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trees near sewer pipe; trouble?

Bucks Brandon


Joined: Apr 06, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
So I'm working on designing a forest garden for my half acre property... it's a 75'x255' lot with lots of existing trees both on the prop and surrounding it. One of the sunniest spots that I thought was great to plan to put in some trees is in the same area as the sewer line going from the house [at the back of the property] to the public sewer hookup at the street.

The sewer pipe is PVC or similar and was installed in the past 3 or 4 years. FWIW I do have three cleanouts for easy access to them - but am I asking for trouble planting trees in the same area? I know there are many cautions about trees and leachfields with the roots clogging them up - does the same hold true for sewer lines? FWIW I was planning on putting mostly dwarf or semi dwarf varieties.

Thoughts, opinions, and hearsay are all welcome!
                  


Joined: Apr 19, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
It depends on the trees. For example I think willow roots can "hear" the water in a sewer line and they will work into any joint cracking it untill they can get to the good stuff. Actually this could a bit of an exaggeration but it does seem to happen that way. Personally I am on a septic and I keep trees out my drainfield for sure but if I were on a sewer I would want to keep them away from the sewer lines however it has less to do with roots damaging the lines and more to do with what happens if for some reason the line cracks (or some other reason) and I have to dig it up and fix it. Digging through a well developed root system is hell.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
your best bet might be to use dwarf fruit trees and keep them about 10 to 15 ' away from the sewer pipe at least..just in case..if you can.

they have fairly shallow and non aggressive roots..cherry, peach, plum, apple esp..the standards will get a LOT larger and have a larger root base.

the dwarfs will still give you a LOT of fruit and faster, but won't be as agressive either above or below ground..


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Bucks Brandon


Joined: Apr 06, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
Brenda Groth wrote:
your best bet might be to use dwarf fruit trees and keep them about 10 to 15 ' away from the sewer pipe at least..just in case..if you can.

they have fairly shallow and non aggressive roots..cherry, peach, plum, apple esp..the standards will get a LOT larger and have a larger root base.

the dwarfs will still give you a LOT of fruit and faster, but won't be as agressive either above or below ground..


cool.... that's the direction I was thinking: shallow rooted dwarfs! It'll let me have much more diversity on my property and hopefully won't develop and over-aggressive root system. As for willows, or other water honing trees, I'm going to keep those far away from the pipes. I guess I'm trying to figure out what is a comfortable middle ground between putting some polite plants in that area vs. leaving it as boring dry lawn and wasting one of the few good sunny spots I have!
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i have some dwarf apple trees on my drainfield edges, and I also have some honeysuckes, cotinus, lilacs and other shrubs..but they are along the sloped sides of the 4' raised drainfield..not up on top of the drainfield itself (that is lawn)..

you can see photos in my blog (address)..but most of the trees are much too small to see as they were babies 2 years ago

I planted the entire sloped sides into mixed beds..and it seems to work out quite well, but the top circle is lawn.

i have dug up and attempted to move (after my housefire) dwarf fruit trees, it is amazing how small their root systems are as adults..but it depends on the tree itself ..

generally most trees root systems do reach out a little wider than the top canopy, so you can figure if you have a canopy of 20' that you probably shoul have the tree about 20' away from your pipes..(half of 20 ' canopy being 10 '
 
 
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