Planting a Tree Near a Sprinkler Line

Q: I am planting a 7 gallon Heritage River Birch tree. I dug out a 4′ diameter hole about 3′ deep (I know its over-kill, but I hope that tree thanks me for it). At any rate, I hit a sprinkler line on the outer edge of that big hole.

If I fix the pipe, will the tree damage it again?

A: If there is an eventual problem, it will come from the roots increasing in size near the pipe and thereby cracking it – they won’t try to “invade” it because the roots don’t know it is a water pipe and not something inert, like a rock.

My inclination is to say leave things as they are. It’s not a certainty that the roots will harm the pipe, and if they do, you’ll see a pool of water there when you turn on the sprinkler system and can repair it then.

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