Can You Really Get Tree Roots In Your Pipes?

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Blocked sewer drains. What a headache! Nobody likes obstructed sewer drains. Everything in the household may be put out of action as a result of obstruction. If left unattended and ignored the problem only ends up being even worse. But with the ideal devices and know-how, the problem can be fixed in an efficient and timely manner.

So you may be asking, if the plumbing is made of strong materials, can tree roots really get into them?

Yes. Tree roots are the primary cause of blockages in drain pipelines.

Why do tree roots enter pipes?

When hunting for water and nutrients, roots make drain and pipes prime targets. Some tree roots are as thin as a hair of hair and can snake their way through even the smallest join in between 2 pipes.

Tree roots require oxygen to grow. They do not grow in pipes that have lots of water or where high groundwater conditions prevail. Roots flourish in the warm, wet, nutrient abundant environment above the water surface inside sanitary pipelines.

The circulation of warm water inside the sanitary sewer pipeline triggers water vapour to get away to the cold soil surrounding the pipeline. The leading pointer of tree roots can identify minute differences in moisture and nutrients and tend to grow in the spaces where these can be found.

On reaching a fracture or joint in the pipeline, tree roots will permeate the opening to reach the nutrients and moisture inside the pipeline. This phenomenon continues in winter although trees appear to be dormant.

As soon as inside the pipeline, roots will continue to grow, and if not disturbed, they may entirely fill the pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry.

How do tree roots block pipes?

Once inside, roots can catch the nasties put down the sewer, such as cooking fats. This can trigger blockages, leaving you with not just an unpleasant clean-up, but a pricey plumbing expense.

How can I prevent obstructions triggered by roots?

Avoidance is constantly better than a cure because tree roots often return to the exact same pipe they were cleared from. Therefore, our suggestion is to consider the types of plants growing near your pipelines.

Garden yards and plants have fibrous root systems, which grow on the upper soil layers and are less likely to cause sewer line problems.

Consider what size the plant will be when it’s completely grown. We advise slow-growing trees and shrubs with non-aggressive root systems and avoid ‘tap root’ systems that grow vertically downward.

Avoid Planting

  • Figs
  • Bottlebrushes
  • Paperbarks

Try Planting

  • Lemon Myrtle
  • Tulipwood
  • Native Gardenia
  • Ask your local nursery for recommendations

Our Pointers to Avoid Drain Blockages

  • Do not plant too near to drain pipes. As a basic guideline, a minimum of three meters from the pipe.
  • Prevent planting near freshly laid pipes as roots are attracted to softer soil.
  • If you’re unsure where your pipelines are, request a drain strategy from your local council.
  • Call a service like Dial Before You Dig so you understand where sewer pipelines and other utilities lie.
  • Similarly, ask your regional nursery to recommend plants with non-invasive roots.
  • Finally, set up a root barrier. Sold at hardware shops and nurseries, root barriers are made from heavy cloth or plastic and are positioned in the ground to contain a plant’s root system.

Case Study

One of our Brisbane northside clients was relieved with the innovation and specialised equipment that was utilized by The Brisbane Plumbers to clear their drains. With an established garden and narrow paths to their period design home, it was modern-day equipment that came to the rescue.

The old earthenware drains were invaded with tree roots from the rear of the home to the front of the property. The powerful water jet made short work of clearing the entire bore of the earthenware sewer drains. Subsequently, different water jet nozzles were used to remove the tree roots and the drains were flushed clear. After that, inspection of the earthenware drains with our drain camera offered reassurance of the condition and stability of the drains. 

Firstly, the house owner observed the very first indications of a sluggish streaming drain system by hearing gurgling noises from toilet bowls and observing damp locations around ground drains after finishing the laundry. If no remedial action was taken to remove and further control root growth, a total clog may have happened.

Repairing The Pipes

The Brisbane Plumbers doesn’t just offer services to fix the clog. In most cases when a tree root has gotten itself into your pipes, it can cause further damage to the whole system as these roots grow. The Brisbane Plumbers are experts in pipe relining, a service that can repair your pipes without the need for excavation, trenches or digging. If you want to find out more about how we can repair your pipes, give us a call.

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