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What to Do About Invasive Tree Roots


When you see a healthy tree, you know that its roots are taking in plenty of oxygen, water, and nutrients. Did you know that a tree’s root system can sometimes expand well beyond the length of its branches? Unfortunately, over time, a tree’s roots can interfere with sidewalks, sewer pipes, and even a home’s foundation. Discover some more facts about invasive tree roots to find out what you can do if you encounter this situation.

What Can Invasive Tree Roots Do?

A tree’s roots can enter a sewer pipe through a cracked or broken section. When roots invade a sewer pipe, they can cause blockages and further damage to a pipe. Another example of invasive tree roots is when they extend beneath a section of sidewalk and actually lift the cement. This makes the sidewalk uneven and a hazard for walkers and bicyclists. Tree roots have been known to grow beneath fences, pushing them upward. They can also cause damage to the foundation of a home by growing against a basement wall. This puts pressure on the wall, which can affect the condition of the home’s foundation.

Reasons for Invasive Tree Roots

One of the reasons why tree roots invade sewer pipes is the presence of moisture. If a sewer pipe is damaged and leaking underground, the roots of a tree naturally grow toward the moisture. Eventually, the roots make their way inside the pipe. Poor planning is another reason why people are confronted with invasive tree roots. People sometimes plant trees too close to their home, sidewalks, or pipes.

Remedies for Invasive Tree Roots

If you do have invasive tree roots, there are some options available to you other than removing the offending tree. One option is using a hydro-jetter. This device kills the tree roots in a pipe with a tremendous amount of water and a collection of spinning wires sent down the pipe. Though it can be costly, a hydro-jetter is efficient at getting rid of the problem. A second option is to dig up the invasive tree roots and replace the damaged part of the sewer pipe. There are also chemicals that can be put onto tree roots that can kill them.

How to Prevent the Occurrence of Invasive Tree Roots

One thing you can do to avoid dealing with invasive tree roots is to pay attention to the types of trees you plant in your yard. Some trees have expansive root systems, while others do not. For instance, silver maples have expansive root systems, so they should be planted at least 50 feet away from a home to avoid future problems with invasive roots. American elms and willows are two other examples of trees with root systems that spread a long way out beneath the ground. Another tip for avoiding invasive tree roots is to plant all of your trees at least ten feet away from your driveway, front walk, and patio. If you’re creating the landscape of your property, I suggest drawing up a plan that includes measurements to ensure that your trees and their roots have enough room to grow.

Thanks for reading! – Alan

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