Signs of Tree Root Invasion and How Fix the Problem

A common rule of thumb when planning a home or other structure is to ensure that all septic tanks are at least 100 feet away from trees. However, due to oversight or simply not enough space, there are times when this rule is not applied, and roots can wreak havoc on your pipe systems.

How do I know if my sewer line is broken?

Tree roots can be strong enough to bend or even break pipes leading to the septic tank when too close to the home.

In some instances, the tree roots can expand and begin to grow into the pipes, which may take longer to notice and even longer to repair.

If you have been noticing some issues with the functioning of your septic tank or sewer lines and think it may be due to a tree root, we suggest searching for the following signs:

Moist Soil and Land 

If you have a septic tank and the land (plants, dirt, soil, etc.) found near your septic tank is moister than usual, it’s a good indication that your septic tank has been broken. Once the tank breaks, water escapes from the tank, leaving you with extra soft ground.

Foul Smell

A foul smell is probably the most obvious (and noticeable) sign that something is wrong with the septic tank. Once your pipe is broken, it is not only water escaping but also the waste, causing a less than desirable smell.

Green Grass Sprouting

Combine the excess water, the compost (in this case, human waste), and the nutrients that come from the tree root itself, and you have the perfect atmosphere to grow. However, we highly suggest finding other, more convenient ways to start your own garden.

Everything Goes a Bit Slower

If it seems like your toilet is taking a bit too long to flush, or your drains aren’t draining quite as fast as before, you may have roots blocking the system.

You can attempt to manually unclog, but if it is a tree doing the damage, you will need the services of a professional sewer cleaning plumber.

Now that you have established whether or not you have a root problem, you may find yourself with other questions.

How much to fix a broken sewer line?

We are frequently asked about the cost of replacing your sewer line. This will directly reflect how much the sewer needs to be replaced.

Your septic tank has three major pieces; your tank, your waste pipe, and your distribution pipe.

In some cases, one or two of these can be salvaged; however, if the missing piece is not properly installed with the older pieces, then you can expect even more damage.

Prices will vary depending on what service you use, but on average, you are looking at about $3,000-$6,000 or rather $75-$100 per foot.

Tree root removal can be a complicated process that may take several days to complete without the use of specialized equipment. A professional plumber will be more than happy to guide you through every step of replacing your sewer system.

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Mas Broto

Written by: Mas Broto

Mas Broto is a small business owner with 30 years experience in the real estate industry. He is the founder and editor of, the most comprehensive free home improvement website on the planet!