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A water leak can come from many areas inside and outside of your residence or business. With winter on its way and while you are raking up leaves, now is a good time to evaluate how trees can affect your plumbing. Particularly, tree roots can wreak havoc on your system.

3 reasons roots could potentially damage plumbing

They extend well beyond the base.

Most tree roots grow beneath the surface, making it difficult to recognize if they are causing a problem with your plumbing. However, two warning signs of potential problems are the size and distance of the tree to your plumbing system. You should know that the roots extend beneath the ground the same distance as the tree is tall. Even trees with less invasive roots can cause problems if they have reached maturity and extended their root systems near your plumbing system.

They search for nutrients and water to grow.

Roots will grow to the water table and then spread along the surface. If you live in an area of metro Atlanta near rivers and lakes, the tree roots will expand quickly along the surface. But you don’t need to live in an area of shallow water for some trees to grow shallow roots. Fruit trees like the Bradford Pears and Cherry Blossoms are known to extend the roots near the surface because they need large amounts of oxygen, nutrients, sunlight and moisture to grow. And in periods of drought like we are in now, they will search for water, making them more likely to grow more robustly in an area of a leaking pipe.

Some trees have naturally invasive roots.

Trees such as Magnolias, Cherry Blossoms and Bradford Pears can be particularly problematic because their roots are invasive. They find their way into piping, causing damage and problems with your plumbing. For example, the Magnolia tree has large, rope-like roots that not only grow horizontally along the surface but are flexible so they easily wrap around and into water and sewer lines.

What to do to prevent root problems

If you see a tree growing close to a building or your lines, you are at greater risk that it will cause damage to your plumbing. You should consider transplanting it.

When you are planting new trees, plan your landscaping beforehand. Do your research to determine which trees and shrubs are best for your landscape and for the location you want to plant them. And remember, anything growing too close to your house could be a future problem even if their roots are noninvasive.

When you suspect a problem, contact your plumber to evaluate the area. At High Priority Plumbing, our plumbers are experienced with repairing line leaks caused by tree roots. In addition, we have equipment such as our high pressure jetter to force roots and debris out of pipes.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with High Priority Plumbing, contact us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta or 912.373.7707 in Savannah.

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