Happy Drains Blog

Can tree roots damage my drains?

We all love trees… and the good news is that tree roots are unlikely to cause damage to drains that are in a good state of repair. The bad news, though, is that roots will exploit any existing faults. Any cracks or loose connections will be widened by the roots as they grow. And of course tree roots are naturally drawn to any sources of water, like leaking pipes.

Once damage is caused, debris starts to build up, and the flow is disrupted, meaning water flow will be reduced, or waste won’t reach the main sewers. And of course if water is leaking from your pipes this could, over time, create subsidence or even a sinkhole!

Tree roots are usually quite shallow, mostly growing in the top two feet / 60cm of soil. And some trees have more active root systems than others, so if you’re thinking of planting trees it would pay to do some research on what species to choose. Willow, plane, poplar and maple have particularly vigorous root systems. You should also plant them well away from buildings and any known drains. The root system could well extend far beyond the radius of the tree canopy above.

But beware – you might not notice your sinks and basins emptying more slowly, if there is tree root damage, because the water could just be draining away into the soil. Simply removing the tree won’t solve any issues as the pipes will remain damaged and could leak.

So, if you have any suspicions that tree roots are causing problems, give us a call at Happy Drains and we’ll gladly come out and check your drains for you.