Avoid Sewer Line Repairs With The Right Landscaping
Trees are doggedly persistent in locating underground sources of water and nutrients, and sewer-safe landscaping is one way to prevent pipe blockages due to root invasion. Once the small feeder stems from trees locate a buried sewer pipe, they quickly begin to infiltrate the interior of the pipe through joints. In the early stages, there may be no signs that your pipes have been violated. Eventually, however, the small feeder roots grow to full-size and completely obstruct flow through the pipe, causing a catastrophic sewage backup into your home. By that point, complete sewer line replacement may be the only remedy. Sewer-safe landscaping starts at square one of the prevention process by avoiding the kind of tree species and placement that encourages sewer pipe infiltration.
Here are some guidelines for landscape planning to minimize tree root problems:
- Know the location of your sewer line. Your local water utility or a plumber can tell you. Once you have the path of the line identified, mark it in some inconspicuous way for future reference. Write down the location and keep it in a safe place.
- Plant slow-growing tree species. No tree is 100 percent sewer-safe. However, fast-growing trees have aggressive root growth and are more likely to invade sewer pipes. Local varieties of Japanese maple, flowering dogwood and thornless honeylocust are examples of trees with less vigorous root spreading tendencies.
- Position trees no closer than 10 feet from the path of the sewer line. The farther away, the better.
- Create a favorable rooting environment around the tree. Plant the trees in large pits with soil that drains well. Water and fertilize close to the tree to discourage exploratory root spreading.
- Consider removing fast-growing trees that are close to sewer lines once they reach the age of 8-10 years. Also keep in mind that, given enough years, even slow-growing species may eventually pose a threat to sewer lines and require removal eventually, too.
Contact the experts at Sobieski Services for more information about sewer-safe landscaping practices. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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