Tree roots can cause a lot of damage to stormwater pipes, from cracking through the pipe to causing water to build up and flood inside your home. Unfortunately, because our stormwater pipes are often buried, we don’t tend to see what’s happening until after the damage has occurred.
How do Tree Roots Get into Pipes?
Whether you have PVC pipes or clay pipes, it is relatively easy for tree roots to enter the pipes and stay there. Through the movement, the smallest crack in a pipe allows room for a tree root to grow in there. As it continues to grow in size, this can block the pipe, therefore resulting in cracking the pipe.
Tree roots in pipes aren’t always an easy fix, and it can take time to eradicate them – here’s how to approach fixing cracked pipes.
At Proflush, the first step we take when blocking stormwater pipes is to insert a camera down the pipe to see where the issue is and what tree is causing a blockage.
There are three main ways that our drainage service can help remove tree roots.
Chemical Root Removal
Some chemicals poison the roots of the tree to prevent them from growing further into the drain. The benefit of using this method is that it can create a layer of poison in the soil, helping kill roots before they proceed growing further into the pipe.
Chemicals can be applied to the pipe, creating almost a barrier. The downside, however, is that you risk killing the tree in the process if it isn’t done with care.
Mechanical Root Removal
Mechanically removing the roots from the tree is an option if the pipe is close to the surface of the soil and if not much digging is required. This method is done using an auger with a rotating head sent down the drain. It cuts off the roots and clears them from your pipes. However, it doesn’t prevent the roots from growing back.
This leaves mechanical root removal as a viable option if one wants to remove the offending tree.
Hydro jetting is one of the quickest forms of removal and involves using a hydro jetter to push pressurised water through the pipe. It works in a similar way to a power washer and clears all the roots in the pipe.
After our plumber has used one of these methods to remove the tree roots from sewer pipes or stormwater pipes, the pipe needs to be inspected. Because the roots can grow through the smallest of cracks and cause substantial damage to the pipe, there may be a requirement to replace some of the pipes. While this does add to the overall cost, it can save you money in the long term.
If we do replace the pipe, it is recommended to use a chemical layer over the pipe to prevent tree roots from growing back into the pipe.
Preventing Tree Roots
Prevention is of course better than a cure, and there are some ways that you can stop tree roots from growing into your pipes. The first and most common way is to be aware of what trees and shrubs are planted in your garden and how their root system works. Some trees are fine, while others will continually break through the pipes.
You can create a barrier between the trees and the pipes. This can be done chemically by spraying copper sulphate around the pipes. To create a physical barrier, construct metal or wood barriers dug about 30cm below where the pipes sit.
Being proactive and staying aware of what’s growing is a great way to prevent major issues. If the drainage in your home is slow or you start to hear gurgling in your sinks or toilets, it is a good idea to throw some copper sulphate crystals down your toilet and flush.
Tree roots getting into stormwater pipes and sewer pipes is something many homeowners have to deal with. If you find yourself with clogged pipes, give the team at Proflush a call at 02 8294 7179 or visit our website at https://proflush.com.au. Our drainage service will get your pipes flowing again.