If you like to do your own gardening and plant your own trees, shrubs and flowers, there is one thing you need to be very careful about--planting deep-root items near sewer lines. Although civil engineering has done its part to make sure your sewer lines and city plumbing are well below the surface, there are still some trees and shrubs that will reach as far down as it takes to get to a water source. These specific trees and shrubs are ones you should avoid planting in your front and side yards, unless you want to pay civil engineers (such as Morris-Depew Associates Inc) to redesign and reconstruct all the damaged pipes your landscaping causes.
Trees with Deep Root Systems
Usually, trees with deep roots are desirable, especially when they are planted in areas that frequently suffer from drought and erosion. However, trees with deep roots that are unintentionally planted too close to sewer lines and city sewer systems cause thousands of dollars of damage. If it is determined by civil engineers not to be a failure on the part of the construction crew or on city planning, then the problem can be traced to you, which could result in you paying for all of the damages caused by your tree(s). Avoid planting these trees too close to your street, the front of your house and the sides:
Shrubs with Deep Roots
Likewise there are some shrubs that you should avoid planting close to city and residential plumbing. Their taproots are often longer than the shrubs are tall. Shrubs you should keep in your backyard away from any possible pipelines are:
- Wild Rose
- Red Osier Dogwood
- Pacific ninebark
In addition to avoiding planting these shrubs where they could cause a civil engineering nightmare, you also need to remember that the drier the conditions are where you live, the deeper these bushes will go to get to a source of water, no matter how foul that water may be.
What You Can Plant Instead
Instead of trees in your front yard or trees too close to the road, plant some pleasant smelling, flowering shrubs with shallow root systems. Lilacs and honeysuckle are popular favorites, and if you buy the hardy varieties, they will resist drought without extending their roots all the way down to sewer pipes. If you really want some shade but want to avoid any root disasters, fruit trees provide flowers in the spring, shade in the summer and fruit in the fall.