Can Tree Roots Penetrate Pvc Pipe?

Can tree roots penetrate pvc pipe? While trees make for really nice decorations and can be a great source of comfort during warmer months, they can also impact our household negatively.

Although the part of the tree that’s above ground is easy to maintain by trimming, under the earth the story is quite different. Let’s see how trees and their roots affect our household from below.

Can tree roots break water pipes?



When a water pipe runs through a yard or any area with growth that has bigger roots, there’s a certain amount of concern to deal with. Especially dangerous are trees.

A tree’s root can tunnel through the earth, dislocating chunks of it and potentially shoving them into the immediate location of the water pipe. This can nudge the pipes in a bad way and cause trouble.

The tree roots themselves are capable of damaging the pipes by growing into them. When tree roots reach a pipe, which they will due to their ability to sense water flow, they will begin to seep through any cracks they can find. Even the smallest cracks are enough for a tree root to pop in through.

Once the root has broken into the pipe, it doesn’t stop growing. The root will expand and spread, clogging the whole pipe. This will heavily impact the amount of water that flows to our house and in some cases even stop the flow completely.

Needless to say, such issues are rather damaging to our plumbing. The lower flow of water could also impact the pressure around the house, making it difficult for water to reach some areas of the household. [1]

Side effects of roots invading pipes


So let’s summarize and group the overall impact the roots can have on our pipes.

  • Damming the pipes

The roots could completely cut off the water supply by forming a dam inside of our pipes. This can be considered an advanced situation of our pipes being invaded by tree roots.

  • Overflow

Not only will the water be unable to flow into our home, but it’ll also lead to water building up within the pipe. The water pressure that builds up can further damage the pipes and cause overflow.

  • Worsens leaks

Both of these side effects culminate in physical damage to the pipe. Our pipe will start to leak more, its old leaks getting wider and more intense. The longer the issue persists the higher the chances that the entire pipe will burst.

To the issue happening, or at least worsening, we should make sure to enact proper measures. These will be laid out below, containing appropriate ways of dealing with tree roots in your pipes.

How to prevent tree roots in your pipes?

The above side effects are more than troublesome. No matter what material our pipes are made out of, the first step to preventing tree roots in our water pipes is by planning ahead.

  • Check species of tree

No matter which tree you have you should know that its roots extend far beyond the area it occupies above ground.

Depending on the tree they could get dozens of feet distant from the tree. In case the tree planting comes after the pipe has been laid, make sure to learn where the water lines are.

You should also get acquainted with the species of pipe-friendly trees. [2]

That way, you’ll reduce the overall impact of the tree on your pipe.

If you are having plumbing installed in your home, make sure to check out what sort of trees grow around it. This will help you gauge their potential growth and spread. After doing so, you’ll have a rough idea when it comes to problem areas trees could be located in.

  • Confirm location works for pipes

Consult your plumber on whether the areas that aren’t in the root danger zone would make for good spots to lay pipes. Sometimes that area could be difficult to dig through or contain its own side effects which could damage the pipe.

  • Pick out quality materials

Getting proper materials for your pipes is no less important. While some of the cheaper pipes could save you cash right now, committing to a pricier but sturdier option usually pays off in the long run.

However, if you are dedicated to planting better pipes, keep reading because we are about to cover PVC pipes and how they fare against tree roots.

These preventative measures should secure you well enough when it comes to tree roots  invading the pipes. If the issue already happened you may have to look into some ways to clear the roots.

Can tree roots penetrate PVC pipe?


Eventually, tree roots will find a way to direct themselves towards a sewer pipe. This is due to the tips of the tree roots having a natural capability of detecting differences in the level of moisture nearby. The tips control the direction in which the tree and its roots grow.

While them reaching the pipe is difficult to avoid, the protection from their invasion is quite a different story. To assure the toughest protection we should use PVC pipes for our water installations.

The PVC pipe may not be invulnerable but it is highly resistant. They are considered the most resilient type of pipe when it comes to tree root intrusion. Even as years pass, your installation will be properly protected from outside effects.

Keep in mind that the PVC pipe will protect the pipe from tree roots consistently but it will get damaged if you put the pipe next to tree.

After you’ve set up PVC pipes, you could consider using some of the other techniques that people usually apply to further lessen dangerous tree roots growth. The best thing to check out is root killer for sewer lines, making sure to get the best one possible.

Can tree roots penetrate concrete?


You may think your household is safe from tree roots if you protect the pipes, but there’s far more to worry about. Namely, even if our sewer pipes have been properly secured, we should pay extra attention to the areas which could get affected by troublesome root growth.

Specifically, we are talking about concrete areas. Whether it’s a backyard parking spot or a cement approach to our household, it could be the next victim of nearby tree roots.

The roots absorb moisture from the surrounding area, causing it to shrink. This causes movement which can disturb the foundation of our concrete surfaces.

Not only that, the tree roots can delve deeper still and disturb more of the surface. [3] Once the tree roots move, it causes constant pressure while pushing out the earth.

Over time, this process will cause cracks in the cement. The cracks will escalate over time, often spreading throughout the concrete surface.

The potency of this effect heavily depends on how durable our foundation is as well as on the properties of the soil below it. If it’s fertile and soft soil, it could be rather easy for tree roots to dig below it. Likewise, the weaker the foundation the more noticeable the pressure enacted by the roots will be.

If the tree roots cause erosion below the foundation, it could create empty pockets between the concrete and soil. These pockets are very dangerous. While the foundation may endure the added pressure on those specific points, if we add more weight on top of the concrete surface it could fail to resist the combined force.

How to prevent concrete from cracking?


  • Root barrier

If sneaky roots are a growing concern of yours we recommend trying out a root barrier. When installing them, make sure to dig deep into the ground. That way, the tree will have a difficult time burrowing below.

Barriers take care of these problems for a decently long time so fetching one now may save you headaches later.

  • Remove invasive roots

When roots have already grown, it’s important to cut them out before they cause damage. The newly developing, farther roots are the easiest to cut and won’t hurt the tree much.

However, if it’s a root closer to you, removing it could be harmful. There’s no doubt such a root would also injure the tree if it got damaged. [4]

Of course, you should take into account that some situations will require the entire tree to be removed. In case you decide to remove a whole tree, take extra care. Look out for where the roots are first and map out the possible locations they could affect before uprooting the tree.

  • Make sure your foundation is deep

The deeper the foundation the harder it is for the roots to get below it. [5] Sometimes, it pays to make a whole basement within the foundation. This way you get extra space for storage and secure yourself from the potential dangers of tree roots invading your concrete surfaces.

Read Also: Septic Tank Problems


Proper preparation and care are key to dealing with potential problems involving tree roots. As we’ve laid out above, the dangers of tree roots are many. Thankfully, they can all be taken care of if you dedicate some time to the resolution. Don’t forget to check on the growing roots even after the precautions have been taken to keep your knowledge up to date.