Summer is here, which means hot, dry weather will be here, too. Did you know summer months put your plumbing and pipelines at risk for root invasion? Grounds care expert Rachelle Kemp, technical services specialist for The Grounds Guys, and plumbing expert Trent Dawson, owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mid-Ohio, help explain how this invasion occurs, the damage it can cause, and what you can do to prevent costly repairs.
Roots are attracted to the water released from joints and cracks in pipes, and they break into the pipes in search of water. Tree root problems are especially common during the summer months due to the potential for extremely hot and dry weather. “Tree roots are very powerful and will grow into tight spaces to get water, including in pipes,” said Kemp.
Tree roots grow in search of a water source and sneak into pipes through joints and cracks causing those pipes to become blocked, which can lead to separations and breaks which can cost large sums of money for repairs. If tree root problems go unresolved, it can cause major backups and cracks in foundation and sidewalks.
Warning signs of cracked pipes and lines include strange noises, gurgling, and slow drains. If these symptoms are present, you should call a service professional to inspect your pipes. If roots have infiltrated the pipes, they should be cleaned, repaired, and may even need to be replaced if the damage is non-repairable.
“Root problems can occur anywhere with vegetation,” said Dawson. “Water vapor escapes from the joints and cracks in the pipes and roots are attracted to the water.” However, Kemp states, “Any tree variety can cause damage, but species with aggressive roots are more of a problem for pipes. Roots from trees like cottonwoods, elms, willows, aspen, and many more can cause serious damage if it is dry and the roots expand looking for water.”
Preventative measures can be taken to protect your home. Kemp suggests planting trees between 15 and 20 feet from any sewer lines. “This seems excessive, but trees will flourish and their roots must grow to balance the nutrients and water needed to sustain the level of maturity,” said Kemp. Pipes should also undergo yearly pipe cleanings, inspection and maintenance to prevent problems.
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