I have about a foot thick of wood chips in the rows, and was wondering if I should worry a lot about breaking roots on the plants, or would they grow at a steep enough angle to not really damage the root systems?
Why do you want to compress the wood chips? You want them to break down or they are worthless to soil organisms. More oxygen, more surface area and throw nitrogen on your chips. Until, those wood chips break down they are as good as gravel or packing peanuts. Fungus might be interested but even fungus loves at least partially decomposed organic matter mixed with soil, loosely.
Breaking a few roots causes the plant to put energy into making more roots. Up to a point.