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smokingun 03-19-2008 11:38 AM

Can Willow Oak roots damage irrigation sys?
I'm considering planting a young willow oak tree in my new-built front yard (1/4 acre yard), 6 feet adjacent to the neighbor's yard in a typical new subdivision. However, both me and my neighbor have newly installed underground sprinkler systems with lines in the lawn.

I can easily avoid damage to the tree and the sprinklers when planting it, but I've heard as the tree grows, willow oak roots can spread out and damage the existing sprinkler system lines.

I'm not sure if the warning is really about WILLOW trees, or if willow oaks and/or other trees can cause this problem too.

Should I go ahead with the willow oak or is there a better tree to choose, either for this reason or any other? Any trees someone might recommend over a willow oak?

kimberland30 03-19-2008 03:42 PM

I'm no expert, but I'd go with a different tree. Although we have an unspecified species oak tree in our front yard, I believe the root system is the same as a willow oak. Granted, our tree is over 75' feet tall right now, but the roots give us nothing but problems. We are about to cut one huge surface root because it has jacked up the concrete in our driveway and sidewalk to the house. I have flowerbeds around the tree, some even 12' away, and the roots are present everywhere. It will be years before a newly planted tree will do damage, but I won't plant another oak in our property because of the issues we have with this one.

troubleseeker 03-20-2008 08:32 PM

Roots from any species of tree will give any pipes containing moisture a "problem" if conditions are right, doesn't matter if it is sewer, irrigation, sub surface drainage, etc.

The tiny roots are just doing their job of searching for a water supply for the tree. The "right conditions"means that there is some type of crack in the pipe itself or in one or more joints. This is how the roots get into the pipe....tree roots CANNOT penetrate throught a pipe, they just take advantage of failure.

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