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Keeping Trees from Invading Your Sewer Lines

Trees are a great way to add beauty and curb appeal to your yard, but even one tree can wreak havoc on your sewer systems. If they end up destroying your main line, you could end up with a costly sewer repair and an even bigger headache.

Sewer pipes are a gold mine for tree roots since they have a lot of water and other nutrients that trees need to grow and thrive. If there’s even the smallest crack or leak in a pipe, the roots can get into it and cause a huge problem.

So, what can you do to preserve the beauty of the trees in your yard while making sure you don’t need to call an emergency plumber if the roots start invading?

a grassy area with sunlight coming through the trees in bellingham

Know Where Your Lines Are

The best thing to do is to locate your sewer lines within your yard. You can go hunting on your own for cleanout caps, but the easiest way to do it is to call your local sewer department. They’ll send someone out to mark the locations of the lines for you. That will make it very easy to see whether or not they’re anywhere near a tree.

If you do have sewer lines next to a tree, call an experienced plumber immediately. Even if you’ve never seen any signs of trouble, a plumber can use a camera to determine whether roots have started to invade the sewer drain. Getting this kind of inspection before you see any problems can end up saving you a lot of money.

If you’ve already had issues with frequently clogged drains or slow-flowing water, and can’t figure out why, it’s even more crucial to check the pipes as soon as possible.

Removing Roots and Repairing Pipes

If the roots are, indeed, a problem to your plumbing, don’t worry! You can take active steps to get rid of them while preserving the life of the tree.

First, you’ll need to cut the roots away from the pipe. Again, this is something a professional should do so you don’t accidentally cause more damage to the pipe (or the tree). When the roots have been cut away from your sewer line, the next step is to use an herbicide that will help to temporarily stop the growth of the roots. This can be reapplied every few years.

Your line will also benefit from a sewer cleaning that will ensure everything is repaired properly and there is no other debris attached to the pipes.

Again, this process might seem like a lot, but it’s a lot less stressful and much less expensive than dealing with a broken sewer line due to tree roots.

pipe hose drain knob tube

Keeping Trees Away from the Sewer Line

You can take preventative measures to make sure any trees you plant in the future don’t affect your sewer lines. Smaller, slow-growing trees will always be a safer bet, while fast-growing trees with widespread root systems are more likely to cause problems. Try trees like Flowering Dogwood, Cypress, and Paperback Maple if you really want to plant near your sewer lines. They won’t be as big, and their root system will grow slowly.

Using different barriers can also be helpful. Metal or wood barriers can be buried beneath the pipes at a vertical angle. They will help to stop the roots from penetrating through the pipes.

If you have a tree planted anywhere near your sewer line and you’re worried about the roots causing a problem, don’t wait until you’re in an emergency situation! Give Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing a call and we’ll be happy to come out for a full inspection. It’s never a wrong time to schedule sewer line maintenance!

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