How Does Water Rise from the Roots of A Redwood Tree to the Very Top?

How Does Water Rise from the Roots of A Redwood Tree to the Very Top

Whether you are into tree plantation or not, we all tend to get curious about the upward movement of water in trees. Especially in taller plants like Redwoods, this gravity-defying process can baffle you. So how does water rise from the roots of a redwood tree to the very top? 

Redwood pulls water from the root to the top through transpiration and cellulose. The charged atoms work like magnets to lift water. In order to make you understand it in layman’s terms, I have included the example right here!

How Does Water Rise from the Roots of A Redwood Tree to the Very Top?

The cellulose or cell wall of the redwood tree pulls or lifts water from the roots to the top. The cellulose walls are narrow, empty conducting pathways or tubes that let the water move freely from the bottom to the top.

How Does Water Rise from the Roots of A Redwood Tree to the Very Top

But how do these walls defy gravity? Well, the electronic or charged ions of the cells and water work against gravity to transport water in all parts of the redwood tree. 

The positive and negative charges or the atoms of the cells attract the negative and positive water molecules. Therefore, the movement of water in plants occurs from bottom to top.

How Does Transpiration Lift Water From Redwood Root To The Top?

Other than the strong force of the cell walls and water atoms, the transpiration process aids in lifting the water from the roots. This process is nothing but the continuous evaporation of the water reaching the top. Sounds confusing? Let’s break it down in a fun way:

Take a kitchen tissue roll or a paper towel. And dip or stick the bottom of it in a bowl of water. You’ll see the water will start moving to the top of the roll. But the top remains comparatively drier than the base.

It happens because the water molecules at the top are exposed to the air, which leads them to evaporate. And this evaporation makes room for more water to rise up. It is the transpiration process that occurs in all plants, including redwood. 

Likewise, when the bottom water spreads into top branches or leaves, it starts evaporating. And the evaporating water molecules pull the water molecules around it. This suction pull creates a chain of water columns within the pipe or cells that go to the roots to pull water to the top.  

What Affects the Rate of Water Transpiration or Movement Rate in the Redwood Tree?

Water does not move at the same pace or rate from bottom to top in a redwood tree. Because some internal and environmental factors affect the rate as described below –

1. Thick Cuticles

On the above-ground tissues of the tree, there are waxy layers known as cuticles. And these layers repel water. And the thicker the cuticles are, the slower the water will move to the top. 

As most redwood species grow under direct sunlight, they have thicker cuticles in them. Therefore, it takes time for them to transport water. However, the trees grown in temperate climates can quickly send water to the top due to the thin layer on the leaves. 

2. Relative Humidity 

Relative Humidity or RH is the water vapor or moisture present in the air relative to the moisture saturated air can hold. And the higher the RH ratio, the slower the water will get to the top. During rainy days, the moisture or RH is higher, and it reduces the transpiration pace in the redwood trees.

On the contrary, the moisture level in the atmosphere is lower on sunny days. So, during summer, the roots can quickly transport the water to all branches and leaves.

3. Light and Soil Water

Stomata or leaf pores are essential to spread water all over the branches. And these pores remain closed in the absence of light and at night. They open in the sunlight.

The opened stomata increase the water movement and transpiration process. So, during the day, the water will move with greater force than at dark.

The soil provides the water source for the tree to transpire. If the soil moisture level is enough, the water can reach the top within no time. But on dry soil, the transpiration rate is slower.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Does A Dead Redwood Root Draw Water to the Top?

If all the roots rot and die, they cannot pull water. But if most of the parts show symptoms of vigor, they can draw water against the dead parts.

Can Wind Increase the Water Movement in Plants?

Yes, wind removes the boundary layers or the water vapor layers from the leaves. This allows the foliage to lift water quickly as the path becomes shorter. 

Do Redwood Trees Pull More Water than the Shorter Plants?

Taller trees tend to lift and transpire more water. So, the giant redwood pulls more water than the shorter ones and keeps the foliage evergreen. 


Without understanding the water’s upward movement and transpiration, you cannot figure out the factors that can affect it. And I hope this article can enlighten you on how does water rise from the roots of a redwood tree to the very top. Every time this seems confusing to you, think of a tissue roll in water and the force of atoms.

If you have more queries regarding the process, I’d recommend meeting an arborist or buying a redwood tree guide. 

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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