It's well-known that trees growing too close to a house can pose a threat to its roof, but what many homeowners don't consider is that trees can be hazardous for their underground pipes as well.
As a tree grows, its root system expands. Over time, it can potentially become entangled with water or sewer pipes underground. However, many trees have particularly aggressive roots which can make their way into pipes surprisingly quickly. If a tree's roots do damage important pipes, it's going to be very costly to fix. Here are some of the most important trees to avoid:
Avoid Planting These Trees to Protect Your Plumbing
- River Trees
Stay away from any tree that natively grows near rivers, such as poplars and willows. Their roots naturally grow towards the nearest source of water, and even a tiny leak in your pipes will attract them. Once they've found a crack, these roots will immediately attempt to grow into the pipe, seeking a steady source of water.
- Citrus Trees
As romantic as it sounds to have a tree growing juicy oranges in your back yard, that juice requires a lot of extra moisture to produce. All citrus trees – including orange, lemon and lime trees – are extremely thirsty and will actively seek out water sources. Many HOAs outright ban citrus trees for this reason.
- Trees with Shallow Lateral Roots
Trees such as beeches, magnolias and eucalyptus tend to keep their roots near the surface, spreading them out laterally rather than digging deep. This makes them more likely to end up entangled in water pipes (they can also attack your foundation, causing an even bigger problem).
- Fast-growing Trees
Any tree species known for being fast-growing will naturally require lots of water. This includes mulberries, empress trees and birches. These are highly popular trees for greenscaping, since they grow in quickly, so if you plant them, make sure they're far away from any plumbing.
Pipe-safe Trees to Plant Instead
Not every tree is going to be a danger to your pipes or foundation. Generally speaking, your best options are going to be:
- Slow-growing trees, because they don't need much water and are usually happy with what they get from rainfall
- Trees that don't grow very tall, because the taller the tree, the wider its root system needs to be.
There are plenty of beautiful trees to consider that meet one or both of these criteria, including both deciduous and evergreens. Some popular choices include:
- Maples, particularly Japanese or Paperbark
- Crabapples, especially the flowering varieties
- Most palms
- Most pines
If you’re concerned that the trees in your yard may be threatening your pipes, call a plumbing company right away. Additionally, if you feel any of your trees may cause or have caused roof damage, contact the roofing experts at First Quality Roofing & Insulation. Schedule your roof inspection by calling 702-262-7847 today!