Your Guide to Planting Trees Near Your Septic System Part 1

Are you looking to plant trees near your septic system?

Trees are truly incredible. We rely on them for everything from adding beauty to our world to providing us with the oxygen we need to breathe. Trees can add a lot to your home’s landscape, but if you have a septic system, you may want to think twice about planting trees near your septic field. Many different kinds of trees have been known to infiltrate septic systems with their roots, leading a great deal of damage and expensive repairs. Although it can be tricky to plant trees near your septic system, if you do so carefully and wisely, it can be done. Luckily, the experts who brought you Septic Genie are here to help. Here is your guide to planting trees near your septic system:

Which parts of your septic system are vulnerable to damage from tree roots?

There are essentially three main parts to your septic system: the holding tank, the main outlet and then drainage field, otherwise known as a leach bed or leach field. The sewage travels into the septic tank, where it accumulates until it is full. Then, it will empty into the drainage field from the main outlet. The tank itself is incredibly durable and typically impervious to damage from tree roots. However, where tree roots are a real concern is the leach field.

The drainage field is made up of perforated PVC pipes that are laid in trenches that are filled with gravel or crushed stone. Tree roots target those pipes in their search for moisture. This leads to pipes that are either clogged, crushed or otherwise severely damaged. Every part in your septic system needs to be working properly in order for the whole thing to do its job, and when the drainage field pipes are damaged, your entire system will pay the price.

How far from the septic system should you plant trees?

How much distance you should give when planting a tree largely depends on the type of tree that you are planting. Some trees have root systems that are shallow, while others have strong, far-reaching roots that are attracted to the moisture in your septic system’s pipes. We will get into the specific types of trees that should and should not be planted near septic systems in our next blog, but as a general rule, you should leave as much distance between the tree and your septic system as the tree’s height when it reaches maturity. For example, if your have a tree that is 50 feet tall, it should be kept at least 50 feet away from your septic system.

Trees add a lot of life to your landscape, but when it comes to planting trees near your septic system, it’s important to be very careful. As we mentioned above, some trees are safer to plant near your septic system than others, and in our next blog, we’ll be going over which trees to plant and which trees to avoid. Please stay tuned for our next blog to learn more!