Sewer-Safe Landscaping: Choosing Your Trees With CareTree roots intruding into sewer lines can create blockages that back up waste into homes and business and overflows into streets. This jeopardizes the health of the entire community and requires a costly and unpleasant cleanup for everyone involved. Sewer-safe landscaping minimizes the chances that tree roots will grow into sewer lines. Take some important planting steps to avoid future plumbing repairs and crises.


Check with your local public works office to find out where the sewer lines, drain field and connection pipes run. Tree need to be planted a minimum of 10 feet from sewer lines to prevent root intrusion.


Root barriers are installed by many municipalities to prevent roots from growing into sidewalks and curbs. They’re not always installed around sewer lines, though, so contact your public works department for more information. Even with barriers, preventing the tree root spread from interfering with your home’s water supply is generally your responsibility.

Tree Selection

No tree is 100 percent guaranteed not to invade sewer lines but there are many varieties that make it less likely. For more sewer-safe landscaping, choose trees that are slow-growing with shallow root systems such as:

Flowering dogwood – Small, ornamental flowering tree which rarely grows taller than 15-25 feet in developed areas. It’s a bushy tree known for it’s striking display when in full bloom during spring.

Crape myrtle – This small, multi-stemmed tree is known for its prolific summer flowers. It has high heat and drought tolerance and provides year-round landscape interest. Keep this tree small with regular trimming.

Prairie crab apple – With a mature height of up to 20 feet, this flowering tree produces beautiful blooms in the spring and fruit for birds and small animals in the fall. The leaves start out purple and develop to reddish-green as they mature.

Goldenrain tree – Displaying showy yellow blossoms in summer, this tree can grow to 40 feet high. It adapts to many soil types and tolerates air pollution and drought well.

Avoid planting species such as ash, poplar, locust, oak and willow near sewer lines as they have aggressive root systems. Please contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more ways to plan sewer-safe landscaping.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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