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Spring is a beautiful sight with the cherry blossoms and other flowering trees in bloom. Their popularity might make them favorites to use in your landscaping, but their problems for plumbing can be headaches for later. You might be surprised to learn that some of your favorite southern flowering trees are also well known for causing damage to water and sewer lines. It is helpful to know which ones are more prone to plumbing problems so you can plan ahead and avoid a costly mistake.

The Problems with Tree Roots

As trees grow, their roots lengthen beneath the surface of the ground. In southern areas of Georgia, groundwater is found only a few feet below the surface. Most of the root system is located in the top 18 to 24 inches of soil. Because of the shallowness of the roots, they can become intertwined around your sewer lines. In some cases, the roots will cause leaks when they penetrate the lines.

Types of Problem Trees

Here are three types of trees that should be planted away from your home foundations and plumbing.

Bradford Pear

Often the first sights of spring are when you see the white blossoms covering the Bradford Pear trees. The blooms don’t smell good and the potential damage of their roots aren’t loved either. You might not think of these as fruit trees, but like many fruit trees they require a large amount of oxygen, nutrients, sunlight, and moisture to grow. When Bradford pear tree roots find their way into piping, they can grow and expand, causing damage and problems with the surrounding pipes and structure.

Cherry Blossom

The blooms of the cherry blossom trees provide a fragrance and beauty that is a hallmark of spring. But this is another popular fruit tree that has roots needing oxygen, nutrients, sunlight, and moisture to grow properly. The potential problems the roots can cause to pipes and structures is the same with most fruit trees, including apple and peach trees.

Magnolia

This southern favorite is well known for its large, fragrant flowers. They are not so well known for their large, rope-like roots that not only grow horizontally along the surface but are also invasive. Their flexible roots easily wrap around and into lines.

Many flowering tree roots grow close beneath the surface and, therefore, are best planted good distances from buildings where they can’t interfere with piping. Even trees with less invasive roots can cause problems. If you decide to plant a tree, a general rule of thumb is to plan for their root system growing to a distance that is equal to the tree’s maximum height at maturity.

It is helpful to research the various trees and shrubs you want to use in your landscaping in advance so that you can plan what and where to plant them. You also want to know about existing plantings so you can better understand how to change your landscaping. Anytime a tree is growing near your house you risk the potential for plumbing problems.

Ideally, you should consider moving a tree if it is close to your home and lines. And if you already suspect a problem with roots damaging your plumbing system, schedule for your plumber to evaluate the piping in that area. When roots have grown within the pipes, they can often be removed via the high pressure of hydro jetting.

High Priority Plumbing has offices in Atlanta and Savannah to help evaluate and repair problems with your lines. Call us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta or 912.373.7707 in Savannah for more information.

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