Most conifers have widespread, shallow root systems. They are usually highly susceptible to high winds, because their roots do not firmly secure the conifer in the ground. They are also vulnerable to disturbances of the ground's surface, which can affect vital roots just underneath.
Older conifers are often protected by fences to prevent damaging foot traffic around the perimeter of the trunk. Interestingly enough, despite their seemingly fragile root systems, conifers represent the heaviest, tallest and oldest living objects on earth. There are over 550 types of conifer trees and shrubs. Some of the most popular are redwoods, pines, spruces, cedars, firs, cypresses, yews and junipers.