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How to Keep Tree Roots Out of a Drain Field

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Tom in Florida is dealing with some tree roots in a drain system. Never a fun task. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    TOM IN FLORIDA: Our house was built in ’55 and we have a lot of oak trees in the area. In fact, it’s called Shady Oaks Drive. And I have these roots into my drain field, into the pipes, and it’s clogging my system.

    TOM: So it’s getting into the drain field itself? So it’s getting into the pipes that have the openings where the water leaches out into the drain field?

    TOM IN FLORIDA: Yeah. Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a difficult situation because, of course, that’s a perfect source of food for the trees, right?

    LESLIE: So it probably really likes it there.


    TOM: Yeah, they do. Yeah. Now, is it possible to cut back trees from this area?

    TOM IN FLORIDA: No, they’re – these trees are about 6- or 7-foot around. They’re huge.

    TOM: So, here’s one thing that you can do: if you can map out where the drain field is and be sure where that drain field is, you could trench. And you may have to rent a device to do this but you could trench, even if it was a narrow trench.

    Have you ever seen one of these cutters that are like a 2- or 3-inch-wide blade that kind of digs straight into the ground?


    TOM: You could trench around the drain field. And in doing so, what you would be doing is slicing those roots on their way over to the drains.


    TOM: And that would isolate – at least slow down the growth of some of those roots into the drain field. They’re going to come back eventually but it might take quite a while; it might be something you only have to do every two or three years. But if you could slice that area around the drain field so that the roots don’t go through that and into the pipes, what’ll happen is the roots that are there will die off, because they won’t be fed from the tree anymore.

    TOM IN FLORIDA: Right.

    TOM: And then, hopefully, they won’t come back for a while. Does that make sense?


    TOM: Well, give that a shot and good luck with that project. Tom, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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