Tree roots can damage your sprinkler system in several ways
Physical intrusion: Tree roots naturally seek sources of water, and if they come into contact with sprinkler pipes or fittings, they can grow around them and even penetrate them. As the roots expand, they can cause cracks or breaks in the pipes, leading to leaks or complete system failure.
Pressure on pipes: As tree roots grow, they can exert pressure on underground pipes, especially if the pipes are older or made of more fragile materials. Consequently, this pressure can cause the pipes to become misaligned, warped, or crushed, disrupting the water flow and damaging the sprinkler system.
Blockage of water flow: Tree roots have a tendency to absorb moisture, and if they infiltrate the sprinkler system pipes, they can create blockages that restrict the flow of water. This can result in reduced water pressure, uneven distribution of water across the lawn, or complete clogging of the system.
Disruption of sprinkler heads: In some cases, tree roots can grow close to the surface and cause the soil to shift or swell. This movement can dislodge or tilt sprinkler heads, affecting their performance and altering the direction of water spray.
Interference with valves and control mechanisms: Sprinkler systems are equipped with valves and control mechanisms that regulate water flow. Furthermore, if tree roots infiltrate these components, they can interfere with their proper functioning. Roots may wrap around or damage valves, leading to leaks or malfunctioning of the system.
Tree roots may not be the only issue causing backup in your drainage system. Click here to learn more about why your drainage is not working properly.
To prevent tree roots from damaging a sprinkler system, some preventive measures can be taken
Plan the landscaping: When planting trees, consider the mature size and growth patterns of the species. Plant trees a safe distance away from the sprinkler system to minimize the risk of root intrusion.
Install root barriers: Root barriers are physical barriers placed in the ground between trees and the sprinkler system. They create a vertical barrier that prevents root penetration and guides the roots away from the pipes.
Regular maintenance: Conduct routine inspections of the sprinkler system to identify any signs of root intrusion or damage. If roots are detected, they can be carefully trimmed or removed by a professional to prevent further harm.
Choose appropriate pipe materials: When installing or repairing a sprinkler system, opt for durable, root-resistant pipe materials. PVC pipes are often more resistant to root intrusion compared to older clay or concrete pipes.
What to do
If you suspect that tree roots damaged your sprinkler system, it is advisable to consult a professional irrigation specialist. Additionally, they can assess the extent of the damage and recommend the necessary repairs or modifications to ensure the proper functioning of your sprinkler system.
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