Top Signs of Having Tree Roots in Your Drains

Tree Roots In Your DrainsIt’s not the most uncommon thing in the world to have tree roots growing inside of your drains – but if you do have them, the last thing you want is for them to stay there. 

Tree roots thrive on oxygen, and don’t grow in pipes that are full of water. They love warm, moist, and nutrient rich environments. The sewer damage from having this happen can be both huge and expensive.

Water will not be able to move freely through your drains, and it can lead to build up waste in your pipes, which will cause slow drainage all around your home. Seeing signs visually is difficult, so knowing what else to look for is key to getting the problem sorted. 

Here are some facts about this that you might like to know:

  • Old pipes with joints, shallow, or small pipes are more prone to root growth 
  • The fewer joints in sewer lines, the less possibility for root growth
  • Large, fast growing trees are the biggest contributor to root growth in drains 
  • Tree roots that penetrate deep within the drain are called ‘anchor roots’. They can surround pipes that are intact without causing issues. The damage occurs when there is a crack in the pipe as this allows the roots to get in there and begin to thrive.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most common signs of having tree roots in your drains:

Slow Drains

A big sign of having tree roots in your drains is water in your home draining slower than usual. Perhaps your bath or sink is draining slowly, or even your toilet. Waste will combine and get tangled in tree roots which causes everything to slow down as the water finds it difficult to pass through.


These will depend on the depth of the obstruction. A tree route can cause a hole in your drain pipe and cause water to leak out onto your garden. Areas of your garden will then be saturated with waste water which will create muddy areas. You’ll get soft spots, and these will eventually sink in and cause sinkholes. The sinkholes will smell, too. This is a good sign to look out for to indicate you have a tree root obstruction in a drain. 

You Have More Green Patches In A Certain Area

This isn’t always the biggest indicator, but it can help you to get a better idea of whether you likely have a problem or not. If you have areas of bushes that are greener than the rest of the garden, or a tree that seems to have grown quicker, it could be another sign there are tree roots in your drains. Why? Because this shows that one area of your garden has more nutrients than the rest of the garden, and it could be due to the tree blocking your drains up. 

Have A CCTV Survey

A plumber can do a CCTV survey through your pipes, which is always a very telling way of seeing if you have any tree roots down there. The method is cost effective and can show you the exact issue before it gets too serious. With a survey like this, you’ll be able to find the exact location of the tree root. 

How Are You Supposed To Fix Tree Roots In Your Drains?

If you know the location of the obstruction in your drains, there are then a few options you can look into depending on your circumstances. Plumbers can use a range of techniques to remove the root from your drains. 

Sometimes, a plumber will simply cut out the root from your drain. The cracks will then be filled in using a structural liner. This will reduce the likeliness of the roots getting back into your drains.

For a serious case, your drains may need to be completely excavated to eradicate the problem. The process requires digging a hole to the affected drain, and it is disruptive to the area surrounding. This should only be used if relining isn’t an option, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because your pipes have moved and don’t line up with the joints anymore. 

Have tree root ingress? Contact 1st Clear Flow

If you’re unsure as to whether you have tree roots in your drains, you can call 1st Clear Flow for help. The team can perform a CCTV survey, as well as other services to help determine what your issue truly is and what can be done about it.

We carry out CCTV drain surveys and drain repairs in all locations throughout Sussex, including Brighton, Hove, Southwick, Shoreham, Steyning, Lancing, Worthing, Littlehampton, Horsham and Crawley. Follow the links below to learn more about our drain services in your area.

If you are in need of drain repair due to tree root ingress, contact our team today on 01903 212392 and book an appointment.

For more information on our drain clearance service, please see our main Drain Clearance page.

For Drainage and Groundworks Call: 01903 212392
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