Tree roots love pipes. Why? Because of the atmosphere. The moisture and rich soil are like mood lighting and jazz music to tree roots. That’s why pipe replacement and other mechanical root intrusion solutions aren’t completely effective. They replace the pipes and kill some roots, but they do nothing about the atmosphere.
Chemical pipe treatments kill tree roots and make the area around plumbing inhospitable to the tree roots. Often, non-chemical pipe treatments kill tree roots in and surrounding the pipes, eventually the dead roots around the pipe decay. That decay is rich food for living tree roots and it attracts them right back to the pipes.
Chemical pipe treatments solve the problem by destroying and inhibiting the growth of plant life, slime and fungus. Unfortunately, many chemicals will also kill the trees connected to the roots.
If you want to save your trees, it’s important to choose your pipe treatment chemicals carefully. Various chemicals have different effect on trees. Some chemicals only inhibit and kill the roots directly around the pipes, while others may attack the tree itself. Even treating pipes that aren’t near root systems could have consequences for you trees, because the roots will inevitably grow towards the pipes.
Copper sulphate, for one, is great at blocking root growth but it travels far up the root system and threatens the tree. Copper sulfate cannot be used on plumbing that contains lead, terra cotta or porcelain because the chemical is corrosive to those substances.
A 1962 test by the Engineering and Water Supply Department of South Australia[i] tested the long-term effect of different chemicals. The test showed that the best tree root inhibitors were; sand set into cement, copper sulfate and a PVC chemical. However effected, copper sulfate is current considered fairly unusable because of it’s negative effects on plant life.
For safe, reliable and guaranteed protection of your beautiful trees, choose Vaporooter to manage tree root growth in your pipes.
So, you’ve called a plumber or expert in tree root blockages, and they’ve cleared the tree roots from your pipe. They may have even replaced damaged pipes. Problem solved, right? Well, not quite because tree root blockages can turn into a constant problem.
Most drain blockage solutions are only short term, there are only a few permanent ways to solve an ongoing root problem.
Some home and business owners choose to replace all their older, metal pipes with new pipes made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is currently the number one material for preventing the leaks and cracks that lead to root penetration. PVC will virtually guarantee that roots stay out of pipes, but it can get costly. The substitution of old pipes for PVC can be time consuming, and it can cost a fortune.
Another option (one that many folks don’t really see as an option) is removing all trees within the vicinity of the home or business. But, the removal of foliage can cause aesthetic and shade issues, and lower the value of the property.
One solution for many is routine maintenance and pipe clearing. Experts can use simple pipe treatments such as snakes and high-pressure water blasters to remove tree roots before they become a full scale blockage, but that means you keep doing it over and over again.
The best alternative is to treat your pipes with Vaporooter. It’s clean, it’s quick and it’s guaranteed.
Chemical pipe treatments are one way to both remove and prevent tree root blockages, at the same time. These treatments have a combination of binding foam and herbicides. The force of the foam can be enough to extract the roots from your pipes. The foam then goes on to seal cracks in the pipes with a material that repels tree root growth.
On the surface, this seems like an ideal solution, but the truth is a bit more complicated. Here are both sides, the pros and the cons, of using chemical treatments to rid your pipes of roots.
- Gets rid of the tree roots and seals the pipes at the same time.
- Just cutting out the tree roots will promote further root growth instead of preventing it. Chemicals treatment will help prevent the tree roots from growing back.
- Doesn’t work if the tree roots or blockage are too big. This means the roots need to be cut first, then the chemical applied in a two-step process.
- Has to be done at least once a year, but at least the problem is solved!
- The herbicides may harm the trees near the pipes and surrounding foliage, unless applied by a professional applicator, then there is no risk.
It’s a fact that tree root systems will continue to infiltrate your pipes, especially drains made out of older material. Chemical treatments can be heaven-sent for some. You have to carefully look at this option to be sure that it’s the right one for you.
