Discover the truth about roots

Dumbbell Routines and Exercises

Dumbbell Exercises and Lifting Routines

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The first task is to understand what you'll be watering. You may be surprised to find that the root systems of plants aren't where your junior-high science teacher said they were. You may remember a lecture about the roots of a tree: The teacher may have said that the roots go about as deep into the ground as the tree is tall and that they extend out about as far as the tree canopy is wide. My teacher drew a dumbbell-shaped tree on the blackboard, complete with a tidily symmetrical root system. At the time I was pretty impressed, but it turns out she made it all up.

As you see in Figure 9-1, the roots of a tree (and for that matter, the roots of a shrub or perennial) extend much farther than the canopy, and they're mostly within the top 18 inches of soil. There are exceptions to this rule, of course; some trees actually do the dumbbell thing, and unusual soil or weather conditions can send roots down rather than out. But overall, Figure 9-1 shows the way things happen underground.

The implications for irrigation (and for many other landscaping practices) are significant. If you've been deep-soaking your yard, you may have been wasting a lot of water or recharging the groundwater at your own considerable expense. If you water only at the base of plants and ignore the soil out in the open, you've been doing the plants a terrible disservice. Effective watering covers the entire root system and goes no deeper than the roots do. That means wide, relatively shallow coverage, which can be done with sprinklers, drip on a grid, or hand watering.

Figure 9-1:

What root systems really look like.

Figure 9-1:

What root systems really look like.

85-90% of roots are in the top 18 inches of the soil

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Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

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