How to Prevent Tree Roots in Sewer Pipes

March 18, 2020

tree root barrierTrees are a wonderful addition to any home's landscape - they are beautiful to look at, they can offer shade and reprieve from the elements, and they can even do things like filter your water, and reduce erosion and greenhouse gases! While all of these are the perks that make trees a valuable asset to your lawn, there is a downside - when the tree roots start to take over your sewer pipes. This can be a major problem, not only because it can impact your plumbing, but because plumbing leaks and issues can lead to foundational problems, and a whole other slew of costs to do those repairs. In order to avoid breaking the bank, you need to know how to stop these roots, which is why Allied has put together this guide on how to prevent tree roots in sewer pipes. 

Know Where Your Plumbing Is

This may seem basic, but it isn't! Often, homeowners do not know where their pipes are, and therefore do not know when trees are starting to impact them. A quick call to your local public works department or the 811 "Call Before You Dig" number is a good way to locate all of the underground cables, lines, and pipes. This is good to know whether or not you have the ability to dig in your yard without problems, or if you need to have an expert come in. This can especially apply when you are wondering whether or not you need to remove a tree, or if it is perfectly fine where it stands. 

Create A Barrier

Creating a barrier between the sewer lines in your lawn and the tree roots that are making their way freely is the best defense against future plumbing problems. This also has the added capability of allowing you to keep any of the trees that are in your lawn. That way, you are getting all of the benefits of being protected from the elements and having a wonderful level of shade while also being able to protect your sewer from unwanted expenses. One type of barrier is to use slow-release chemicals and spread these near the sewer lines, where they can prevent the roots from breaking in. Another option is to place metal or wood barriers anywhere from 6 to 12" further into the ground than the pipes, running vertically, to prevent the roots from growing into the pipes.

Plant Sewer-Safe Trees

There is, also, such a thing as sewer-safe trees! Sewer-safe trees are those that grow at a slower rate, while also having a smaller root ball, or spread. If the roots spread out less, you're safer to place them closer to the sewer line. If you cannot live without the bigger trees and you need to have them in your lawn - you can! Just be sure to know where your sewer lines are and plant the trees as far away from those lines as possible. 

Know The Signs

A good preventative for further sewer line damage is to know the signs. If you know what to look out for, you know when to spring into action, instead of having to wait until it's too late. Drain clogs are something incredibly common, and can often be fixed with little to no issue. If your drain is clogging all of the time, however, there may be something bigger going on that you need to address. Root damage can lead to sewer lines being clogged, which can also lead to overflowing or slow-flowing drains. One tell-tale sign is to listen to gurgles from your toilet!

Get Regular Inspections and Maintenance

If you notice any of those signs - call someone! Frequent drain clogs, difficulty clearing clogs, and gurgling noises are all indications that you should have a plumber look into your sewer lines. They will do this by inspecting the lines with a camera, running it through to locate areas with a lot of damage. Afterward, they'll be able to make recommendations up to and including pipe replacement. Regular maintenance and clearing lines frequently can allow you to prevent needing repairs!

These five tips are just the tip of the iceberg to protecting your plumbing, but each step is invaluable! Just knowing where your sewer lines are can help you protect your plumbing and keep your landscape looking great at the same time. Not only will this benefit you in terms of plumbing, but in terms of keeping your foundation safe, sturdy, and operating at 100%! If you think that you might be having issues with your plumbing, reach out to Allied Foundation today! With our root-barrier installations, we'll give you peace of mind when it comes to keeping the trees you love away from the pipes you need. 

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Jon

Written by Jon

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