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Watch Out! What Plumbing Has to Do with Your Planting

One of the leading causes of sewer backups is actually the thing you would least expect: your trees.


That’s right. Trees are after water and nutrients, and what better place to get nutrient-dense water than your “underground river” of sewer pipes? Trees love to reach down and into those pipes, and once they are in, they’ll grow as many roots as they can.


Most roots will enter your sewer system through joints or cracks in the piping. Some piping works better than others to prevent this. Old clay pipes are the most vulnerable, while modern plastic pipes are more resistant to such invasion.


As long as the pipe is not leaking, your pipes will not attract tree roots. But as soon as there is any hint of moisture, the tree roots will grow there faster than you can say Need a Plumber Canada.


The Consequences

Once in your pipes, some roots systems will grow up to 20 feet or longer, sometimes reaching into the plumbing of the house, causing a whole set of its own problems. Eventually it builds up too much. And when it does, you’ll know it.


Fixing the problem and preventing the problem will have to be addressed separately. There are ways to maintain the problem, and there are ways to stop it from happening again.


Your Options


If your trees are attacking your sewer system, you may have to compromise the trees or sewer system. You have a few options:


  • Kill the trees (prevents the problem)
  • Replace or move the pipes (prevents the problem)
  • Regularly rent tools to clean it out yourself (maintains the problem)
  • Hire a professional to clean it out (maintains the problem)

The best way to avoid having your trees become a problem in the first place is to plant trees with your sewer system in mind (or place your sewer system with your landscaping in mind). Find out where the sewer lines are on your property before you plant. A beautiful spot in your yard may not be the best spot for your sewer system.


One work-around solution is to plant small, slow-growing trees, which are still invasive, but less aggressive. When planting a tree next to a sewer line, you’ll have to keep in mind that the tree may need to be replaced every so often.