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Problem roots and drainage

Heat waves experienced throughout the UK during the summer can cause fall and winter problems increasing infestation of tree roots in drainage pipes.

Dry weather for long periods of time can cause significant cracks and soil movements, which can increase the risk of displacement and cracking of drainage pipes.

This gives the roots of the tree, which is busy searching for water sources during conditions of water shortages, increasing access to sewers, increasing the possibility of roots surviving and contributing to serious blockages. The possibility is that climate change will make this process more general.

Trees make a very valuable contribution to our natural environment. They are very important for sustainability and a healthier atmosphere. However, trees can cause problems, such as problems associated with drainage systems and lack of water. For help with a problem tree, contact a Tree Surgeon Bournemouth like

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Tree roots – affect the drainage system

Often, drainage investigations and repair work involve infestation of tree roots from pipes.

After the roots of the trees enter the pipe, they can have a significant impact on the efficiency of transporting water.

They can build significant densities in the length of the pipe, then during heavy rain, cause flooding. Roots also join with other ingredients, such as fat, oil, sanitary products, and wet wipes to make drainage and blockage of pipes worse.

Clay pipes are very susceptible to the entry of roots, because of gaps in the connection between each part of the pipe. Newer plastic piping is also vulnerable and there are studies that show that rubber seals that connect plastic piping are susceptible to failure under pressure from tree roots.

Future risks – drought and climate change

There is an increasing need to take into account climate change in tree management and drainage. Evidence from areas that have experienced heat waves shows that soil movements caused by cracking and shrinkage of soil have increased pipe damage, increasing the risk of tree root infiltration. Because consumers respond to calls to save water, lower water flow causes more pipe clogging.

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In the UK, more unstable weather and increased infiltration of root trees can combine to increase the risk of flood gutters. Changes in weather patterns have encouraged the planting of more exotic tree species.

Overcoming tree-related drainage problems

The best way to prevent the inclusion of tree roots is to implement a planned and preventive maintenance program (PPM).

This will identify the pipe that is most at risk and catch the entry of the roots of the tree at an early stage. Key PPM elements include:

Look again at your plan to plant trees and avoid species that have strong roots such as maple and willow.

Perform routine CCTV drainage surveys to check for damage and signs of root entry

Keep the pipes clean through drainage, to prevent accumulation of mud and other nutrients, and collect water, which can encourage root growth

Dispose of tree roots with the most appropriate and cost-effective non-excavation method. This may involve the use of water at high pressure, robotic or electro-mechanical cutting.


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Henry Doe is a seasoned DIY enthusiast and home improvement, blogger. With over 10 years of experience in renovating his own home, he has honed his skills in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. Henry's passion for creating beautiful and functional living spaces has led him to share his knowledge and experiences with his readers through his blog, "Home Sweet Home DIY." His goal is to inspire and empower homeowners to tackle their own home projects, big or small. When he's not hammering and sawing, you can find Henry hiking in the mountains or sipping on a latte at his local coffee shop.