Tree roots are usually worse for drainpipes than a typical blockage. An issue occurs in that even when roots are cleared that penetrated the drain pipes, the pipes still remain damaged The water that leaks out of the drain will attract more tree roots which may then enter the blocked drain, and cause it to block up again.
A pipe that penetrates tree roots also often creates a ‘lip’ that serves to catch material flushed down the drain. This makes it easier for the drain to become blocked. The only permanent and recommended solution for drains that continually become blocked by roots is a drain camera inspection. A drain camera identifies the problem section of pipe. After the problem area is identified, you will need to excavate and replace the damaged pipe.
There are a few steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of a blocked drains caused by tree roots. For all new and replacement drain installations, we recommend PVC pipes as the best below ground pipe material to stop tree roots. When properly installed, there is a much-reduced chance of root penetration. PVC pipes are also less likely to collapse with ground subsidence, and usually come with a manufacturer’s guarantee for 50 years.
When it comes to tree roots, it can be difficult to prevent problems from the roots of tress that have already been there. Having said this, after clearing a blocked drain your plumber can usually identify how far down the line the blockage occurred, where tree roots caused the blockage and which tree or trees are likely to be the cause.
We often recommend that new trees should not be planted in the vicinity of your drain lines. If you are not sure exactly where your drains run, ask your plumber. Before planting new trees it is also worth doing some research into which tree species will best for your garden and your drainpipes. Before you know it, a small plant can very quickly becomes a big tree with an extensive root system that may cause blocked drains. Later removal can be very costly, and in a lot of cases may be restricted by your local council.
Many local council websites list known problem tree species that tend to penetrate drains. It is worth having a look at this list! You might spend a little time now investigating what trees not to buy, but this will save you a lot of time and money in the future!