The spaces between the particles of soil are the conduits through which the water and nutrients flow. The roots do not grow in the soil: They grow in the spaces between the soil. The nutrients and water meet with the roots.
Not all things that travel between the bits of soil are nutrient and water. Poisonous things also travel in those spaces. Oil which absorbs precious tree nutrients and pulls them away from the roots and coats the roots to prevent nutrients and water from reaching the roots.
Other plants can sent their roots into the spaces between the bits of soil, preventing the tree roots from moving freely.
Critters like worms travel in the spaces between the soil particles. Nematodes. Other creatures.
Damage to the roots destroys the tree. Healthy roots makes a tree strong.
In the spaces between the soil, who is who and which things are you? What is the tree?
I don’t expect answers just contemplation. If I’m too vague I can be clearer.