3 Options For Dealing With Trees Growing Near The Sewer Line

Posted on: 12 May 2023

Tree roots in a sewer line can lead to smell backups and damaging flooding in the house and yard. There are a few options that can help you solve the problem.

1. Relocation

Small trees can sometimes be removed and relocated to a new area, well away from the sewer line. This is generally only possible for trees that have been planted in the last two years, so they have yet to develop an extensive root system or a lot of trunk and crown growth. 

Your tree service will begin by cutting around the root ball, severing any longer roots. Then the tree is dug up using either hand tools or heavy equipment, depending on the size of the root ball and its proximity to the nearby sewer line. Care must be taken not to disturb the line. Once out of the ground, the tree can be replanted in a prepared site that is far enough from the sewer line so it won't pose a problem.

2. Barriers

If the tree is near but not too close to the sewer line, it may be possible to leave it in place. The main risk when a tree is a bit further from the line is from smaller roots that are seeking out water sources, not a nearby large root. A root barrier may be all that's needed to save the tree and protect the sewer line.

First, a trench is cut in the ground between the tree and the sewer line. The trench will sever any overgrown roots that are reaching toward the line. Then a metal barrier is installed deep enough to extend below the buried depth of the sewer line. Tree roots cannot grow through the barrier, and few are likely to grow beneath it if the barrier is installed at sufficient depth.

3. Removal

Sometimes the only wise option is full removal. Larger trees can't be easily moved, and the location or size of the root ball may make a barrier an ineffective option. Care will be needed during removal, though, to make sure the nearby sewer line isn't disturbed. 

Your tree service may work with a plumber to properly place the exact location of the line. This is mainly necessary for stump removal, as the tree above can be cut down using the normal method of removing the branches first and then bringing down the trunk — either in one piece or in sections. If the line is far enough away, the stump can be ground out. For stumps that are too close to the line, chemical stump killers may be used instead as these won't disturb the sewer line.

Contact a professional tree removal service if you have trees wreaking havoc with your sewer line.


Keeping Your Trees Healthy

About a year ago, I realized that our front trees were starting to look a little funny. Some of the leaves were wilted, but we weren't anywhere near autumn. The bark on the trunk also seemed to be rotting away, which was frustrating and disappointing. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me to call a professional arborist for help. He came out, inspected the trees, and injected some special pesticides into the trunk. Within a few months, they started to look a lot better. Our arborist also trimmed our trees to reduce the weight load on the branches and to improve their shape. Check out this blog for information about tree trimming.