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Do Plants And Trees Damage Sewer And Drain Lines?

Sewer And Drain Lines
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Trees and plants contribute to the overall curb appeal of your home. They provide a sense of natural beauty that would look good next to any home. Septic tanks on the other hand are unsightly but a very necessary part of a well-functioning home. Having your garden looking fresh is one thing, but having these trees and plants affect your sewerage system is a road you don’t want to go down. If you’re thinking about planting new greenery make sure you select trees that are sewer-safe.

The Best and Worst Trees for Your Sewer System

There are a few species of trees and shrubs that should be avoided when planting around your sewerage system:

  • Willow shrubs such as Japanese willow shrubs and weeping willow trees.
  • Elm trees
  • Poplar trees like the Lombardy poplar tree.
  • Tulip trees
  • Beech trees
  • Aspen trees
  • Ash trees
  • Most maple trees

The best trees to plant around your sewerage system include shallow-rooted trees and shrubs:

  • Cherry trees
  • Japanese maple trees are among one of the few maple trees that are likely to cause less damage
  • Eastern redbud trees
  • Dogwood trees
  • Holly shrubs
  • Boxwood shrubs

Tips to Avoid Sewer Damage

Large, fast-growing trees will give you the most problems around your sewer and drain pipes. These trees and shrubs are aggressive in their pursuit of water and will grow where necessary. Although these tree roots may not grow rapidly, they grow with extreme pressure which is where they begin to cause problems for your drain pipes and sewerage system.

  • Plan Your Plant

    Take the time to plan your landscaping around your drain pipes and sewer. This may be a bit of a tricky task if you’re unsure where your drain lines run exactly. Contact a professional drain service company like Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning to assess the landscape and assist in pinpointing exactly where your drain pipes lie.

  • Choose The Right Species

    All trees and plants pose a threat to your drain lines because their roots can penetrate or block your sewer if given time to do so. There are, however, a few species that are known to cause damage more than others. Smaller, slow-growing species are your safest option. It is the growth behavior of the species that ultimately determine the impact these trees will have on your sewer line.

  • Planting Distance

    Be mindful of the distance you plant any shrubs or trees. They should be planted at least 10 feet from your sewer line. Follow this as a general rule regardless of the species you choose. Trees with large, spreading root systems should be planted at least 100 feet away from your sewer as not to allow any immediate damage.

  • Monitor and Maintain

    There’s always a chance that tree roots may have detoured underground and regardless of your efforts to ensure that they were planted further enough from your sewer, they still somehow cause a clog in your drain pipes. The only way to avoid this is to regularly monitor and maintain the trees and plants around your drain pipes. Call in the professionals from time-to-time to do a full inspection of the area to ensure that you are still in the safety zone. Drain experts such as Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning will be able to advise you should your drain lines be at risk of a takeover.

  • Planting Limit

    Don’t overplant – this puts pressure on the area around your drain lines. Depending on the purpose of your tree planting, there are a few alternatives that you can explore. For example, if you’re looking to add height to a certain area because it is looking a bit flat, consider fences or make-shift walls.

    You can use hanging plants, potted trees or hanging baskets filled with plants. If your aim is to achieve shade in an area that happens to be near your sewerage system, a trellis will work. If you’re needing more color, ground covers work well.

Interfering with the basic function of the septic system will create issues for your household that can easily be avoided with some guidance and structure. Adding too much soil to the area around your sewer is not a good idea because it will affect the normal evaporation process that occurs. Similarly, over-watering the plants and trees near this area should be avoided.

Even after taking great care while planting around your sewer system, you might still be in for a surprise. Nature grows where it wants to. If you feel your sewerage system may be affected by the garden surrounds, make the call to the drain rooter specialists. They will be able to diagnose exactly how your drain is being affected.


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