This paper reports a nanometer-scale investigation of trace element (As, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, S and Zn) distributions in the root system Spartina alterniflora during dormancy. The sample was collected on a salt marsh island in Jamaica Bay, New York, in April 2015 and the root was cross-sectioned with 10 μm resolution. Synchrotron X-ray nanofluorescence was applied to map the trace element distributions in selected areas of the root epidermis and endodermis. The sampling resolution was 60 nm to increase the measurement accuracy and reduce the uncertainty. The results indicate that the elemental concentrations in the epidermis, outer endodermis and inner endodermis are significantly (p < 0.01) different. The root endodermis has relatively higher concentrations of these elements than the root epidermis. Furthermore, this high resolution measurement indicates that the elemental concentrations in the outer endodermis are significantly (p < 0.01) higher than those in the inner endodermis. These results suggest that the Casparian strip may play a role in governing the aplastic transport of these elements. Pearson correlation analysis on the average concentrations of each element in the selected areas shows that most of the elements are significantly (p < 0.05) correlated, which suggests that these elements may share the same transport pathways.