Tree Roots Clogging Underground Pipes

Are Tree Roots Clogging up your Underground Pipes?

Trees add beauty to your yard. They provide much-needed shade in the hot summer months and put on a beautiful display each fall. To keep them maintained, it’s obvious you need to trim them back and away from the house, but have you considered what’s going on underground? If you don’t keep an eye on the root growth, you could end up with unexpected (and expensive) maintenance.

 

Why Tree Roots and Pipes Don’t Mix

Every plant needs food, and trees are no exception. Your sewer line is an especially tasty treat for trees, since it’s essentially comprised of fertilizer.

 

Even the smallest leak in a sewer pipe can appeal to your trees. When your trees detect a leak, their small, hair-like feeder roots will reach out for  nourishment. The feeder roots will reach through any gaps or holes, and they’ll keep growing throughout the pipes. Eventually, they may clog the pipe altogether.

 

Water mains are also appealing to your trees. They will grow out their feeder roots in search of water, particularly in the winter months when water is scarcer.

 

Older pipes that are made of concrete or clay are especially vulnerable, as they’re more likely to crack. PVC pipes are sturdier and less likely to be vulnerable to tree roots.

 

Signs You May Have a Root Clog in Your Sewer Line

As mentioned above, the tiniest of cracks in your water pipes are like a magnet to a tree root, and they will seek them out. The signs of a tree intruding into your sewer and water lines might appear gradually over time, however, some of the signals that would trigger you to call us are:

  • Your tub or sink is draining slowly
  • Your drains or toilet are making gurgling sounds
  • Your toilet is backing up unexpectedly
  • Your tubs, sinks, or toilets are clogging up with no obvious explanation
  • Unexpected low water pressure
  • Less water is available in your household
  • Banging or gurgling sounds

We’ll often find that a backed up drain in the bathroom is not due to nature, rather human hair. Read this article for how to deal a drain that is blocked with hair.

 

Signs of a Major Breach to Your Sewer or Water Line

Small leaks tend to go unnoticed and cause damage over time. However, if there is a large crack in the waterlines or sewer pipes, this is a huge problem and needs to be addressed ASAP. Some things you might notice:

  • A sudden, unexplained drop in available water
  • A sudden, unexplained drop in water pressure
  • Unexplained increases in your water bill
  • Offensive and unexplained smell in your basement or yard
  • Banging noises from your pipes
  • Water or sewage puddles in your yard

 

Preventing Tree Root Problems

 

Prune Trees and Bushes

Keeping your trees maintained can help prevent problems with your pipes. A few ways to do that include:

  • Avoid planting trees near water or sewer lines.
  • Fertilize and water your trees regularly so they don’t need to branch out to get their nutrients.
  • Plant trees that don’t have aggressive root systems. Trees to avoid include oaks, willows, and birches.
  • If you have older pipes, have a plumber check them for leaks and assess whether they need to be repaired or replaced.
  • If you notice any of the issues mentioned above, have a plumber check it out as soon as possible.

 

Be Proactive

If there’s any chance your trees could be interfering with your pipes, it’s important to have someone check it out right away. Tree root problems will worsen with time, making repairs more complicated and expensive. We can examine your pipes to determine whether there’s a problem and recommend a solution. Contact us today for more information on keeping your pipes healthy while still enjoying your trees.

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