Trees are an integral part of our environment and can enhance your yard. However, 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?

Tree roots are designed to seek out moisture to nourish the tree and help it grow. Pipes offer a major source of moisture, nutrients, and oxygen, encouraging roots to grow towards them. As soon as a tree root finds its way into a leak in your plumbing system, it will continue to grow into the pipe. This inhibits water flow, creates blockages, and in extreme cases, causes the pipe to break.

Avoiding root damage to your pipes

Before planting any trees in your yard, contact your local municipality to locate 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. Choose your trees wisely. Consider trees and shrubs with a smaller root base, and plant them away from pipes and sewer lines on your property.

Consider installing a physical barrier, such as a compound around the pipe, to deter roots and prevent them from pushing through pipes and causing damage. This is a tricky process, and is best left to a professional plumber.

Types of trees to avoid near your pipes

Certain tree roots will grow wide and far to seek out moisture. These types of trees should be planted far away from your home’s plumbing system. The following trees should be planted far away from your home’s plumbing system to prevent root issues:

  • 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 are not familiar with your home’s sewer lines and have trees growing in your yard, you may be at risk for root-related sewer damage. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Regular clogs in your sewer lines
  • Slow draining
  • Bubbling in your toilet
  • Sinkholes in your yard
  • Puddles in your yard

If you notice any of these issues, you should contact a professional right away. A sewer camera inspection will help to determine if tree roots are to blame for your sewer problems.

What to do if trees are damaging your pipes

If sewer roots are the cause of your plumbing woes, they can be removed with a special chemical product designed to destroy the roots without impacting your pipes or the surrounding plant life. This is the easiest method for addressing tree root damage to pipes. However, it is important to follow instructions carefully or have a professional perform the task.

Roots can also be removed using a sewer auger. This is a mechanical cutter that features sharp teeth on a rotating arm to cut through the roots so that they can be easily removed.

If the pipes are damaged, they may need to be dug up and repaired. This is best left to professional technicians 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.

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