Plants with a taproot system are usually deep rooted while fibrous roots are much shorter, and are densely packed fine roots. The taproot system allows plants to anchor better, get sources of minerals and water from further into the ground than fibrous rooted plants. The fibrous system is more susceptible to drought; however, it also allows the plant to respond faster to an application of fertilizer.
The taproot is a dominant root and is the source of many lateral roots that come from the primary root. Fibrous roots grow from the main stem of the plant and does not have a primary root like the taproot. They grow downward and outward, with repeating branches to form a mass of small roots.