Tree Roots and Your Septic System: NOT a Match Made in Heaven

Trees, shrubs, and a dazzling landscape may be far, far prettier than your septic system, but combining these two elements can be a disaster. Septic system experts suggest that the best covering for your septic system is simply dirt and grass. Plants with more extensive root systems, especially trees, can pose massive problems for the longevity of your system and create more maintenance calls regarding than you’d care to experience.

The Problem with Trees

Trees can pose problems for all underground sewage systems. However, because you are responsible for a septic system, you have to shoulder the burden of dealing with a tree root problem on your property. Tree roots pose problem for septic systems because they seek out water as they grow and stretch out to locate sources beneath the ground. Cracks in your pipes or joints allow these roots to get into the pipes to get to the water within them. As the roots grow, they can block the drainage pipes, resulting in a large problem. Not only can the roots clog the pipes, they can actually bust them.

Slow drainage can be a sign that tree roots have gotten into your system. The sooner you call a professional septic system service provider to deal with this problem the better. As the clog worsens and sewage begins to back up, you can experience a complete system failure. This problem can further be complicated by sewage that leaks into the environment–particularly near your well. Not surprising, the cost to repair this mess can be very high. For this reason, you should never plant trees near your leach field.

Dealing with a Tree Root Problem

Some people may be inclined to dump chemicals down their toilets designed to kill tree roots. However, experts warn that this could damage your septic system by killing the bacteria inside it needed to break down the raw sewage. It is never advisable to introduce any chemicals into your septic system.

Instead, it’s important to ask a septic system expert to examine your problem. In most cases, the service technician will attempt to auger the pipes of your septic system and employ a cutter to pull out any tree roots that are causing the blockage. Frequently, there is more than one blockage to contend with when it comes to those persistent tree roots. Sometimes, it is necessary to replace pipes, particularly older ones that have cracks that allow the tree roots to get into your system.

Know Your Landscape

Homeowners should know where their drain field is in order to remove any trees or shrubs growing on or near it. Local records departments should have this information if you do not. If you have to remove trees, be sure to take out the stump and root system; even after cutting down the tree, the roots can continue to grow and cause problems for your system.

Again, make sure that the only thing growing near your septic system is grass. If you have any questions about the trees and shrubs on your property, consult your septic system technician for advice about how to deal with them.

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