For the most parts, trees are a big bonus to property values. They make the land more attractive, they hold down topsoil and they give shade. Many of the positive qualities of the trees get ignored the second a root system infiltrates a pipeline. Some people will do anything to rid their pipes of root blockages, including the destruction of the intruding tree.
But, what if you want to prevent damage to the tree?
Just to let you know, your trees will be safe if the tree roots are removed by rodding, cutting, or flushing methods. Unfortunately, one of the top reasons for the trees safety is the fact that the cutting is good for the roots, it will cause your tree to flourish, but some of that flourishing may grow right back into the line.
Chemical pipe treatments contain herbicide, but it’s usually in doses that are just strong enough to kill the tree roots inside the pipe and deter further root growth in the surrounding soil.
Real damage to trees only comes when there is multiple blockages, severe root growth, and damaged or crushed pipes. These situations are cause for an excavation of the trees and pipes. Large portions of the tree root system will have to be removed, which may end up killing the tree.
Fibrous tree roots will spread out to about 1 1/2 times the hight of the tree, but they don’t need all those roots to survive. As a rule of thumb, trees generally only need roots that spread out as far as the canopy. Too much tree root removal will make the tree unstable, and it could topple over on your home or property.
Here are a few measures that go a long way to prevent roots from infiltrating and destroying your pipes.
- Use pipes made of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for new and replacement drains. PVC pipes are strong enough to repel the tree roots. Experts agree that PVC is the best material for reducing the risk of tree root blockages.
- Don’t plant trees near pipes. This seems simple enough, but many home and business owners don’t realize what constitutes as ‘near’ when we’re talking tree roots. Many Australian tree roots have an incredibly wide spread.
- Pick proper foliage. Eucalyptus, for example, can have roots systems that spread out as much as 60 meters. Hills Weeping Fig, on the other hand, can have a root spread as small as 6 meters.
- Maintain your pipes. Wear and tear, cracks, and leaks can cause nutrient-rich water to seep into the soil around your pipes. This attracts tree roots like mad.
- Routinely check and clear your sewer drain. Though roots can be attracted to any type of water-bearing line, they are most often lured towards sewer drains. An expert can come by and clear roots out of your pipes before they become a big problem.
Blocked basement drain are the sneaky little brother of root blocked water and sewer pipes. It’s much harder to notice a blocked basement drain because they are only used during floods. You’ll notice a problem sooner if you use your basement line to drain the water from a clothes washer.
Basement floor drains are likely to get blocked by roots because they’ve been around longer and are made out of weaker materials. Some basement drainage systems are made out of clay tile, which was standard plumbing when older homes were built.
Roots can easily penetrate the weak walls of older basement drains, and they will grow into them for years. For many home and business owners, a blocked basement drain doesn’t get noticed until a flood occurs.
By the time you’re aware of the problem, it’s too late. Flooded basements have to be pumped out. Once the water is clear, there may be thousands of dollars in property damages to deal with, not to mention the still-blocked drain.
There are few simple ways you can avert disaster by detecting a blocked basement drain before it is a huge issue. First off, listen to your drain. If it makes gurgling noises, especially during rain, it may be blocked.
Second, you can try pouring a few buckets of water down the drain, you’ll know you have a problem if it overflows, or drains slowly. Remember to remove anything that you have stored around the drain before you try this experiment. The last thing you need is water damage that you did yourself.
Did you know that the majority of sewer blockages are caused by tree root systems? A recent study found that tree root are accountable for 54% of plumbing blockages, in some areas of Australia the number is as high as 93%
Plumbing blockages are a heavy price to pay for foliage. A root blocking inbound or outbound plumbing can quickly turn into a watery nightmare for home, business, and building owners.
Luckily, there are trees to avoid and trees that are okay. Trees with fibrous, or “spread out”, root can be dangerous near homes and business with plumbing. Trees with taproots, or roots that grow downward, can be safer for pipes. Also, some trees that are unsafe for plumbing become safer the farther they are away from buildings.
