A tree located above or near your septic system is one of the greatest threats to your pipes and plumbing. It's just a matter of time before the roots find hairline cracks in the pipes, burrow their way in and clog the lines. Large roots can dislodge or damage old pipes and do all kinds of expensive damage. All trees have the potential to damage septic systems, but these three are the most aggressive and should be removed unless you want to fight a never-ending battle against backed-up toilets.
All trees in the willow family love water. There is a good reason why willow trees are used to stabilize creek beds: Once they get their roots in the wet ground, they don't let go. Unlike some tree species that don't tolerate damp soil and wet roots, willows love these conditions. They are aggressive in their pursuit of water, and will send their roots along the pipe and right into your basement. Their roots can spread far beyond the spread of their canopies and these trees grow quickly, so a willow tree near your septic system should be removed as soon as possible.
Silver, red and sugar maples also love water and flourish in the wet conditions that septic tanks and leach fields create. You might think your maple is far enough from your septic system, but like other shade trees, it can grow a root system dozens of feet wider than its canopy. Its roots extend further than you think and will probably wind around your septic pipes. While maples are beautiful trees, it's best to plant and admire them elsewhere and remove the ones near your septic system.
People plant pine trees near septic systems because they mistakenly believe pines have "shallow" roots and are therefore safe, but they are not. Pine trees may have shallow roots compared to other trees – which is why they blow over in heavy wind while others don't – but this doesn't make them any safer for your septic system. Septic pipes are only a few feet underground, well within reach of pine tree roots. While pine trees don't grow well in dry soil, they thrive on the moist, highly fertile soil surrounding septic pipes and tanks. Pine roots are not "too shallow" to damage underground plumbing. They are slow-growing but will work hard to get at the nutrients in the pipes and need to be removed before they do their damage.
These three common trees are very likely to cause problems with your septic system. Ripping up the roots or flushing root-killing additives down the toilet won't keep these tree roots out of your pipes for long. Call a tree tree removal service to get rid of these trees before they ruin your septic system. It will be a worthwhile investment that can keep your drain lines open and intact and spare you lots of future headaches.