Schuelke Twin Plumbers: Have Tree Roots Damaged Your Line?

Tree roots are a common cause of sewer and water line damage. It can be frusturating when your drain clogs up due to intrusion from roots. We deal with these situations on a regular basis. Many people ask us: “What can we do to prevent roots from damaging our sewer line”?  Read below how you can prevent this from happening. tree-roots

Trees are beautiful above ground, but below ground they can turn your sewer and waterline into an aweful plumbing nightmare!

If a complete sewer line replacement is not something you wish to have in your near future, follow these simple tips by the Twin Plumbers to prevent root damage and keep your homes waste plumbing flowing correctly.

Some kinds of trees and plants pose more potential harm than others to water and sewer lines if they’re planted too close. However, all trees have at least some ability to invade pipes.

Tree roots are most likely to intrude sewer lines that are already damaged and have separations. Lines and sewers that are in good shape usually resist root damage well, but lines with weak spots or cracks are susceptible to infiltration. Large trees that grow fast are the main culprits, so avoid planting these trees near your sewer system and keep an eye on existing trees that have been growing near lines.

Tree Roots to Watch Out For

After speaking to some top landscapers, here are some of the most aggressive root growing trees. Ash, sweetgum, poplar, cottonwood, lowland oak, locust, willow, basswood, tuliptree, sycamore, boxelder, and many maple varieties such as sugar, red, Norway, and silver.

Properly managing your landscaping near your sewer lines is important. Water-seeking trees should be replaced every 8 to 10 years, before they can grow into pipes and plumbing lines. This helps limit the distance that roots grow beneath the soil and shortens the time they have to infiltrate sewerline cracks, foundations, sidewalks and other elements in your yard.

How to Prevent Root Damage

According to our landscaping experts, take the following steps that can help prevent tree root damage to your home’s sewer lines:

  1. Plant only small, slow-growing trees near sewer lines.
  2. If you must plant fast-growing species, plan to replace them every 10 years or so.
  3. Even slow-growing trees can damage sewer lines, so be aware that these trees must also be replaced periodically.
  4. When building new sewer lines or upgrading existing ones, consider landscaping plans carefully and do whatever is necessary to avoid root infiltration from trees and robust shrubs.
  5. There are no “safe” trees when it comes to sewer lines especially if you know you have clay or old cast iron type lines below ground.  Planting small, slow-growing species such as Amur maple, dogwood, redbud, Japanese maple, or fringetree is what is recommended by our professional landscapers.

What If You Suspect Tree Root Damage?

If you already suspect root damage to your homes sewer lines, there are a couple of things you can try before the problem gets out of control. You may want to call your local plumber and get your sewer line scoped to determine to what degree the tree root has damaged your sewer. You can buy commercial root killers that slowly release chemicals to slow down root growth. The only issue with this application, is that these harsh chemicals are not good for our enviroment.

You can also try naturally compacted layers of soil to make it harder for roots to penetrate. You can achieve this by laying down salt layers and creating air pockets using large stones that may help redirect root growth.

You can try solid barriers such as metal, plastic, or wood.  These barriers can be effective in the short term, but it’s hard to guarantee long term results with any of these methods. You may also cause significant damage to, or even kill the tree, which carries a whole new set of risks.

Before you try anything, it’s always best to consult a professional. Call The Twin Plumbers if you have any questions, or if you need us to remove the tree roots today!