydrozoning. (This is a practice to grow similar plants together, all shallow plants will go in one raised bed and deep rooted plant that needs more water will go in another bed.)
Is it just about how deep or how wide is important?
Both are equally important.
For instance, cucumber plant grow single taproot that reaches up-to 3-4 feet depth. While it’s other roots grow under surface of the soil up-to 2 feet.
So, choosing container or raised beds plays vital role in growing successful cucumber plant. Selecting wrong container will fail you at the time of harvest.
Also Read: Are Cucumbers Self-Pollinating?
How far apart should I plant my cucumber plants?
Spacing, this is important to have disease resistant and good yield plants.
If you’re sowing seeds, then maintain space of 10-12 inches between seeds and the space between rows must be 24 inches apart.
You can increase more, if you’d like to take a walk between rows.
Use of trellis is important to grow cucumber vines. This will save your fruits from rotting.
Soil, water, container and sunlight requirements of cucumber plant
How much soil do you need to grow cucumber plant?
That depends on how deep their roots grow.
Cucumber plants require 48 inches of soil space to grow and produce good harvest.
And the soil must be fertile, drain well and also able to lock moisture.
Watering frequency plays vital role in successful growth of roots. Growing seasons allows the plant to grow robustly; you must ensure that you water the plant in growing season.
Along with water and soil, sunlight is an essential factor for cucumber plants. Cucumber plant needs about 8 hours of sunlight to grow its foliage and root system.
Fertilizing your cucumber plants with balanced NPK ratio will allow it to grow foliage, stem, strengthen root system, and produce blossoms & fruits.
Most gardeners don’t pay attention towards the root system of a plant. It’s not always foliage and stem that is important. Even root has major role in producing bountiful of harvest.
Knowing how deep do cucumber plants root grow into the soil will help you prepare the container or raise bed accordingly. Well drained soil that easily drains excess water and at the same time provide needed moisture to the cucumber plant will strengthen the root system.
Cucumber plant root (taproot) grows 3-4 feet deep and it’s branch roots grow over the space of 2 feet in diameter below the surface of the soil.
Hope this write-up is informative enough for you to start your cucumber garden.