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How to Know if You Have Tree Roots in Your Sewer Lines

tree roots in lake

August 8, 2023

Tree roots pose a severe threat to your sewer lines. In their constant search for water and nutrients, they can quickly infiltrate your pipes, causing cracks and clogs that lead to many problems for you and your plumbing. You need to know how to spot the warning signs so you can quickly address the issue or prevent it from happening in the first place.

Signs of Tree Roots in Your Pipes

To determine if tree roots have damaged your sewer lines, you should know what to look for. Spotting the signs of this problem before it escalates can save you a lot of trouble and money on repairs. Keep a sharp eye out and call a plumber if you experience any of these signs.

Drain and Plumbing Issues

Several drain and plumbing issues result from having tree roots in your sewer lines. Contact an experienced plumbing company if you frequently experience the following problems.

  • Slow drainage: Water draining slowly down your pipes is typically the first issue you will encounter when tree roots enter your lines. If you notice backups in your sink, shower and toilet, it’s best to investigate the possibility of tree roots.
  • Gurgling toilet: If you have compromised pipes, your toilet will drain slowly after flushing and gurgle when you use it. You will also notice a lack of power in your toilet’s flush.
  • Toilet backup: If your toilet backs up and you have not flushed anything that causes clogs, this indicates root obstruction.
  • Whistling and banging: Unusual noises occur when water tries to push through a smaller-than-usual opening, which can result from a tree root blockage.
  • Drop in water pressure and supply: Tree roots can significantly impact and damage sewage pipes. If you experience a sudden drop in your water supply and your pressure is much lower than usual, you might have a root obstruction.

Unpleasant Odors

Tree roots in sewer lines cause them to crack and leak, resulting in unpleasant smells inside and outside your home. When the pipes break, the contaminated water they contain drains out and enters the soil, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. 

The foul smells will only intensify as the water spreads, which can quickly happen if you have a pipeline blockage. Odors like rotten eggs suggest roots have damaged your sewer lines.

Soggy Grass

Patches of soggy and lush grass are typical indicators of a damaged or burst pipe. The water leaks into the soil, which nearby plants then absorb. If your lawn is spongy, with large puddles of standing water, you can suspect a tree root intrusion.


Wet soil can create sinkholes, which are a challenging issue. Sinkholes happen when the ground lacks natural external surface drainage. They generally form slowly, but a sinkhole can also collapse suddenly if your yard is too saturated with water. 

If you see a sinkhole on your property, immediately call a plumber to investigate pipe damage and preserve your home’s foundation.

How to Know if You Have Tree Roots in Your Sewer Lines

Tree Growth

Nutrient-rich water from your sewer line is like fertilizer for plants that absorb it. If one tree on your property is flourishing or looking more vibrant than usual, its roots might have spread to your sewer line. 

Increased Water Bill

If your water bill spikes for no evident reason, a root might have penetrated your main water line. The leaks they cause will increase your monthly payments, even if your water usage remains the same. A high water bill and low pressure at the same time are telltale signs that something is amiss with your pipes.

How to Prevent Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

You can do several things to help prevent or reduce the risk of tree roots obstructing your sewer lines. Use these tips and tricks to keep your pipes safe from root obstructions. 


When landscaping, choose smaller, slower-growing trees with less risk of penetrating your pipe. Don’t plant species with invasive roots, like maple, oak, maple, aspen, birch, sycamore and willow trees.

Create a Barrier

By creating a barrier that tree roots cannot penetrate, you can prevent them from entering your sewer pipes. These barriers will guide a tree’s roots toward other areas where they can grow without being a risk.

Tree root barriers like panels and sheets come in various shapes and sizes. Landscaping companies sell them and can give you advice on how you should install them.

Use Chemicals

Chemicals like potassium hydroxide and copper sulfate are effective growth inhibitors. Spreading these near your pipeline will prevent tree roots from growing toward it. 

The best part of this solution is that the chemicals cannot poison your trees. The trees will still proliferate, but you can control where their roots will grow without harming them.

How to Know if You Have Tree Roots in Your Sewer Lines

Let Enduric Plumbing Services Inc. Protect and Repair Your Sewer Lines

Enduric Plumbing Services Inc. offers a wide range of solutions to prevent tree roots from blocking and damaging your sewer lines. Our sewer line protection includes the following.

  • Remove tree roots: We will cut your tree roots before they can damage or crack your sewer lines, protecting you from backups, leaks and other problems.
  • Replace your lines with plastic ones: Plastic pipes stop tree roots from invading your pipes. They also prevent corrosion caused by the movement of waste.
  • Fix illegal plumbing connections: We will fix any illegal plumbing connections that might be more susceptible to root obstructions and damage because they are not up to code.

You can contact us anytime via our website to learn more about what we can do for you. You can also call 336-860-7788 to talk to a member of our friendly team.