We examined the spatial distribution of fine roots at two forest sites that were ploughed 20 (site K1) and 33 years (site K2) before sampling and planted with Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings. Soil core samples were taken from the tilt and beneath the tilt, the furrow and the intermediate undisturbed soil to a depth of 0.4 m for fine root biomass, length and necromass determinations. Norway spruce fine roots were found throughout the ploughed forest sites. The fine roots were, however, unevenly distributed: the fine root biomass was highest in the tilt (624 and 452 g m–2 at sites K1 and K2, respectively) and lowest in the undisturbed soil at site K1 (79 g m–2) and in the furrow at site K2 (145 g m–2). The estimated average fine root biomass at the ploughed forest sites (268 and 248 g m–2 at sites K1 and K2, respectively) was, however, similar to those presented in other studies concerning sites that had not been ploughed. In the tilt, a substantial proportion of the fine roots was in the inverted mineral soil horizons and in the new organic horizon above the tilt. Consistent with the fine root biomass findings, the Norway spruce necromass was highest in the tilt but the vertical distribution of the dead roots was different: the necromass was highest in the buried OBT horizon. The results of this study suggest that at the ploughed forest sites, a substantial part of Norway spruce nutrient and water uptake occured in the tilt during the first 20 or 33 years after plantation.