A big, shady tree in your yard is a blessing in a desert state like Utah, both in terms of practicality and aesthetics for your landscaping. However, be aware of where it’s planted. A tree in the wrong spot will turn the blessing into a burden.
You’ve seen sidewalks with plants sprouting up between the crevices. As the plants grow they actually expand the cracks in the cement. If a small plant like that can cause that much damage, imagine what a tree can do!
Problems Caused by Unmaintained Trees
As tree roots grow they will invade anything they come in contact with. If a tree is too close to your house, the roots can grow underneath the foundation and crack it. What happens next? Your house becomes unlevel, which means it can no longer support the walls, so the walls crack. Water may start seeping up from the ground. Basically, you’re left with a big, expensive mess.
A more common problem is sewer pipes. Tree roots will naturally search out the nearest water source, and those sewer lines are the perfect spot.
Older homes, particularly those built before the late 1980s, are the most vulnerable because the sewer pipes are probably made from fired clay and mortar. Over time they weaken, allowing tree roots to creep in.
As the tree continues to grow inside the pipe it will block the flow. This will cause the raw sewage in your home to come right back up. Same thing with the water from your clothes washer, since it drains through the sewer lines. If the problem isn’t fixed, the roots may grow big enough to rupture the pipes.
Prevention Tips for the Future
Prevent future problems by planting trees at a safe distance from your house and sewer lines. If you live in a home that already has trees, consider having professionally taken video images inside the pipes to determine their condition.
Finally, if you know a tree is too close to your house or pipes you can always remove it. However, be sure to educate yourself on the best way to remove a tree, be careful to not cause any damage, and communicate with nearby property owners who might be affected