As we have covered in past blogs, roots can spell disaster for plumbing. As Spring is now upon us, people will be planting new trees and shrubs to bring color and beauty back to their yards. What seems pretty above ground can sometimes be an ugly mess underground. Let’s talk about how to prevent tree roots in the sewer line. Safe planting is important to maintaining your plumbing system. Here are some tips for planting your yards this Season.
First and foremost, never plant anything up against your house, in front of windows, nor close to your lateral. (Your lateral is the major line from your house to the city line.) If you have had plumbing service prior to planting, you may have an idea of where your lateral is located. If you do not know, spend the minimal cost to have a professional plumber locate the lateral for you so that you do not make the error of planting over, to close, or even dig into and break the line. If you are hiring someone to plant for you, make sure to mark the area of the line with non-toxic gardening chalk or garden safe paint so that he or she will also know the areas to avoid. If you have a clean-out, your line will be easy to identify.
Remember, tree roots grow out and down. They can wrap, crack, and invade with skill. Trees, as well as shrubs, are living things and will do whatever it takes to survive. They will locate water purely on instinct. If they sense water and there is even a hairline crack, they will find their way in and keep moving and growing. Once they are in, the pipe will have to be replaced and the offending tree or shrub, removed.
There are several trees which are very popular, but are incompatible with plumbing. They are poplars, figs, willows, rubber trees, large eucalyptus, mulberry, and Modesto ash trees. These are just a few examples, but there are many more to avoid. When shopping your nursery or hardware shop, ask questions, then go home and do research. There are many sites which can be of assistance in your search for plumbing wise planting information. We suggest using the search words, “avoiding tree and utility conflicts.” This search word selection will pull up sites with expert advice.
Planning ahead and planting correctly can accomplish your goal: yard beautification while keeping your plumbing system safe.