En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 30, 2012

From: Paragould, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Septic Systems, Trees
Title: Tree roots in sewer from Paragould AR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have beautiful pecan trees, an apple in the back yard, a pine on the west side of the house and pecan trees in the front yard. Two trees are interrupting my sewer systems (at least one in the back yard) and other than getting rid of them, is there anything I can do to curb the root growth in the sewer drain that I just spent a bunch of money to have cleaned out. I do have a "clean out" in the back yard that makes it easier to access from the outside and not under the house. Can there be root structure dug up to make sure my dilemna doesn't happen again and not kill the trees?

ANSWER:

We know a lot about trees and zip about sewer lines. We have in the past experienced this very problem. It was way in the past, because our sewer lines were terra cotta (yes, like your garden pots) and they were't just plugged, they were demolished. This took some major work by contractors and plumbers, replacing the "pot lines" with a poly pipe. We lived there several years longer and had no more problem, but the tree roots probably got in those lines later. There is no magic product to keep lines clear, and we are always in favor of bringing in people who know what they are doing. Many of the articles we read suggested the use of copper sulfate, which is quite poisonous; so much so, that it is suggested that if you flush it down a toilet, you leave the house for 24 hours. Not crazy about poisons. However, to permit you to research the various options, we found several different resources you should read.  This is way out of our line of expertise, except to say that tree roots do grow farther out than the circumference of the top of the trees. If you are forced to choose between the roots and the sewers, we would certainly want to keep the trees, on the other hand, the sewer......

Please look at the research we did; you are the only one that can decide this matter, but you need to get professional help and be sure you understand what is being recommended.

YouTube Ask the Builder. Roots in Sewer Lines.

PipeDoctor USA 5 Steps to Dealing with Invasive TreeRoots

eHow.com Home How to Get Rid of Roots in a Sewer Pipe

 

 

 

More Septic Systems Questions

Plants for septic fields in Austin
November 10, 2008 - We are building a house in Austin and the site requires a septic system. I need advice on how to landscape with native plants over the septic fields. The side yard and the front yard will contain the ...
view the full question and answer

Appropriate plants for septic field from Raymore MO
September 15, 2011 - Is it practical to plant coneflower, garden phlox, etc. on a septic drain field?
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress knees in leachfield from Ventura CA
March 20, 2013 - Hey, I planted a seedling 20+ years ago which has turned out to be a 40'bald cypress that's now 40'. I'm a native southerner and would hate to cut it down but it's putting up knees in my septic s...
view the full question and answer

Can Carolina wild petunia be planted over septic tank in Nokomis FL
July 10, 2011 - Could you tell me the root depth of the Ruellia caroliniensis/ Carolina wild petunia? Trying to determine if I can plant it over septic tank.
view the full question and answer

Texas mountain laurel roots and septic systems
February 12, 2009 - I want to plant a Texas Mountain Laurel tree in our RV Resort. The park must approve new plantings, and they are concerned about any root system that might endanger their septic systems or pipes. They...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center