Trees are an integral part of our environment, yet they can reek absolute havoc on your plumbing system. The best way to prevent trees from doing so is to be proactive in which trees you choose for your landscape and where you plant them. Left unchecked, tree roots can do significant damage to your pipes.

Why do trees cause plumbing issues?

The main purpose of a tree’s root is to seek out moisture in order to nourish the tree and help it grow. Pipes are a prime source of moisture, nutrients and oxygen so roots are going to grow toward them. Once a root finds a leak in your plumbing system, it will grow into the pipe and inhibit flow, create blockages and even break the pipes themselves.

How to avoid root damage to your pipes.

Before you plant any trees in your yard, contact your local municipality about located your sewer lines. In most areas, they will send someone out to map the location of sewer lines.

Use this information to plant trees wisely. Apart from choosing trees, and even shrubs, that have a smaller root base, plant them away from sewer lines.

It is possible to protect the pipes, no matter if any trees are close by. A physical barrier can be applied in the form of a compound around the pipe in order to deter roots and prevent them from pushing through and causing damage. This is a tricky process, and is best left to a professional plumber.

Types of trees to avoid near your pipes.

Some trees possess roots that grow wide and far in search of moisture. These aggressive root systems are best kept away from your plumbing system. The following trees are examples of those with vigorous and shallow roots:

  • Willow
  • Beech
  • Mulberry
  • Aspen
  • Poplar
  • Maple
  • Elm
  • Magnolia
  • Birch
  • Citrus
  • Oak

How do I know if trees in my yard are ruining my plumbing?

If you haven’t mapped out your sewer lines, and are unsure if any of the trees on your property are in proximity to it, you may notice certain issues in your plumbing system that could indicate root-related damage. Regular clogs, slow draining and bubbling in your toilet when you flush could all be signs of a root problem in your plumbing system. The best way to determine if this is the cause is to have a camera inspection of your pipes performed by a professional plumber.

What to do if trees are damaging your pipes.

Once it has been determined that trees are the cause of your plumbing woes, you can remove the roots chemically with a special product that will destroy the root without affecting your pipes or surrounding plant life. While this is the easiest method of dealing with tree damage to pipes, it is very important that you follow the instructions carefully or have a professional perform the task.

You can also use a sewer auger to remove the root. This is a special mechanical cutter that features sharp teeth on a rotating arm. This will cut through the root and allow you to remove it.

If damage has been done to the pipes, they may need to be dug up and repaired. Again, this is best left to professional plumbers who can dig up the damaged pipes and replace the broken system.

Worried that your trees may be ruining your pipes? Contact Peak Sewers for more information.