How Far Do Tree Roots Go

How Far Do Tree Roots Go

Trees are great to look at, especially in close proximity to your home. It brings fresh air into your surroundings, keeps your place cool in summer, create a calming environment due to the greenery, and keeps you in touch with nature. But while it has its advantages, tree roots can cause hazards, specifically to your underground pipes.

The problem isn’t with the trunk and the branches, but rather with that important part that can’t be seen – the roots. They burrow deep into the ground, and when your pipes are in the way, then there’s the danger of damage.


Main Types of Tree Roots

How Far Do Tree Roots Go

So how do tree roots begin to damage your pipes? We must first understand how they grow, and in so doing we’ll know how to handle them. Here are the two types of tree roots.

Tiny Fibrous Roots

As the term implies, they are small roots burrowing into the soil, but don’t let that fool you. They create several networks of branches and could grow 1.5 times the height of the tree. Most of these roots grow in parallel to the soil surface, so it is best to keep these at safe distances from your home and your underground  pipes.

Older Suberized Roots

In contrast to tiny fibrous roots, older suberized roots are thicker and are larger near the trunk, and then they begin to taper off. Moreover, the growth is mostly downwards, where 80%-90% are in the first metre of the soil. This means even pipes that are located deep within the soil may be affected by them.


5 Elements Tree Roots Need to Grow

Basically, roots need five criteria in order to grow properly. These are:

  1. Water – Some plants can endure not being watered for a long time, while some need as often as twice a day.
  2. Aeration – This is why clay isn’t the most ideal soil, because it blocks the passage of air into the roots.
  3. Food – Fertilised soil makes tree roots grow healthier and faster.
  4. Lack of Contamination – Contamination, whether bacterial or fungal, can slow or stunt tree root growth.
  5. Room to Grow – When tree roots are blocked from growing further, they are forced to make do with the little space they have.


How to Lessen Pipe Damage from Tree Roots

The problem with tree roots damaging pipes is that they work slowly yet surely to break and block your pipes. There are tools we can use to clear them out, namely the electric eel.

They can:

  • Break pipes in search of water, or
  • Enter a crack and cause blockage

In order to prevent this, you have to remove one or more of the elements above to control tree root growth. Other than that, having a safe distance from them also works. The proper understanding of how they grow can save not only your pipes, but also create a green environment that will be pleasing to the eyes. Give us a call if you have any questions and we can help you.


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