Trees And Your Sewer Line: 4 Concerns That Require Tree Removal

A tree can wreak a lot of havoc that will at first go unseen because the problem is occurring underground, in your home's main sewer line. Tree roots will invade the line to seek out water and nutrients, leading to troublesome clogs. Sometimes removal of the tree is the best option.

1. Tree Type and Size

Certain types of trees are more likely to cause issues with the sewer line. For example, cottonwoods and river birch, much like other wetland species, have extensive root systems that will branch out densely in the search for water. They can invade a sewer line even if they aren't growing right next to it, and their small roots can quickly fill up the line and cause problems. Larger trees tend to have larger root systems, as well, making them more of a danger. These types of trees are usually best removed.

2. Local Drought Conditions

Trees that receive sufficient water from irrigation or rainfall will produce healthy roots, but they won't necessarily send out an extensive root system to seek out water. The problem is when there is constant drought stress on the tree, either year-round or just seasonally. The tree responds to the lack of water by quickly growing roots to seek out any moisture source nearby — which all too often ends up being your sewer line. If you aren't able to provide sufficient water through drought times, perhaps because of water restrictions, then consider removing the tree.

3. Proximity to Sewer Line

The location of the sewer line must be considered. Trees planted right over or within a few yards of a sewer line will likely cause problems no matter the species or moisture conditions. The sewer line is just too tempting with its moisture and nutrient-rich contents. If the tree isn't expected to get very large or becomes too hungry for water, then you may be able to have a root barrier installed between it and the sewer line. Otherwise, removal is the best choice if you want to avoid line clogs in the future.

4. Ongoing Maintenance Costs

If you have a tree you really don't want to get rid of, then consider the ongoing maintenance costs for both the sewer line and the tree. For example, you may need to have the line augered clear of roots annually, and you may need to apply line treatments to keep root growth down on a monthly basis. As for the tree, it may need extensive annual pruning of both the crown and the roots to keep them as far from the line as possible. If the maintenance is too time-consuming or costly, then it's time to remove the tree.

Contact a tree removal service for more help.