Tree Root Plumbing Problems | Super Terry | Pittsburgh

What Plumbing Problems Can Tree Roots Cause?

Lush green lawns and detailed landscaping may be idyllic, but your plumbing system certainly thinks otherwise about the tree roots that lie below. 

Signs tree roots could be damaging your plumbing system

There are a number of signs you should keep an eye out for if you think tree roots pose a threat to your plumbing system. One of the most telling is recurring drain back ups. Another sign is an audible gurgling sound after the toilet flushes. Blocked or collapsed pipes might present as a backed up toilet. Sinkholes can appear on your lawn and there might be a very present odor of rotten egg.

If I do have tree roots, what kind of damage can they cause? 

Because tree roots are thirsty and seek moisture, they grow towards plumbing pipes in an effort to reach the tiny leaks which occur in pipelines as they age. When this happens, pipes can easily become blocked even by hair-thin roots. These tiny roots act as a net and catch sewage grime. The accumulation can block or back up pipe-lines. Eventually the roots can cause the pipes to crack, this is especially true for clay pipes in old sewer systems

How to prevent and avoid these issues

The best way to prevent root damage is to be careful with how you landscape. Know the path of your pipes and plant your trees carefully around them. If you are unsure where your pipes lie, ask a certified plumber and they can tell you. Another preventative tip is to choose to plant trees that don’t have super aggressive root systems. The faster the tree grows the more likely they are to shoot off feeder roots that can cause damage to sewer lines. Ask your local landscaper to recommend non-aggressive species that can thrive if your climate.


The most important preventative tip is to get inspections regularly. Every other year have your plumber inspect your pipes for any damage or vulnerabilities. Catching these issues early is essential to limit the cost of damage and prevent drain clogs. 

Need help?

Are your trees hurting your plumbing system? Contact Super Terry here today.