In Septic Knowledge Center

Septic system roots can be a big problem and cause lots of damage. If you have trees near your septic tank or drainfield, there is a good chance that you have roots growing in your system. Tree roots are always pushing through the ground in search of water, and can move anything in their path, including septic lids and risers. They can also invade drainfields and drainlines.

There are many reasons why regular septic maintenance is important, and root invasion is one of them. Regular maintenance allows root growth to be caught and treated early, before it causes expensive damage.

If a septic tank has not had regular maintenance, it will make it more difficult to pump, and also give roots a chance to invade the system. Tree roots can take over and do a lot of damage. Root problems usually occur when they enter through a crack in a lid, or a bad joint between the tank and a riser. The roots can grow into very large, heavy masses, requiring difficult and expensive removal jobs.



In bad cases of root invasion, mechanical and jetter removal of the roots might be necessary. Tree removal services can be expensive, and these methods are similar to pruning, as they can cause the roots to grow back even stronger.

If a root invasion is extensive, and has caused irreparable damage, it could even require drain line replacement.


It’s best to prevent damage before it happens and leads to costly repairs or replacement of the pipes or drainfield. Chemical treatment can help prevent root growth.

After removing a root invasion, it is very important to be diligent about regular septic tank pumping and maintenance – and include chemical treatment – as it can slow new root growth for years. The cost of follow up chemical treatments will be a fraction of what the root removal cost, and will help prevent future damage.

Chemical treatment also plays an important role in drain line and drainfield root intrusion. Tree roots spread out and can penetrate a drainfield, causing big problems. The thin feeder roots will grow throughout the pipe, and slow down or block the effluent.


  • Do not plant shrubs over your septic components
  • Deep-rooting grasses should be planted at least 20 feet away
  • Trees that require water reservoirs, such as maple, poplar and willow, should be planted at least 50 feet away.


You can save yourself the headache – and expense – of a root invasion, by having regular septic maintenance and using a preventive chemical treatment.




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