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Tree roots don’t like wet feet

Tree roots in pipes don’t like to be in water all the time.
Fine tree roots grow through the top of the pipe joints and then down into the water flow.
In permanently water charged ground, tree roots rarely appear in the sewer because they don’t like to be continually immersed in water.

Pipe joints create opportunity

Clay sewer pipes are a great opportunity for tree roots to get in your pipe line.
These pipes are usually 2-3 foot or 600-900mm long.

So, in a 100 foot (30 metre) pipeline, there could be up to 50 individual pipes and bends and junctions.
That means there are at least 50 pipe joints for a tree to get its roots into your sewer pipes.
It helps explain why you can have multiple blockages in your pipes.
And why fixing where the roots are getting in today doesn’t mean the tree roots wont get in a few pipe joints along.
Vaporooter should treat every joint in the pipe line.

Tree roots grow through pipe joints.

Tree roots usually enter your pipe line through the pipe joints.

Did you know each clay sewer pipe is usually 2-3 foot long, that’s 600-900mm each?
So, in a pipe line 100 feet in length (30 metres), there could be up to 50 individual pipes with bends and junctions.

That means there are at least 50 different places for a tree to get its roots into your sewer.

That’s a lot of opportunity for tree roots searching for moisture in our hot Australian climate with unpredictable rain fall.

If you’re considering pipe relining, root cutting or a pipe renewal as options for keeping the roots at bay remember, the tree roots can just move down to the next pipe joint that hasn’t been protected.

How tree roots get into pipes #3


Tree roots grow into cracks in the joints in sewer pipes that may have been there even before the pipes were used.

Hard to believe but envisage this.

Your friendly plumber has dug a trench, laid the new earthenware pipes, cemented all the joints, then proceeded to back fill the trench.

The very process of backfilling the trench is enough to put pressure and fine cracks in the cement joints.

That is just enough to let the tree roots know that warm condensation is nearby.

When will you do my Vaporooter?

I just had a phone call from Deborah wanting to know when we are doing her 2017 Vaporooter treatment.

Deb said “You usually come at the end of October”

You’ve been coming every year since 2010.

“Oh, my pipes aren’t blocked but, I don’t want to go back to those days with horrible sewage overflowing and my toilet won’t flush” she said.

Deb has a large fig tree growing on the nature strip at the front of her home.

Don’t worry.
We’ve got you covered Deborah

Apologies for the wind noise at the start of this 2.01 min clip.

How tree roots get into pipes #2

In my last post I described how tree roots can easily travel through the soil loosened by excavation for your pipe installation.

Do you know why tree roots grow in sewer pipes from the top of the pipe joints?

Condensation is formed when we run water from our water pipes, through our drains.

Especially when we have a hot shower, wash our clothes or dishes in hot or warm water.
When the warm water enters the drains buried in the cold earth, condensation is formed, and it gathers on the inside top of our sewer pipes and drains.

The tree roots moving through our already loosened soils can now move along the top of the pipelines and are attracted to the warmth and moisture inside.
All they need now is a way into the pipe.

This 1.58sec clip shows how.

How tree roots get into pipes #1

Tree roots grow through trenches dug for plumbing pipes.

When plumbers excavate a trench in virgin soil to lay our pipelines to take the waste water from your home, we till the soil.

That’s right, the simple method of excavating the soil with a shovel or even a mechanical excavator like a backhoe actually breaks up the soil.

After we complete our excavations and lay the pipes in the trenches, we back fill the trench, putting the excavated soils back.

Sometimes we water in the soil and quite often use a compactor to help with the back fill process.

Some pipe line excavations are back filled with an aggregate like blue metal gravel.

Even so, the backfilled soil is never as compact as virgin soil.

That provides the roots of nearby trees a much easier path to “wander” along in their search for water and nutrients.

Neighbours tree roots in your Pipes

The number of over the fence disputes between neighbours started by tree roots growing under the fence is multiplying.
As the trees in your garden mature they go in search of moisture and nutrients in neighbouring properties sewer pipes.
Periods of no rain like we are currently experiencing will see tree root systems spread in every direction in their search for liquid fertiliser.
Many homeowners without a single tree on their property will have blocked sewer pipes caused by tree roots from their neighbours trees, sometimes 2 or more houses away.
That is an inconvenience however, Vaporooter is an alternative way to stop tree roots in your drains and maintain neighbourly relationships.

I don’t want to live like this.

You could hear the fear in her voice!
“Sonia” from Bronte asked, What does your Vaporooter Guarantee actually mean?

Sonia lives on the first floor of a 8 storey block of home units.
“About every 3 months we get a blocked drain caused by tree roots in the pipes under our building”

“Depending on the type of tree, that’s not unusual” I said.

“You don’t understand” she said as her throat began to tighten
“When we get a blockage, all the sewer and waste water flushed by the residents on the 7 floors above, hits the blockage in the carpark and backs up through the floor drain in my bathroom”
overflowing toilet Yuk!
“Ouch, Do you mean everything?’
“Yes, everything”
“Poo, condoms, tampons, cotton wool buds, toilet paper. It’s absolutely disgusting”
“It makes me want to throw up just thinking about it, running from the floor drain in my bathroom, out the door and all over the hallway and lounge room carpet.”

“But, Why are you so upset now?” I asked.

“It’s been 4 months since it happened, so it’s gonna happen again soon. I don’t want to live like this!”

I actually had this conversation on April 8th 2016.

The Body corporate committee are getting other opinions on Tree root treatments for drains.

I feel for “Sonia”

Tree root Poonami closes Coogee beach

Sydney Australia has many world famous beaches.

Yesterday morning, April 14th 2016, one of her crown jewels, Coogee Beach, had to be closed after a Sydney Water sewer main in nearby Dudley Street had a blockage that overflowed into the Randwick City council stormwater drains.

Daily Telegraph 2016 04 14

Daily Telegraph 2016 04 14


The blockage was caused by tree roots growing in the Sydney Water sewer main.

The overflowing sewer spilled into a stormwater pipe that discharged into the ocean, right under Coogee Surf club.
Randwick City council closed the beach and drained the Ross Jones pool next to the Coogee Surf club in the afternoon on a day when holidaying school kids and tourists alike were enjoying our beautiful autumn weather and pleasant 21 deg water temperature.
2014 04 14 Whats that smell
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the beach has been re-opened today after time and tide have cleaned up the beach overnight.
Sydney Water technical crews were testing the water quality this morning.

The disappointing part is that this tree root blockage in the sewer pipe was totally preventable.

Cities across Australia are currently using Vaporooter to protect their sewer assets, drastically reducing maintenance costs and preventing sewer overflows like the Poonami that closed Coogee beach.