Rotary tillage is adopted in maize planting in western Liaoning province for a long time, which is one of the important reasons that lead to shallower top-soil and lower maize yield. Therefore, it is of great significance to explore a tillage method that is suitable for maize cultivation in western Liaoning. In this study, the soil physical properties, distribution of maize roots and maize yield were measured by field experiments under three-year continuous rotary tillage, plowing tillage and deep loosening, respectively. The results showed that, compared with plowing tillage and rotary tillage, deep loosening significantly increased the top-soil thickness and decreased the subsoil thickness. In the middle and lower layers of soil, deep loosening also reduced soil compaction and bulk density, improved soil porosity, and was conducive to the downward growth of maize roots. Thus the maize roots in the middle and lower layers of soil are not only richer, but also account for a higher proportion of the total root quantity. This study indicates that deep loosening is beneficial to improve soil structure and promote maize growth, which provides a theoretical basis for constructing reasonable top-soil and high yield of maize in cinnamon soil area in western Liaoning.