When the leaves are shed, they fall still attached to the twig, similar to all members of the redwood family. The steady loss of large amounts of foliage creates a thick litter bed under large giant sequoias. Unfortunately, heavy foot traffic under the trees can still damage the fragile root system of giant sequoia. While the roots of an ancient tree may extend as far as 200 feet from the trunk, water is absorbed by tiny fibrous roots which are often near the surface. Disturbance of the forest litter will often kill these roots, ultimately harming the health of the tree.