Plants That Can Cause Havoc with Your Drains

by | Feb 23, 2021

Here in Australia, we love the outdoors, and spending time in the backyard is a favourite family activity. When it comes to landscaping your backyard to provide enjoyment and shade, it is important to consider the type of plants and whether they could cause potential problems to your drains over time.

How Tree Roots enter drains

When faced with dry, hot weather, plant roots seek water underground and your drains will happen to be a nearby and convenient source for hydration and nutrients. All it takes is a tree root as thin as a strand of hair to enter the joints between pipes and will grow exponentially once through.

Problems caused by Roots

With a tree root enjoying not only the water but the additional nutrients (think of an endless supply of fertiliser!) in your pipe, it won’t be long that a blockage will build up. In addition, other debris such as foreign objects and kitchen scraps can further exacerbate the problem. In severe cases, cracks may form causing burst pipes and damage that require costly replacements.

What Plants can potentially cause havoc?

Generally, the larger the plant when fully grown, the further away it should be from your pipes. Large trees such as the Jacaranda, Eucalyptus, Bottlebrushes, and the like – albeit beautiful and well-loved, are common culprits to causing blocked or cracked drains with invasive or deep root systems. Smaller shrubs and grasses which grow on the upper layers of soil which have shallower, fibrous root systems are more preferable. In any case, you should always avoid having any plants directly above or next to pipes.

Tips for planting

  • Ask your local gardener or nursery for recommendations
  • Installing protection such as root barriers to prevent roots from venturing out to your pipes
  • Find out where your pipes are by contacting your local council for a plan
  • Plant anything at least 3 metres from any pipe or drain

We understand that sometimes where plants are can be outside of your control, especially if you live in a property with an established garden already in place. In some cases, it might even be your neighbours plants over the fence that are causing the issue.

Identifying and pinpointing the problematic plant can be tricky. It may or may not be the plant closest to the blocked drain. If you notice the early signs of a blocked pipe including slow draining sinks, baths, or toilets, then a professional plumber can help.

Wild Water Plumbing uses a state-of-the-art CCTV system that allows us to identify the cause of a blockage and which plant the root is coming from. We save you time without having to excavate your yard or tear up foundations to source the culprit while offering you options for repairs and plant removal or relocation.

Get in touch with our team servicing Sydney’s North Shore and the Northern Beaches today.