If tree roots invade your sewer line, your plumbing system could face serious and costly damage that may require intrusive repair procedures. Preventing tree root invasion is clearly preferable to dealing with an invasion that is already occurring. Leaks in your sewer lines are unsanitary and pose a variety of health threats.

Unfortunately, tree roots have a natural tendency to seek out sewer lines that are leaking because they are bountiful sources of water. However, you can prevent tree root invasion using the following practices:

Landscape with care

You can minimize the chances of tree root invasion by keeping large trees with deep roots away from sewer lines. Plant only smaller trees near your sewer lines that grow slowly. If you have larger trees near your lines, you might want to have the pipes replaced every 10 years or so.

Spread chemical growth inhibitors

There are chemicals that you can spread around your pipes to keep tree roots away. Copper sulfate and potassium hydroxide are two chemical preparations that are often sprinkled on the ground around pipes to prevent tree roots from getting at them.

Line your pipes

Pipes that are lined with an epoxy liner or some other type of lining material are extra resistant to root invasion. Pipes are usually lined to fix an invasion problem once tree roots have already invaded, but pipe lining can also be used as a precaution against invasion.

A liner can seal off a pipe that has root-attracting leaks in it. Certain trenchless repair processes allow pipes to be lined without having to dig up pipes and disturb a home's landscaping.

Put copper sulfate crystals down your sewer lines

If you put copper sulfate crystals or rock salt down your drains regularly, you will avoid root invasion even if your sewer line has a leak.

These substances kill roots. However, they are toxic and may also kill vegetation in your yard. You'll need to use copper sulfate and rock salt carefully to avoid completely killing trees in your yard.

Know the warning signs

The sooner you address a tree root invasion issue, the less damage your plumbing system will suffer. Warning signs such as frequent drain clogging or unusual noises coming from your drain or toilet could indicate that your sewer line has been invaded by roots.

Have your sewer lines inspected regularly

You can be confident that you will avoid tree root invasion if you regularly have a plumber inspect your system. A plumber can have a look around your home and warn you of any hazardous situations in your home or yard that may leave your pipes susceptible to tree root invasion.