The roots of the tree spread out as they thrust into the ground. Trees in Southern California are notoriously shallow rooted. Most of the region has a (geologically ancient) hard pan layer three to five feet below the surface, which is difficult for roots to penetrate. In addition, irrigation draws the roots toward the surface. For this reason, many trees are blown over, ripping the roots out of the ground, by the strong, seasonal, Santa Ana winds. The struggle for secure footing gives the tree a precarious and insecure existence. I was also charmed by the careful pruning of suckers off the upper roots--evidence of the solicitude of the tree's owner.