When our customer called our tree service specialists a few years ago, he was frustrated to find that he had issues with his sewer lines that extended out from his house. When the plumber investigated the issue, he found that the large trees in front of his house were damaging the sewer lines. Their 100 year old tree’s roots had found their way into the sewer lines causing broken pipes and resulted in enormous unexpected expenses for the homeowner.
No homeowner wants their tree to damage their property or surrounding properties, but unfortunately tree roots can cause a great deal of damage, especially trees that may have been planted too close to a home decades ago.
Here’s a few things as a homeowner to be aware of when it comes to root damage to your property and what you can do about it. (As always, it’s important to contact a certified tree care specialist during this process!)
Be Aware of Trees in Your Yard and Types of Root Systems They Have
All trees have different root systems and they are very important to determine when it comes to potential property damage. Trees like oak, ash, douglas fir, poplar all have what are called “tap roots”. Taproots pose a problem because they extend not only deep, but vertically, as well. They can extend up to two to three times the height of the tree too. Other trees have more lateral roots and do not penetrate deep into the soil, but can cause an extensive amount of damage, as well. Trees like cottonwood or the weeping willow may not be deep-rooted, but they can be invasive and cause damage to foundations because their roots spread rapidly and extensively.
Identifying the trees in your yard can help you determine what kind of potential damage your tree may cause!
How Roots Damage Property
Roots that are more lateral can do a lot of damage to the foundation of a property. Because these roots are are invasive and tend to not extend too deep, they tend to damage foundations due to their shallow root systems. If there are already cracks in your foundation, the root systems can easily find their way into the cracks and can cause further damage. This can also happen in sidewalks, driveways, patios and even roads!
Trees that are more deeply rooted can damage your sewer lines, plumbing and even the foundation around your home. These trees root’s require and absorb a lot of water. If that water is constantly being pulled from underneath your foundation the changes in moisture levels can cause the foundation to become unsettled.
These deep tree roots can also wreck havoc on your pluming/sewer lines. Trees are always looking for water sources and plumbing can be a perfect source for that. A small crack in your plumbing system can trigger roots to find a steady source of water. Clogged drains, less water flow, and changes in water pressure can be a sign that you potentially have a problem with roots finding their way into your plumbing.
Ways to Prevent or Stop Root Damage to Your Property
- Find out where your sewer lines are located. Call your local municipality!
- Create a barrier between your tree and the sewer line through chemical means (copper sulfate and potassium hydroxide are common), metal, or wood.
- Install one of these barriers before you plant the tree.
- Don’t plant trees near the sewer lines.
- Call a plumber to assess any drainage issues and prevent further damage.
- Call a tree trimming expert to cut away the portion of the tree causing damage.
- Cut down the tree and remove the root system that’s causing damage.
Before decided what is the best way to stop root damage, it’s important to call one of our tree service professionals to assess the situation. We can easily determine what type of root system you have an also identify the best solution for you.
For more information on tree care, please visit one of these other helpful articles on maintaining your trees: