Tree Roots Are Your Worst Enemy In Plumbing

Posted on: December 13th, 2016 by admin

Orlando Homeowners Should Know How Danger Is A Tree Roots In Their Plumbing System

Plumbing Problems

Trees may be beautiful touches of nature and capable of adding shade and style to your yard, but they can also come with hidden dangers. The roots of a tree will burrow into the ground and seek out nutrients and water, as roots are liable to do, but this activity can put them at odds with your home’s sewer pipes.

So how can you tell if you already have problems with root invasion? Read more To know what are the plumbing problems caused by a tree roots.

Plumbing Problems Caused by Tree Roots

Replacing or repairing a sewer line can be a big, expensive job, and tree roots are one of the most common causes of plumbing problems outside the home. Homeowners are usually responsible for maintaining and repairing the sewer lateral, which is the underground pipe that carries a home’s waste to the city sewer system. Knowing how to detect and prevent tree root problems can help you avoid costly repairs.


Trees needs water, oxygen and nutrients to survive, and the sewer pipes running underground outside your home have a bountiful supply of them. If a tree isn’t getting what it needs from the ground, it sends tiny feeder roots in search of nutrients and water. The root system can be thousands of feet long, and extend as much as seven times the height of the tree.

If sewer pipes have cracks, holes, or joints that aren’t sealed tightly, moisture vapor will escape, and tree roots will find their way into the opening. Once a root has entered a pipe, it will continue to grow into a root mass that can partially or completely block the line, or even break it. A sewage leak is an unsanitary, expensive problem to fix.

Clay tile and terra cotta pipes are highly susceptible to root intrusion and damage by tree roots, while concrete pipes offer a little more resistance. PVC pipes are usually less likely to leak, because they have tightly sealed joints, and less of them than other types of pipe.


Knowing how to recognize tree root problems can help you catch and treat them early, minimizing the damage they cause. Occasional drain clogs are common, and usually nothing to worry about. But, if you notice frequent clogs that are difficult to clear, gurgling sounds from the toilet, and overflowing or slow-moving drains, it could be a sign that you have roots in your sewer line.


Plan Your Landscape

A little research and planning before you do any landscaping can prevent expensive plumbing and sewer issues in the future. Before planting trees or landscaping, contact the free national “Call Before you Dig” line at 811 to find where your underground utilities like electric and cable lines and water, gas and sewer pipes are located. When landscaping, avoid planting large trees near sewer lines, so they will be less likely to send roots into the pipes looking for water and nutrients.

Make sure the plants or trees you’ve selected will have enough room for their root systems to grow, and that your soil has enough nutrients and water for them. Trees & plants known to cause plumbing damage include Willow trees, Magnolia trees, Poplar trees, Birch trees, Citrus trees, Oak trees, boxwood shrubs, holly bushes, ivy plants. Shrubs and bushes are often planted along the foundation of a home; if they don’t get enough water or nutrients, the roots branch out to look for what they need and can enter the home’s plumbing system or foundation.

Block Roots

You can also use physical and chemical barriers to limit root growth into your home’s sewer lines. Copper sulfate and potassium hydroxide release slowly into the ground and prevent roots from growing in the area. Wood or metal barriers can also be buried vertically next to the pipe, and about 6-12 inches deeper, will block roots.

Inspection and Maintenance

A qualified plumber, like those at Raby Plumbing, can use a video camera on a flexible rod to inspect the sewer pipe for roots or other blockages. Then, the lines can be cleaned and cleared of any clogs or debris stuck to the inside of the line.


Raby Plumbing can run a video camera through your sewer line to inspect it without digging up your yard. If tree roots have entered the pipes, we’ll be able to see exactly where they are and how bad the problem is.


Fixing damage from tree roots depends on the situation, so we would need to evaluate your situation and determine the best solution. If you have tree roots in your pipes, Raby Plumbing can bore them out of cast iron, heavy plastic, or clay tile pipe. If the pipes have thin walls, however, the cutting blades on the machine could break through the wall of the pipe.

Unfortunately, de-rooting drain lines is not a long-term solution, because the end of the root remains in the crack or joint and will continue to regrow. At some point, those roots will cause the pipe to break and need to be replaced. A video sewer line inspection can help determine the extent of the damage, so you can get an idea how soon you may need to replace the pipes.

Most of the time, the pipes that connect your home to the sewer or water system are an “out of sight, out of mind” affair.

Since they’re so hidden, root infiltration into your pipes can catch homeowners by surprise, and if left unchecked, they can lead to sewer backups, burst pipes, and more. Before this things happen you can contact a professional plumber in Orlando to have a check in your plumbing system line. Call us today at (407) 641-1544.

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