Your sewer is a feast.
Trees need moisture and nutrients, so when they find your sewer, it’s party-time. This is how it happens…
You get a small leak in your pipes. Thick rich sludge seeps out. Tree roots find it, slurp it up and then worm their way into the pipes.
And what happens next?
Well, the pressure builds. Your raw sewerage has to go somewhere. It backs up to the easiest exit… often your toilet or your shower.
This is expensive, messy and inconvenient. It is also a potential health problem. So, do not to use any of your plumbing until you get it fixed.
To reduce the risks in the first place, here are a few suggestions.
Tip #1 – Choose Your Trees Wisely
Don’t get me wrong. I love my trees. But there are some that belong in parks, not backyards. As a general rule, tree roots are 3 times longer than the height of the tree.
In my experience on the Sunshine Coast, the trees that cause most of the damage to household sewers are the umbrella tree, the jacaranda and palm trees. I get the most call outs about umbrella trees. This plant is considered a pest in South East Queensland and other parts of the country.
Keep a look out for them on your property and in your neighbourhood. Birds such as rosellas eat their fruit and spread the seed to new locations.
Now, to the other big culprits – the jacaranda and the palms.
Sure, it has pretty purple flowers in October but that doesn’t count when the toilet is backing up and you need to call the plumber.
Onto the palms…The clumping palms such as golden cane are not so bad. They form a thick matted root ball. But the Cocos palm, also known as the Queen palm is a real pest.
Sure, I know palms are popular. They make you feel like you’re on holiday. If you must have them, go to a specialist palm nursery and get the least invasive varieties.
Some other trees to avoid include poincianas, bottlebrush and silky oaks. The Bundaberg Regional Council has a handy publication called Do You Have a Monster in Your Backyard?
Check it out. It has a long list of trees that are not recommended and it will give you some safer options too.
Tip # 2 – Know Where Your Sewer Pipes Are
Before you plant any trees, find out where your sewerage drains are. That way you can keep the trees at a safer distance. It’s good insurance.
If you are putting in a pool, knowing about your drains is essential. Here on the Sunshine Coast, you can ask the council for this information. It should be on record.
Tip #3 – Get Science on Your Side
I had one customer get a DNA assessment of the tree roots that were in her sewerage pipes. The roots came from a park tree across the road. The council removed the tree and paid for her plumbing repairs.
If you have a similar situation, it’s something to think about. But you will have to fork out for that DNA check first.
Tip #4 – Give Your Drains a Clean Out
If your drain is blocked now, obviously you need help, fast. That’s where I can bring out the big guns.
The electric eel is my tool of choice. It’s like giving your drains a haircut. It breaks down all those troublesome roots so they can be flushed away.
If you have any concerns about your drains, feel free to give me a call. Often a quick chat can provide some answers and put your mind at ease.
My number is 0404 030 796.
Taps n Toilets
PS Next time I’ll be talking about interesting toilet facts. It’ll be fun.
Call 0404 030 796.
Email Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org