Your septic system may be working properly for years, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never need emergency septic repair. If your drain field has trees and shrubs growing on or around it, there’s a backup just waiting to happen. Roots grow through small cracks and create leaks or blockages. Even if you have only grass over the leach field, which all professional installers recommend, you should still inspect the area for danger signs.
Swampy patches of grass could indicate a leaking or clogged system. If an area of grass seems very lush, this could be due to a small leak or crack. You’ll want to have that looked at immediately. The problem with roots is that they’re not seen or heard so you need to look for clues like this to keep your septic system free of root damage, leaks and backups.
Roots, Barriers and the Line of Least Resistance
If you have trees and shrubs near the leach field, you can encourage them to grow their roots away from the septic lines with proper landscaping techniques. Loosen the soil on the opposite side of your septic system and fertilize with tree food. Shrub roots can be coaxed away by this strategy too. If this method is not enough of a deterrent, try installing root barriers.
Root barriers can be made of plastic, metal, or a geotextile material. This type of barrier can release chemicals that kill roots nearing your system. This is like a time release system that continues to send out the chemical herbicide as it biodegrades for years. This is the most costly barrier method and the most effective. There are other chemicals that destroy roots but they may be too caustic and cause some pipe damage if not used properly.
Edited by Justin Vorhees