Don’t worry if it’s too late for preventive landscaping, there are several ways to clear those pesky roots from pipes. Experts will use different methods depending on the circumstance of the blockages. Popular methods include rodding, jetting, root cutting, the use of chemicals, and a process called dig and repair.
No matter what the root blockage issue, Australia has a water of tree root and plumbing experts. They help our pipes live in harmony with our world-famous fauna.
Drain pipes may not be very attractive to you, but tree roots love them. Tree roots are lured towards your pipe because of condensation. Moisture builds up around the pipes, more so in summer because the water in the pipes is much cooler than the surrounding environment . Thirsty tree roots lock on to the trail of dampness and creep toward your pipes.
The roots will grow along the pipes until they reach a crack, they may even pry open a loose joint. Once the pipe is breached, the root will grow into it to take advantage of the nutrient-rich material inside.
As the root continues to infiltrate the pipe it grows a bundle of thin root-masses. These masses make the blockage worse by trapping kitchen grease, food oil, and large pieces of drain debris such as tissue.
The tree roots will eventually exert so much pressure on the pipe that they will sompelstey destroy the section that they have grown into. The pipe may crack or burst from the outside, or it the pressure of the roots on the outside could cause the pipe to collapse in on itself.
Tree roots are not your everyday drain blockage. Most blockages can be quickly snaked out by you local plumber. The blockages caused by roots that grow into pipes are much more complicated. Even if a plumber is able to snake out the blockage, there will still be damage to the line.
Electric snakes are tools used by plumbers to clear pipes of debris, but if your problem is roots growing into pipes, snaking is a very temporary solution. Electric snakes are used to buy time until a longer-lasting technique can be used to clear the pipe.
These nifty machines are made of over 60 meters of tubing. The tubing spins at over 500 revolutions a minute. A powerful electric snake is enough to clear regular debris and small, thin root blockages. You’re going to need something stronger for dense root blockages.
Plumbers may still use an electric snake on a dense blockage, with the hopes that it will clear enough of the pipe to make it usable in the short-term. On top of their provisionality, electric snakes pose many other problems.
The tubes are long, cumbersome, space will have to made to fit the equipment into your snakes will be covered in grease and grime. They can make a huge mess in your home if you happen to get careless plumbers. Even the most courteous plumbing experts can still unwittingly leave some muck for you to clean up.
Experts warn against renting or buying an electric snakes and using them to routinely clear pipes. The tube spins so fast that it can be dangerous if you’re not trained in the proper use. Like most complicated devices, the use of electric snakes is best left up to the pros.
- Rodding: Plumbers stick a ratchet (a bar with teeth) down your pipe to break up the root block. Then they send another bar down to cut and clear the debris.
- Jetting: Plumbers will use a hose with a special nozzle to direct a powerful jet of water at the block. With jetting, there is a big risk that the jet won’t be able to break up the blockage, time and money might have to spent on a more hard-hitting solution.
- Root Cutting: This process uses the same high-pressure water as jetting, but in this case the water is more directed, and is used to cut the roots before flushing them out. Cutting the roots usually encourages new root growth. They could grow back faster and stronger.
- Chemicals: This treatment is a heavy chemical foam that contains herbicides. How a chemical treatment works depends on how bad the root block is. Less dense root masses can be forced out by the pressure of the foam as it travels down the pipe. More dense masses will have to be jetted first. The foam seals cracks in the pipes cause by the roots, and the herbicides hinder further root growth. You’ll have to treat pipes near root systems at least once a year. Vaporooter is the leading product to get this done.
- Dig out and Repair: This method requires excavation of the pipes and roots. Although fairly permanent, its often only used in extreme situations, such as the total collapse of a main drainage pipe. The costs can be quite high when you have to dig to remove tree roots.