Plants adapt to their unique soil environments by altering the number and placement of lateral roots post-embryonic. Mutants were identified in Arabidopsis thaliana that exhibit increased lateral root formation. Eight mutants were characterized in detail and were found to have increased lateral root formation due to at least three distinct mechanisms. The causal mutation in one of these mutants was found in the XEG113 gene, recently shown to be involved in plant cell wall biosynthesis. Lateral root primordia initiation is unaltered in this mutant. In contrast, synchronization of lateral root initiation demonstrated that mutation of XEG113 increases the rate at which lateral root primordia develop and emerge to form lateral roots. The effect of the XEG113 mutation was specific to the root system and had no apparent effect on shoot growth. Screening of 17 additional cell wall mutants, altering a myriad of cell wall components, revealed that many (but not all) types of cell wall defects promote lateral root formation. These results suggest that proper cell wall biosynthesis is necessary to constrain lateral root primordia emergence. While previous reports have shown that lateral root emergence is accompanied by active remodelling of cell walls overlying the primordia, this study is the first to demonstrate that alteration of the cell wall is sufficient to promote lateral root formation. Therefore, inherent cell wall properties may play a previously unappreciated role in regulation of root system architecture.