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What You Should Consider Before Re-piping Your Home?


No matter how beautiful the landscaping around your Jacksonville home, you won't enjoy it half as much if roots from the trees planted in your yard interfere with or cause damage to your sewer line. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to prevent this situation from ever happening.

Tree Roots Love Sewer Systems

You might be surprised how the process works. As your plumbing system ages, it begins to give off water vapors that attract tree roots. Once detected, the tree roots will travel significant distances to reach the water source. Left to their own devices, a tree's roots break into the sewer system, causing serious blockages. The roots then begin to catch all the toilet paper, fats, oil, and other debris that commonly passes through the sewage system.

Have Tree Roots Infiltrated Your Sewer Line?

Does your home plumbing back up repeatedly? Are the drains in your home slower than normal? Have you noticed leaked sewage in your yard that causes standing water, an unpleasant odor, and spongy grass? If so, it's possible tree roots have begun to invade your sewer. A call to the plumber for an assessment is in order.

Having toilet troubles? Find out the most common causes here

How to Prevent Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line

One of the best ways to avoid roots in your sewer lines is to know where they're located before planting. Other steps you can take include:

  • Using one of these 3 root growth barriers: A growth inhibitor like cupric carbonate or copper sulfate, two chemicals that can be applied near the sewer line to keep out roots without harming the tree; deflectors made of wood, metal, or rigid plastic buried near the pipe to divert root growth; and/or traps made of metal or plastic installed near the pipes to trap and stop roots from growing further into the system.
  • Choosing trees and shrubs with less aggressive route systems. While there are no sewer-safe species, use small, slower growing trees with small root balls anywhere near sewer lines. In the Jacksonville area, trees with roots that don't spread include Skyrocket juniper, Hollywood juniper, and fruit trees like the Cornelian cherry dogwood and Adams crab apple.
  • Carefully follow planting instructions. Ideally, trees should be planted at least 10 feet away from water pipes and species that require large amounts of water should be planted at least 20 feet away.
  • Trees love nutrient-rich, well-loosened soil, which encourages their roots to stay within their own area. Regular fertilization, soil amendments and proper watering will prevent the root from growing out in search of water.

If You Suspect a Root Problem with Your Sewer

Your plumber can help clear root-infested sewer pipes and suggest ways to prevent the problem from recurring. If you're getting ready to plant new trees, determining the location of your sewer line so you can plant trees a safe distance from this important plumbing feature is helpful. Contact David Gray Plumbing Services online today or call us at (904) 605-8190 to learn more.