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Can tree roots block or clog leach fields?

A month ago, you decided to go on a tropical vacation with your wife. On the last week of your stay, you get a phone call from your sister who offered to take care of your daughter, dog, and home while you were gone. She tells you that she just decided to bring your daughter and your dog to her home for a while because something happened to your home. Your sister assured you that you weren’t robbed or anything like that. It might still be solvable but it would be better if you assessed the situation yourself.

On the day that you and your wife return, you brace yourselves to the problem that your home has developed. Your wife’s eyes widened the moment she sees the flooded and foul-smelling yard. Fortunately, the walkway to your house is a bit elevated than the lawn so you easily enter your home. A disarming smell also welcomes you the moment you open the door. When you look into the sinks and bathrooms, your heart makes a swan dive. Every single one is backed up. It was a good thing that your sister thought of moving into her house for the meanwhile. You immediately call your septic professional to assess the gravity of the situation. In just minute, he arrives with a couple of his men to check your septic system. He breaks the news that your leach field is heavily clogged by the flower-bearing and fruit-bearing trees that have been planted in your yard.

You look at your wife’s guilty face when the subject of the trees was brought into the picture. The landscaping was handled by your wife and she insisted on having the trees planted on the leach field, thinking that it would be a waste of space if it was not used. You ask the septic professional if the leach field or your septic system could still be restored. The septic expert said that it will need time but it could certainly be done. With all these taking place, a question echoes at the back of your mind…can tree roots really block or clog leach fields?

When the leach field is clogged by tree roots, the wastewater backs up into your property and into your home. The pipes in the leach field are also damaged because of the continuous expansion of the roots. As you know, tree roots are more complex than grass roots so they really go deep into the ground in search of moisture and nutrients. They really get into the leach field pipes to take advantage of the nutrient-rich fluids that flow through them. It is only natural for the pipes in the leach field to get damaged as the blockage progresses.

The septic professional and his team immediately go to work in the leach field after a few hours, as soon as they gathered the equipment that they needed. The trees responsible for the clogging are all removed from the surface of the leach field and are replanted along the perimeter of the property. The leach field is dug up to replace the clogged pipes. You see how extensive the damage is. You decide to stay with your sister’s for a few weeks until everything goes back to normal. Your wife apologizes for insisting that the trees should be planted on the leach field. I was all right as long as all of you start to work for the improvement and care of their septic system. It is much better if all of your work together to have a fully functional home.

You and your family resettle into your newly rejuvenated home. Everything smells normal again. Everyone’s health is not threatened anymore. Even your yellow lab happily tested the yard with his ball. You will definitely make it work this time when it comes to caring for your leach field. No more unnecessary planting of trees on the leach field. No more neglect. A happy leach field equates to a happy, healthy home.

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