Residential and commercial sewer lines in Los Angeles are equally susceptible to root intrusion. Unfortunately, many commercial property owners don’t realize that their underground sewer pipes are at risk of developing this problem. Whether it’s the misconception that large-diameter sewer pipes are immune to the issue or it’s just something that isn’t acknowledged doesn’t matter in the long run. What does matter is being proactive and taking the right steps to protect your building’s sewer system from being infiltrated by tree roots.

What Is Tree Root Intrusion?

We all know that trees grow vertically. What many people don’t realize is that they also grow horizontally; their root bases grow horizontally, that is. Small trees have root bases that don’t grow too fast or too big, but some tree species have fast-growing root bases that extended up to 10 feet out from the base of the tree. Of course, you never see the root base because it’s always underground. For this reason, many people are taken by surprise when their sewer contractor tells them they have root intrusion.

Intrusion happens when the tree’s root base starts to grow in or around the sewer pipe. Sometimes the intrusion isn’t a major problem. It’s just a few roots that can easily be hydro-jetted away. Other times the problem is so severe that sewage can’t move through the pipe and it begins to back up into the building.

How to Determine if Root Intrusion Is a Problem

If you have large trees planted near the sewer line on your property, it’s important to have regular video sewer camera inspection services. Once a year, have a sewer contractor run a camera through the pipe to make sure that roots haven’t started growing into the pipe. During the inspection, the sewer contractor also looks for signs of damage to the sewer pipe. While damage doesn’t necessarily mean there’s root intrusion to worry about, it does set the scene for potential problems.

Roots grow in the direction of water and nutrients. If you have a sewer pipe that’s cracked, it means that it has the potential to leak. Roots are more likely to grow into cracked sewer pipes that those that are intact. Fix any cracks to make sure that roots aren’t going to be a problem.

Regular Hydro-Jetting

Another way to keep roots from causing problems is to stop small problems before they get bigger. An easy way to do this is to have annual sewer cleaning services. Hydro-jetting is a great way to get rid of small roots and keep the problem at bay.

Remove the Trees

If you’re continuously dealing with root growth in sewer pipes, consider removing the trees and their stumps. While tree removal can be costly, it does save you the expense and inconvenience of sewer line replacement.

Plant the Right Type of Trees

For building owners interested in planting trees on their property, it’s a good idea to work with a tree service to find out which trees have slow-growing root systems. The best trees to plant in a yard include the following:

•    Mediterranean fan palms

•    Many fruit tree species

•    Certain cypress and cedars

•    Wafer Ash

•    Sabal palmetto

•    Magnolias

These are low-risk plants that look great and can be planted anywhere in the yard.

Now, what about the trees to avoid? Keep the following high-risk trees at least 10 feet from the sewer line or consider avoiding planting them altogether:

•    Sycamore trees

•    Willows

•    Oak and fig trees

•    Maple trees

•    Aspen trees

•    Elm trees

•    Birch trees

Need Sewer Line Replacement? Use the Right Type of Pipe

Some pipe material is more susceptible to cracks. If you find yourself in a position where you need to replace a sewer line and have trees on the property, consider steel or PVC pipes. These pipes are the least susceptible to root intrusion.

If root intrusion is a problem you’ve been dealing with for some time, contact Street Works Engineering for commercial sewer line services in Los Angeles. We offer trenchless pipe lining service as an added layer of protection for low-to-moderate root intrusion as well as other valuable underground services. Our sewer specialists clear roots and get your sewer system working as good as new in no time at all. Call us today at (888) 377-4002.