Tree Roots and Your Drainage

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We all love trees and the shade they provide. Trees are very important to our everyday lives, but in a domestic home we should be smart with what we plant.
There are some species that are not suitable to plant in close proximity to your home. They can cause a lot of damage to your house foundations, sewer and storm water drainage, concrete paths and retaining walls. Repairs to all of these are expensive.

If you want to plant close to your home, then choose wisely. A beautiful tree like a Fig, Baby Ben or Ficus tree have massive, strong, invasive root system that will lift paths, driveways and damage house foundations. They will break your sewer pipes and invade and block your sewer and storm water drainage. Both ornamental figs and rubber trees have very large anchoring roots that need a large area to grow like a block or a park environment.

Apart from the Fig tree varieties, there are other trees that should be avoided when planing in a domestic home such as Black Poplar Populus nigra and Weeping Willow Salix babylonica, False Acacia Robina psuedoacacia with roots that sucker and Pride of Bolivia Tipuana tipu, which also have a very aggressive root system.

The root system of certain trees can be very aggressive in their search for water particularly through drought conditions. You will often see paved areas that have been lifted by tree roots. Sewer pipes and storm water pipes regularly require unblocking due to tree root invasion caused by roots either breaking the pipes underground, or roots searching out a point of entry from a break due to ground movement, sag, small crack or fracture in the pipe or a failed pipe join.

If you live in a home with an established garden or buying a new home with a garden, it is wise to check where all the service pipes are located. Root barriers are a good way of controlling young trees root system for when they become more established. A root barrier will encourage roots to move vertically rather than horizontally where they can cause damage.

If you are unsure on which types of plants to grow, we recommend your seek professional advice or contact your local council.

If you are purchasing a new home we recommend you have a pre purchase plumbing house inspections done which included a CCTV drain inspection of the pipes. Damage to drainage under the ground that you cannot see, can be very expensive to repair. It is not uncommon for a home owner to sell their home knowing that they have damage drainage.

Cheryl Moyle