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How Can Tree Roots Impact Your Plumbing?

Mature trees surrounding your home to provide shade and beauty is commonly a highly sought after feature in the real estate world. However, one downside to having trees in close proximity to your house is the potential for their roots to interfere with your plumbing system. Tree roots will often travel a good distance in search of moisture, and sometimes that means they will interfere with the underground pipes surrounding your home.

As they grow, they can cause blockages and damage to the plumbing that extends from your house requiring professional plumbing repair. Being aware of the signs of tree root damage can be helpful in identifying and fixing issues before they become catastrophes. Find out how tree roots can impact your plumbing.

Different Ways Tree Roots Can Leave You in Need of Plumbing Repair

Mature trees have a complex root system that can stretch twice the diameter of the tree’s canopy. Roots will expand out to find as much moisture as possible to grow or maintain the tree. While you probably want your trees to have a healthy root system so they can survive, there is no way to determine exactly where those roots will travel over time.


Drainage and sewer pipes from your home contain not only water, but also oxygen and organic waste which are nutrients trees need to survive. If the pipes in your plumbing system are leaking, that can draw tree roots towards the pipes as the root system searches for moisture and nutrients. Therefore, it’s a common problem for growing tree roots to intrude on the piping systems of home, especially older ones.

Today’s preferred piping material among most plumbers is PVC, which is better at withstanding pressure from expanding tree roots compared to older iron and clay pipes. It is less likely for PVC to have leaky seams that will allow tree roots in and cause cracking, bending, and breaking apart of the pipe. Regardless of the material chosen for your home’s piping, though, there is still a chance tree roots will become a problem requiring immediate plumbing repair.

Impact Drainage Pipes

It may seem impossible for tree roots to break into your underground piping, but don’t be so quick to underestimate their power. Tree roots can be a formidable force against drainage pipes if those pipes are in the way of where they want to go. It’s not uncommon for tree roots to penetrate the piping and continue growing down the pipes, often creating a significant interference with water flow.



Additionally, debris that is being drained from your house such as hair, grease, and food, can become entangled between the tree roots in the pipe, making the problem worse. It’s always a good idea to avoid sending a lot of debris down your drains, but this is just one more reason why.

Blocking Sewer Lines

Tree roots don’t discriminate against the type of home plumbing they interfere with. Not only can they invade your home’s drainage pipes, but they can also wreak havoc on your sewer lines. Roots can enter your sewer lines underground causing a nasty backup that no one wants to deal with.

When tree roots have caused a blockage in your sewer lines, you’ll usually first notice a foul smell coming from your toilets, sinks, and shower drains. This can pose serious health risks to your family as well as cause an unpleasant living environment. At this point, it’s crucial to enlist the help of plumbing repair professionals as soon as possible to avoid waste from backing up into your home.

How to Tell if Tree Roots Are Becoming a Plumbing Repair Problem

Knowing how to tell if tree roots are starting to interfere with your home’s plumbing is critical. Tree root damage gets worse the longer it’s left unfixed. Therefore, it’s important to understand the sign of tree root damage on your piping and sewer lines so you can stay one step ahead. Don’t delay when you notice any of these signs – call a plumbing professional quickly.


Reduced Water Pressure

If you’ve recently experienced a significant or sudden reduction in water pressure, it is worth looking into the possibility of tree root damage. Root damage can impede water flow in pipes and even cause pipes to break or leak, leaving you with less water pressure. In severe cases, the tree roots can cause a nearly complete blockage of water flow, interfering with your home’s water availability.

Drainage Delays

If your toilets, sinks, showers, or bathtubs have trouble draining, it’s likely because of a pipe blockage somewhere. If the drain is clear, it could be that a tree root has entered the pipe further downstream resulting in water backing up or draining much slower than normal. The key is to catch the problem as early as possible before piping gets cracked or breaks over a large area.

Frequent Toilet Backups

On the same note, if your toilet is getting clogged more often, and nothing out of the ordinary has been flushed and your septic tank isn’t too full, then it’s likely a piping issue. Tree roots can obstruct your sewer lines making it more difficult for your toilet to flush properly. Also, if you notice a new gurgling noise coming from your toilet after you flush, that is a sign that water is moving through a smaller space than normal, likely due to a blockage.

Foul Odor

Pipe blockages and bursts are never enjoyable to deal with, but when it’s your sewer line pipes with the issue, it’s even less fun. This kind of issue usually causes an extremely foul smell to come from your basement or yard, and it’s hard to miss.

Unusual Sounds

When water is forced through a smaller area than normal due to tree root blockage, it might make a whistling or thumping noise that can be heard inside or outside your home. In this case, it’s always a good idea to check for tree root damage.

Skyrocketed Water Bill

If tree roots have made their way into your home’s pipes, they may be essentially siphoning water away from your home’s supply, thus causing a seemingly unexplained increase in your water bill. Also, tree roots can cause or worsen pipe leaks which waste water and also inflate your bill.

Standing Water or Sinkholes in your Yard

If there has been a breach in one of your underground pipes and water is leaking, you may notice areas of your yard that are collecting water or even appear to be sinking into the earth. Depending on which pipe is leaking, this may be accompanied by an unpleasant odor.

An Especially Lush Area in your Yard

If water is leaking from your pipes due tree roots damage, the tree that is benefitting from the extra water may appear healthier or faster-growing than other trees in the yard. While this was likely the goal of the tree when it extended roots toward your leaky pipes, the extra healthiness of the tree isn’t desirable in this case. Also, the grass in a certain area may appear more green and lush if it is being fed more water than usual due to a pipe leak.

How to Prevent Tree Root Damage and Avoid Plumbing Repair

Though tree root damage is not always entirely preventable, especially if you move into a home with already established plumbing and trees, there are some steps you can take to lessen your chances of dealing with this problem.

First and foremost, know the signs of tree root damage and stay vigilant. As soon as you suspect roots have invaded your home’s plumbing, call the professionals so the problem can be taken care of before the roots spread throughout your pipes.

If you are building a new home, or planting new trees, try to put as much space between your home’s drainage piping and trees as possible. Planting trees that are slow growing or have shallow root systems may also be worth considering. There are some types of trees to avoid due to their notoriety for roots that extend far in wide: Willows, Beech, Eucalyptus, Mulberry, Aspens, Elms, Silver Maples, and Poplars.



If you live in a home that already has mature trees located near your drainage pipes and sewer lines, it is important to check your plumbing system regularly to make sure all drains are working properly, there is proper water pressure, and toilets are flushing easily. At the first sign of a blockage or leak, call a professional plumbing repair service promptly.


What To Do If Tree Roots Have Damaged Your Pipes and You Need Plumbing Repair

If you notice any signs of tree roots having damaged or entered your home’s underground pipes, it’s time to get professional help from a reputable plumbing repair service. The earlier the problem is caught and remedied, the less intensive the fix will be. Our trained technicians at Adeedo are ready to come inspect the issue, diagnose the cause, and perform the necessary repairs so you can have peace of mind. Give the plumbing professionals at Adeedo a call today!






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