The UK needs more trees over the next ten years. The Woodland Trust wants to plant 64 million new trees; they encourage the public to help by planting trees of their own.
Trees provide many benefits they produce oxygen and deal with carbon dioxide, which helps with climate control. Trees make our air cleaner, provide shade and protection from the wind while giving a home to many animals and insects. Trees benefit soil and water cycles also and are pretty, gardens with trees generally look nicer than gardens without trees.
Trees are a great addition to any garden, and you can do your bit by planting one. Most homeowners are already aware that trees must be a certain distance from the home. Planted to close to your home tree roots can lift patios and pathways, affect the foundations of your property and even cause subsidence, (a lot of damage and a lot of money).
Because of this people generally plant trees a safe distance from any buildings but before you rush out and buy a tree, there’s another important consideration that’s often overlooked.
Your Plumbing System
Trees can grow very quickly, especially Willows, Poplars and Oaks as they grow the roots grow spreading underground. Many gardens have sewer and water pipes running underground. Roots can and do infiltrate water and sewer pipes, which can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. Another thing to bear in mind is that you’re liable if any trees on your property cause damage to your neighbour’s properties or plumbing system.
Does this mean you shouldn’t plant trees?
Not at all, you need to choose a suitable tree and plant it in an area where tree roots won’t damage any underground pipes, your home or neighbours homes. Trees must be planted at a safe distance from your home and any underground pipes; the length will depend on the tree. Next, you need to establish whether there are any pipes or sewer lines nearby.
Tree roots will rarely affect the Plumbing/Sewer system if however, a pipe leaks water will seep into the soil which in turn attract tree roots to the source of water especially if there isn’t enough water and nutrients in the soil. Tree roots will grow towards the pipe and will likely grow into the pipe (through the damaged pipe) causing blockages.
As a general rule of thumb, trees need to be planted at least 7-10 meters away from water pipes, sewer lines and buildings. The exact distance depends on the type of tree you are planting.
Before planting any trees do your research and establish
- How big your chosen tree will grow and how far away from any buildings, sewer lines and pipes it needs to be (the nursery/garden centre where you buy the tree should be able to help you with this)
- Whether your chosen tree is suitable for your garden and property, if not choose another tree
- Where any underground pipes/sewer lines are
Following these steps will prevent any future problems to your property and plumbing system, allowing you and your family to enjoy your tree for years to come.