One of the plumbing issues you need to be aware of as we enter the warmer months of the year is the sudden frantic attempts the trees around your home make to push their roots further into the soil. If the roots sense sewerage in the earth, they will make a break for it, and you'll have to deal with tree roots in sewer the line.
The root of the problem
There only needs to be a small hairline fracture in a sewer pipe for a root to get in. The roots of some trees and shrubs can cause serious damage once they they have a hold of the pipe. Once the tree root is firmly established in your pipe, it will continue to grow resulting in a blockage, and in extreme cases, the collapse of the pipe.
How do I know if I've got a problem?
If you're wondering if your pipes are at the mercy of your tree roots, there's a few things to watch out for:
- Slow emptying drains and pipes
- Blockages in your toilet (regularly)
- Changes in water pressure
- An increase in your water bill
- Bad smells coming from your drains
- Sink holes or wet patches in your lawn
Whilst most of these things alone can be a sign of any number of plumbing issues, keeping an eye on your lawn for green spots, wet spots or even sinkholes can be the best indicator that you've got issues with your sewer pipes.
Which trees are the biggest problem?
Any number of trees can cause root damage to your sewer pipes, so it's best to try and avoid planting any large trees near your pipes and choose a safer option instead. However, one of the most common trees to cause damage to sewer lines on the Lower North Shore of Sydney are Camphor Laurels.
Camphor laurels are large evergreen trees that grow up to 20-30 metres tall. The leaves have a glossy appearance and smell of camphor when crushed. These trees are not only pests when it comes to sewer lines, they are also noxious weeds, and will prevent other plants from germinating properly nearby.
The root systems of camphor laurels are massive, and spreading. One tree can often disrupt sewer systems up to two houses away from where the tree is located so if you've got one near you, you can check your sewer service diagram available from Sydney Water to check if your pipes are at risk
What do I do if I've got a tree root problem?
There are a number of home remedies you can try to fix your root problem, however, you're better off calling the professionals. The expert team at STS Plumbing can locate the problem quickly, and provide a cost-effective long lasting fix.