Developing a gardening plan is going to allow you to avoid making expensive mistakes down the road. Learn how the placement of your plants and shrubs can affect your home sewer system!

When it comes to planning a garden, most homeowners tend to stick plants, trees, and shrubs wherever they think they will look the best. However, you should exercise some caution! The lovely spot that you think would be perfect to plant a new tree just may be sitting on top on your home’s sewer system. Did you know that root intrusion, from both shrubs and trees, is one of the most financially devastating issues when it comes to home sewer systems? We assure you that you do not want to see the plumber repair bills from having to have that issue fixed!

Before you begin planting anything in your garden, it is going to be imperative that you locate your sewer lateral. A sewer lateral is the lateral sewer line that extends from your home’s land to the city’s main sewer line. In most instances, maintenance of the sewer lateral is the homeowner’s responsibility. If a break in the line or a buildup of blockage occurs, it can have dire consequences. Waste will cease to be transported away from your home, and instead, it will begin to back up into your yard. Plant and tree roots are the #2 cause of sewer line blockage.

After you’ve located your lateral sewer, the next step will be to locate your home’s cleanout. This is a 4 inch wide pipe that protrudes from the ground. It acts as an easy access point for plumbers to reach the sewer lateral if a blockage was to occur. Once you’ve located both of these points, in your mind, draw an imaginary line between them. This is your new “Do Not Plant!” zone.

Additionally, before you plant any type of shrub or tree in your yard, learn more about how far reaching its roots will grow. For some trees, roots can actually grow outwards of several hundred feet. By learning how quickly and how far your plants’ roots will grow, you can plant it far enough away from your sewer lateral and cleanout to ensure that it won’t cause any serious damage to the pipes later on.

Before you decide to break out the shovel and your favorite gardening gloves, take the time to do your homework about the type of plant you will be planting and its location. Your planning and forethought will certainly pay off in the long run!