Tree and shrub roots need only a tiny opening to work their way into a pipe. Once started, they can turn a hairline fracture into a significant fissure. Like an inconsiderate dinner guest, roots settle into pipes to eat, drink and overstay their welcome. A thick tangle of roots can fill a pipe, causing blockages, backups and headaches for Portland-area homeowners. Tree roots crave water, nutrients and oxygen. When a sewer pipe leaks, it provides two of those elements and can be an irresistible temptation to thirsty and hungry plants.
How to Kill Tree Roots in a Sewer Line | Terry's Plumbing
Trees are usually prized elements in a landscape, but a sprawling root system may sometimes pose a threat to sidewalks, buried utilities and other features, including water pipes. Most sound pipes are able to withstand some amount of contact with tree roots. However, roots may penetrate or damage water pipes when the pipes are perforated drain pipes or are old, or the tree has a particularly strong, aggressive root system. Choosing a suitable tree species or cultivar and preparing the site well helps to protect water pipes. Small, slow-growing trees or shrubs are the best vegetation options, save for shallow-rooted herbaceous plants, for areas near water pipes. The nearby water pipe should be intact and in good condition.
A small-scale root invasion will just annoy you, but if left untreated, this problem could cost you thousands. Believe it or not, despite all the unsightly things that travel through your sewer lines, tree roots are naturally drawn to them. Typically, a crack or loose joint in a pipe will allow vapor to escape towards cool soil. The tree roots grow towards this in search of moisture and nutrients, forcing their way into the cracks of the pipe and making their home there. The roots create a type of net that will catch anything you send down the line to create annoying clog that will slow your drainage system way down.
When you think of a sewer clog, you might envision excessive amounts of waste blocking the pipe. Nonflushable wipes, nappies and serviettes can certainly prevent water from reaching its final destination. However, one of the biggest contributors to sewer clogs has nothing to do with what you pour down your drain or flush down your toilet. Rather, your primary source for backed-up pipes may be shading your window right now: your trees. Tree roots thrive in moist, nutrient-rich environments, and naturally, your plumbing seems like the perfect place for those small shoots to explore.