Septic tank maintenance

tree roots in septic system

This article will cover tree roots can harm French drains.

This article will cover tree roots can harm French drains. Many home and business owners find it problematic when stagnant water accumulates at the sides of their structures. The moisture build-up seeps into the foundations and destroys every bit of foundation that your home or building has. Once the foundations rot away, the entire structure is compromised. You end up staying in a place that might give out at any given time. That is why French drains are installed and used. These specialized drains divert the stagnant water from the premises of the structure towards an existing septic system or greywater system. Many arborists are called to assess and solve the problems that French drains give the trees in the area where they are installed. However, tree roots can also harm French drains especially if they are not designed or installed properly.

The French drain is also called a curtain drain. It’s very simple and all it needs is gravity to remove all that water from specific problem areas around your home. There are two main ends to a French drain. The first one if the high part or drain field where the excessive amounts of water enter the French drain. The second one is the low end where the excess water leaves the French drain. For every 8 feet of your French drain’ length,  the slope should be an inch from the highest point, which is not less than 1%.

Trees near the structure’s foundations can be very harmful to French drains. As you know, trees are living organisms that always seek for sustenance. Tree roots are made to access a stable food source and it is only natural for the French drain to be treated as such. French drains usually bring the drained water into a greywater system or a septic system. This is another opportunity for trees to get more nutrients and water.

You should talk to your septic or drain expert to see where the French drain should have its exit. Good drain exits should be the following:

  • A slope covered with grass. It should be exposed to the sun most of the time. The heat of the sun evaporates the water and the grass cover helps absorb the excess moisture.
  • Directly towards the street so that it could go straight to the storm drain. You have to check with the building department in your locality first.
  • The part of the yard that is closest to the problem area. The distance should be as short as possible so that you can save a lot on costs.

You have to call your arborist if you are concerned with the trees in your property. You have to do something that will not damage trees or the French drain as well.  If the trees are allowed to stay where they are, with the French drain worked into their roots, the arborists could carefully adjust most of the roots without cutting them. The roots could also be diverted in a way that they won’t obstruct or get into the drain itself and block the drained water. You also have the option of removing the tree from the French drain area. This would require you to provide a proper new location for the tree.

Make sure that there will be no trees to obstruct the drain in any way. If the trees block the French drain, the water drained from the higher part of your property will not be diverted away from the source of the water. Consider changing the trees that you have in your property to make sure that the flow of the drained water will always reach its exit point. Arborists recommend smaller types of trees. These trees don’t have very complicated root systems that could threaten the French drain. You can opt for Acer ginnala or Amur Maple and Acer palmatum or Japanese maple. Make sure that you work with your arborist well even before you have the French drain installed in your property.