Trees And Sewer Lines: Can They Get Along?

You know the value of planting trees. They add appeal and value to your home as well as benefit the environment. They bestow grace and beauty on your property. Unfortunately, they do not mix well with water and sewer lines. When planting trees, you need to take precautions to keep their roots from growing into your water and sewer system.

Before Planting

Before you plant, contact the appropriate local government department or the national 811 "Call Before You Dig" line. Surprisingly, not everyone takes this convenient step that can prevent expensive repairs in the future. 

Choose Your Trees

Larger trees should be planted well away from sewer lines because of their deep and spreading root system. Experts recommend that you avoid eucalyptus, figs, poplars, rubber, fruitless mulberry, and Modesto ash trees. For trees that will be planted closer to the lines, choose types with a smaller root ball, such as certain magnolias, cherry, wintersweet, quince, crabapples, and myrtle trees. 


You can also employ the use of barriers to keep your lines safe from tree roots. Metal and wooden barriers can be placed vertically six to twelve inches below the pipe to keep roots away. You can also use  potassium hydroxide and copper sulfate near the lines to discourage root growth. 

Trouble Signs

Slow flowing drains along with a gurgling noise are your first signs of root trouble. Simple clogs can also cause these issues, but you need to investigate whenever your plumbing exhibits problems. If you experience a total pipe blockage, then roots may be the cause. If left untreated, your sewer and water lines can totally collapse, an expensive repair issue. 


Some tree roots can be cleared by an auger. Chemical treatments can also sometimes solve the problem. If the infiltration is too great, you may need to invest in a camera or borescope that can be inserted into the lines so you can see the extent of the damage and know what repair steps you need to take. In the most severe cases, your lines may need to be dug up and replaced. 

The best course of action is to know where the lines are located and then to plant trees that are friendly to water and sewer lines. Once roots invade your lines, you have a potentially expensive and inconvenient problem on your hands. Take the time to plan your landscaping with your utility lines in mind, and you will save yourself a great deal of trouble. 

To learn more, contact a company like Drain-O-Rooter.