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April 29, 2024

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Choosing Trees Wisely: What Not to Plant Near Your Pipes

Planting trees near sewer lines can lead to costly plumbing problems and potential damage to your property. As leading plumbers in Sydney, Sewer Surgeon advises homeowners to avoid planting trees and large shrubs near sewer lines to prevent root intrusion and pipe damage.

Tree roots naturally seek out sources of water, including sewer lines, which contain moisture and nutrients. When tree roots infiltrate sewer pipes, they can cause blockages, leaks, and structural damage, resulting in sewer backups, foul odours, and costly repairs.

To protect your plumbing system and maintain a healthy landscape, it's essential to choose trees wisely and avoid planting species with aggressive root systems near sewer lines.

Tips to help you select trees that won't pose a threat to your pipes:

1. Research Tree Species

Before planting trees on your property, research different tree species and their root characteristics. Choose trees with non-invasive root systems that are less likely to cause damage to underground pipes.

2. Consider Mature Size

When selecting trees for your landscape, consider the mature size of the tree and its proximity to sewer lines. Avoid planting large trees or those with extensive root systems near underground utilities to minimize the risk of root intrusion.

3. Consult a Professional

If you're unsure about which trees to plant near your sewer lines, consult with a professional arborist or plumber. They can assess your property, identify potential risks, and recommend suitable tree species that won't jeopardize your plumbing system.

4. Maintain Distance

Maintain a safe distance between trees and sewer lines to prevent root intrusion. As a general rule of thumb, plant trees at least 10 feet away from underground utilities to minimize the risk of root damage.

5. Choose Native Species

Native trees are well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them less likely to require extensive watering or fertilization. Choose native tree species that are compatible with your region's ecosystem and less likely to cause plumbing problems.

6. Plan Landscaping Layout

Before planting trees, carefully plan your landscaping layout to ensure adequate distance from sewer lines. Consider the location of underground utilities and avoid planting trees directly above or adjacent to sewer pipes.

7. Install Root Barriers

For added protection against root intrusion, consider installing root barriers around sewer lines. These barriers act as physical barriers to prevent tree roots from accessing and damaging underground pipes.

8. Monitor Tree Growth

Regularly monitor the growth of trees near sewer lines and trim back any roots that pose a risk of intrusion. Promptly address any signs of root infiltration to prevent further damage to your plumbing system.

9. Choose Shallow-Rooted Trees

Opt for trees with shallow root systems that are less likely to penetrate deep into the ground and reach sewer pipes. Shallow-rooted trees are generally less invasive and pose a lower risk of causing plumbing problems.

10. Consider Ornamental Trees

Instead of planting large shade trees near sewer lines, consider ornamental trees or shrubs with smaller root systems. These decorative plants can enhance your landscape without posing a threat to underground utilities.

11. Use Mulch Beds

Create mulch beds around trees and shrubs to help retain moisture and discourage root growth towards sewer lines. Mulch also provides insulation and protects plant roots from extreme temperatures, promoting healthy growth.

12. Regular Maintenance

Implement a regular maintenance schedule to inspect and maintain your plumbing system, including sewer lines. Conduct routine checks for signs of root intrusion, leaks, or blockages, and address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

13. Consider Alternatives

If you're concerned about potential damage to sewer lines, consider alternative landscaping options such as container gardening or raised beds. These options allow you to enjoy greenery without the risk of root intrusion into underground pipes.

14. Educate Homeowners

Educate homeowners about the importance of proper tree selection and maintenance to prevent plumbing problems. Provide resources and guidelines on choosing suitable trees and landscaping practices to protect their property.

15. Professional Inspection

Schedule a professional inspection of your plumbing system, including sewer lines, to assess the condition and identify any potential risks. A licensed plumber can provide recommendations and solutions to safeguard your pipes from tree root damage.

By taking proactive measures to select trees wisely and avoid planting near sewer lines, homeowners can protect their plumbing systems and avoid costly repairs. Remember to prioritize the health and safety of your property by choosing non-invasive tree species and consulting with professionals when in doubt.


Choosing trees wisely is essential for maintaining a healthy landscape and preserving the integrity of your plumbing system. Avoid planting trees with aggressive root systems near sewer lines to prevent root intrusion and pipe damage. For expert plumbing services and advice in Sydney, trust Sewer Surgeon to keep your pipes clear and your property protected. Contact us today for professional plumbing services and expert advice on maintaining your sewer lines and plumbing system

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Can planting trees near sewer lines affect my plumbing?

Planting trees with invasive root systems near sewer lines can lead to root intrusion, causing blockages, leaks, and damage to the pipes. It's essential to choose tree species wisely and maintain regular inspections to prevent plumbing issues.

Q. How far should trees be planted from sewer lines?

Trees should be planted at least 10 feet away from sewer lines to minimize the risk of root intrusion. However, larger trees with expansive root systems may require a greater distance to ensure the integrity of the pipes.

Q. Are there any tree species that are safe to plant near sewer lines?

Some tree species have non-invasive root systems and are less likely to cause damage to sewer lines. Examples include ornamental trees like dogwood, cherry, and magnolia, as well as certain varieties of fruit trees.

Q. What signs indicate root intrusion in sewer lines?

Signs of root intrusion include slow drainage, gurgling noises in pipes, foul odors, and recurring blockages. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's crucial to have your plumbing system inspected by a professional plumber to identify and address the issue promptly.

Q. How can I protect my sewer lines from tree roots?

Implementing preventive measures such as installing root barriers, scheduling regular inspections, and avoiding planting trees with aggressive root systems near sewer lines can help protect your plumbing infrastructure from root intrusion and costly damage.