Keep Tree Roots Out of Your Septic System: Advice from FloHawks

August 3, 2017

Keep Tree Roots Out of Your Septic SystemTrees provide many aesthetic and economic benefits. They improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, and provide homes for wildlife. Planting trees in and around your home is great for reducing energy costs and providing much needed shade.

However, trees should never be planted near your septic system as the tree’s roots can become especially problematic. The areas in and around your septic tank and drain field have extra water, nutrients, and oxygen – all the essential life elements that trees and plants need to grow. Tree roots are especially good at seeking out what they need to thrive, and can eventually grow through small cracks or incompletely sealed joints into the lateral lines and/or other components of your septic system. Once inside, they can quickly grow large enough to restrict water flow. They can block or even break drainage and distribution pipes, and they can sometimes even penetrate the tank. Aside from sewer blockages and backups, tree roots growing inside sewer pipes are one of the most expensive septic maintenance items.

Here are some tips to prevent trees from uprooting your septic system:

Know where your septic tank and drain field are located. It is important to have a diagram of your system and where it is located on your property. If you don’t have an “as-built” (a drawing of the septic system as it relates to your property), FloHawks can help. Be sure to keep accurate records of system maintenance and to keep these records in a safe place in your home.

Avoid planting in and around the area. Grass is the best cover for your septic system. Avoid planting flowers or other plant/tree arrangements too close to the drain pipe clean out or over the septic tank cover. They may be damaged or destroyed when you have to excavate to access the tank or cover.

Opt for slow-growing plants with less aggressive root systems. Before you plant a tree, find out about the nature of its root system. Slow-growing trees generally have less destructive roots than those that grow quickly. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to keep trees with spreading roots at least 30 feet away from water and sewer lines. If you plant anything, opt for wildflowers, smaller ornamental grasses, and non-woody perennials to plant over a septic system. These are plants with shallow roots, which will not invade the septic system’s piping.

Inspect your system once a year. No matter how well you care for your septic system, maintenance will be required. Regular septic inspections and maintenance can prevent root intrusion by discovering leaks early. The useful life of a system depends on a lot of factors including tree root intrusion and proper routine maintenance and pumping. Learn more septic care tips from FloHawks here.

Our professional FloHawks technicians are always available to help with your septic system or any other household plumbing issue. Call us today at 1-800-356-4295 or contact us online.

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