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Zone 8, USA

I planted six Oakleaf Holly bushes in November 2020. They were container grown and unfortunately very pot-bound. I performed some serious root pruning before planting into the earth. (This was before I'd done some research into the issues present in container-grown trees and shrubs.)

Fast forward to June 2021. The bushes are alive and showing some new green growth, some more than others.

I'm curious — does the fact that the bushes are growing above ground imply that they're also setting new roots? Also to note, when I tug on the trunk upwards, they feel strongly anchored in.

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Continuous growth, yes, it does signify root growth. The exception to this would be when moisture stored in the trunk and branches is expended to push out the foliage, but then not replaced by the roots for some reason, in which case the green growth will cease, dry up as the soft leaves lose moisture and the tree/shrub desiccates.

Roots grow by continuously replacing the root hairs at the root tips. Old roots soon stop functioning even though they may function for a while. So think positively, if there is no obvious reason to suspect otherwise the roots are growing.

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