We all love trees. Especially when they provide us cool shade on a hot summer day here in Florida. Trees can also help shade your house even helping to lower your energy usage and costs. The reason you probably reading this article on this site is because you have a septic system. Then a possible a problem with tree roots. Trees are no different than any other plant that has roots, they seek out water and nutrients to grow. Unfortunately in yards with septic systems, both water and nutrients are available. Septic tanks, thick construction and all, are very resistant to root penetration. Trees are relentless though and will search out water. Any weak spots like the sewer pipe feeding the tank or the discharge pipes heading to the drainfield, are attacked by the tree. Once the tree realizes there is a water source, it will keep working at it, and given time, the tree will eventually win. So what can you do now, and what may you have to do later? Let’s look at some details.
How Can I Prevent Septic Root Problems?
This is must reading if you recently purchased a house, or built a house and you are unsure what you can do to prevent problems down the road. If there are no trees planted and you want to plant some, some caution should be taken on the types of trees you choose. Typically trees that are fast growing, tend to have very aggressive roots. Not sure what trees are best? You can always consult a local nursery and they can give you some choices that might really helpful in the future. Choosing the trees and shrubs for your yard is only half the battle. You need to know where your septic system is located. Second, how its positioned in your yard so you know where you definitely don’t want to plant. Finally after you plant your trees by watering and fertilizing you can encourage the trees root growth close to the tree, hopefully discouraging them from seeking out your septic system.
What Maintenance Should I Do?
You should have your septic system on a regular schedule for inspection and maintenance to avoid root intrusions. Older septic systems are the most likely to attract roots. This is because they are most likely to have seepage or leaks. If your septic system is in good condition and inspected regularly, you may never have problems with tree roots at all. Some tell tale signs of leaking pipes in your septic is bright green grass areas when the rest of your yard is brown, or soft wet areas in your yard and of course if you can smell sewage.
Here in Charlotte County, most the of soil is sandy which presents is own challenges compared to soil compositions in other parts of the country. In Punta Gorda for example we see fast moving roots from trees and shrubs that grow quickly and aggressively searching for water during the dry summer months.