© 2020 In his paper on net primary productivity of terrestrial communities predicted from climatological data, Rosenzweig (1968) argued that variability in productivity is well accounted for by (evapo)-transpiration, and that water from transpiration is, on global scales, the most variable component in the photosynthesis reaction. The goal of this paper is to investigate whether variability in plant growth on local scales and within species is primarily related to transpiration under several scenarios including different terrain curvature, slope aspect, soil characteristics, and climate ranges. We test the hypothesis that this relationship exists because root growth into the surface soil layers (0–2 m) tends to follow paths with minima in resistance, which in turn maximizes water flow and nutrient delivery rates that regulate growth. The set of all connected paths with individual pore-to-pore flow resistances less than a critical, percolating, value forms a cluster with mass fractal dimensionality, df. We propose that roots follow paths through the 2D percolation cluster, defining the set of all optimal flow paths, making the 2D value of df from percolation relevant to root fractal dimensionality. The tortuosity of such optimal paths as defined in percolation theory should then relate root length to root radial extent, linking the parameters of root tortuosity and plant productivity. Our analysis of large data sets across species implies that root radial extent and tree height are both proportional to cumulative transpiration until trees approached maximum height, and their growth rates are proportional to the transpiration rate, not to the moisture content. Local variations in tree height as functions of the variables investigated appear generally consistent with deduced variations in transpiration. Here this correlation is investigated more closely in the context of studies addressing individual tree species.