Digging Deep Reveals the Intricate World of Roots
If you’ve ever driven past wild prairie grasses swaying in the Kansas breeze and felt a wave of appreciation for America’s heartland, you should know that those visible grasses are just the tip of the iceberg.
“We’re pretty blind to what’s going on beneath the soil,” says photographer Jim Richardson, who became well acquainted with the world of dirt while working on “Our Good Earth,” a 2008 National Geographic magazine story.
The bulk of a prairie grass plant, it turns out, exists out of sight, with anywhere from eight to fourteen feet of roots extending down into the earth. Why should we care? Besides being impressively large, these hidden root balls accomplish a lot—storing carbon, nourishing soil, increasing bioproductivity, and