Landscaping our properties is one way to make our homes unique and more beautiful. There are things to consider when planning your lawn and garden. Certain shrubs and trees may cause damage to our sewer system or home’s foundation from their aggressive roots when planted around drainpipes going in and out of the house. It’s important to remember roots of trees and shrubs naturally grow toward sewer lines. Save yourself the headache of costly repairs by planning ahead.
We encourage you to learn which plants are safe and which are riskier to have on your property by reaching out to your preferred garden center or local landscaper.
Tips to Consider Before Planting
*Be knowledgeable of your plumbing system’s location and condition. If needed, reach out to a local plumber to inspect your plumbing system for any leaks to avoid ending up with roots blocking water pipes.
*Have a concrete understanding of each plant or tree’s water needs, root depth, and canopy growth. A safe “rule of thumb” is such a tree needs to be at least as many feet away from your plumbing system or foundation as it could grow to be tall. For instance, a tree expected to grow to 50 feet tall at maturity should stand at least 50 feet away. It may be possible to install root barriers to try to divert tree roots from invading your sewer system.
*Slow-growing, small trees and shrubs are generally a safer idea near your home’s foundation or plumbing system, with the exception of a few shallow-rooted shrubs and trees. Again, consult with your local nursery for examples.
Safe Plants and Trees
You shouldn’t be so concerned about damage that you don’t plant anything near or above your sewer system. We simply suggest you choose the right kind of vegetation – in fact some are actually advisable. Plants can help prevent erosion and remove excess moisture.
Perennial plants and grasses (including ornamental) are ideal for landscaping. These have shallow root systems and are less likely to cause damage from the roots. There are countless examples of attractive and functional plants you could employ. When deciding, first consider the growing conditions:
- If the area is sunny, find perennials that are listed as “full sun” from your retailer.
- If the space is shaded, there are many plants and grasses that will cover the ground, reduce water runoff, and look nice.
If you insist on growing shrubs and trees in the area, choose the shallow-rooted kinds, including:
- Azalea shrubs
- Boxwood shrubs
- Cherry trees
- Dogwood trees
- Dwarf tree varieties
- Eastern redbud trees
- Holly shrubs
- Japanese maple trees
The Riskiest Trees & Plants to Grow
Some of the worst offenders are shrubs and trees with root systems that aggressively seek out water sources. Below are a few of the most commonly found trees and shrubs that can cause serious damage.
- American sweetgum trees
- Ash trees
- Aspen trees
- Beech trees
- Birch trees
- Elm trees
- Japanese willow shrubs
- Lombardy poplar trees
- Maple trees (most, other than the Japanese Maple)
- Pussy willow shrubs
- Weeping willow trees
- Tulip trees
If you already have one of the riskier trees or plants mentioned above in your yard and it is near your home, consider having it removed as soon as possible. Replacing the missing item with a safer one will help you avoid having to deal with costly plumbing or home foundation problems in the future. Remember, if you happen to be facing plumbing issues, you can always count on A&A Plumbing & Drain Services at 402-932-3899.