Sewer line problems can be a homeowner nightmare. This plumbing issue lying beneath the ground is often not evident until it becomes a major issue. A small leak or a break can result in repairs costing thousands of dollars. What steps can you take to avoid sewer line damage from tree roots?


The roots from trees and shrubs will naturally seek out sewer pipes looking for water, oxygen and the nutrients found in the pipes. Older homes often have clay sewer pipes that either contained cracks prior to being put in the ground or cracked over time due to soil pressure. Even newer PVC pipes will leak if they are not properly sealed. Roots will easily find these leaks and infiltrate the plumbing system.

Think Before You Plant

The best line of defense is to avoid planting shrubs and plants near sewer lines. Start by contacting your local municipality to find out where the sewer lines are located. If you must plant near the lines, choose slow growing trees with small root balls. There are several options available such as Flowering Dogwoods, Cypress, or Paperbark Maple trees.

Another option is to install barriers to discourage root growth. Construct wood or metal barriers angled beneath the pipes or apply a slow release chemical such as copper sulfide and potassium hydroxide around the pipes to slow root growth.

Routine Maintenance and Inspection

Contact a professional plumber to evaluate your sewer pipes. Plumbers have the tools to visually detect any roots that infiltrate your sewer lines and can recommend corrective action. Investing in a yearly inspection could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills.

If you experience frequent clogs or have difficulty clearing your pipes, seek professional help. These can be signs that tree roots are damaging your sewer pipes. For more information on sewer line maintenance or if you suspect sewer line damage, contact Harvey Plumbing at (903)-534-5600. Our professional team is ready to help.