Tree roots in your sewer lines: how to prevent and detect them

Mature trees may be a beautiful addition to streets and landscapes but their roots can wreak havoc on sewer pipes.

Tree roots are one of the most common causes of blockages, damage and deterioration to sewer lines and unfortunately more often than not, by the time issues have been identified, a full overhaul of the draining system is required.

Fortunately, when you know what to be on the lookout for most problems caused by tree roots can be spotted early, prevented or corrected before they cause expensive damage.

Why do tree roots block sewer lines?

Drain pipes make attractive environments for tree roots. As the water that contains nutrients and oxygen flows through the pipes, tree roots find their way into small cracks and once inside take over the pipes completely.

As the tree roots grow; debris in the pipes such as grease, grit and items that shouldn’t be flushed get tangled and before you know it the main sewer line can become entirely blocked.

Signs your sewer pipes may be blocked by tree roots

If your drain is moving slowly or making gurgling noises and all other unblocking methods have been tried and tested, roots may be the culprit and they will have to be removed from the pipes. If the roots have caused any significant damage, the pipes may need to be replaced entirely.

3 tips to prevent this from happening

1. Choose small trees that don’t have aggressive root systems; as a rule, the bigger the tree, the bigger the root system! When planting new trees, ensure they are at least 10ft away from sewer lines.  If you notice any trees getting significantly large, consider moving them before their root systems get too out of hand.

2. Install root guards which act as a physical barrier to protect your plumbing and pipes from aggressive roots. Root barriers come in the form of solid barriers; made from either fibreglass or plastic, or permeable barriers which are made from mesh. If you’re not sure what is more suitable for your garden, we can advise.

3. If your pipes haven’t yet been affected by roots but are at risk, you can ask a specialist to reline your pipes. This creates a barrier to the tree roots penetrating and is a good option if you already have large established trees in your garden that you’re unable to move.

If you’re concerned about the size and location of any trees on your property or think you may be dealing with a drain blockage caused by tree roots then contact us today. We can organise an inspection and have the tools of the trade to tackle any tree root issues your drains may have!

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