Your home plumbing is a technical and complex part of your home. For older homes especially, your incoming water pipes and outgoing waste pipes can fall victim to the environmental factors that play out in your yard. After years of changing weather such as seasonal heavy rain and drought, your pipes undergo physical strains as the earth surrounding them shifts. From this shifting, breaks can occur. While these are more obvious on water pipes if you know what to look for, breaks in your wastewater pipes can exist for much longer without detection. This will lead to leaks that attract tree roots as the wastewater is ideal for plants being full of nutrients and also providing the water that a drought can leave them wanting.

If you have infrequent clogs at home, these are normal. Try conventional methods to clear your drain pipes that we have outlined here and here. However, if your drains are clogging on a regular basis, you will need to assess why and find a solution. You can look out for the following signs that you have tree roots growing in your pipes.


  • Old Waste Pipes - Does your house have old earthenware pipes under the ground? They are notorious for tree root penetrations and cracks. It might be time for an upgrade to modern uPVC.
  • Slow Functioning Drains - Examples can be drains in your home are taking longer to remove wastewater, sinks drain slowly and gurgle, pools of water develop in your shower and toilets don’t flush the way you know they should.
  • Gurgling Toilets - Toilets are designed to remove lots of wastewater in a quick manner. Any delays or gurgling when you flush indicate a problem in the removal of the waste.
  • Sewer Backups - Does your drain grate over flow with wastewater and toilet paper when a tap is running?
  • Contaminated Puddles or Green Patches in the Lawn - Green patches are one of the best ways to identify a leaking pipe in our relatively dry climate. Unpleasant smells can help identify whether you have a leaking water pipe or waste pipe.
  • Sink Holes - Leaking water can erode earth beneath the surface that only starts to display itself when it becomes serious enough to show as a sinkhole. Ideally, you want to catch the problem before this stage as sinkholes can require considerable repairs.
  • Bad Smells - Otherwise unidentifiable bad smells can exhibit without the other symptoms listed above if the wastewater is draining into the ground without surfacing. A bad smell means contamination, which is a health hazard and therefore the situation should be approached as such.

Some Other Factors to Consider

Some plants and trees have destructive root systems and are notorious for growing into drain pipes. Your local nursery will be the best source of advice for assessing your garden and planting sewer safe plants and trees.

If you have clay wastewater pipes (also known as earthenware), these are known to be more porous than PVC or other types of wastewater pipes and can exude moisture even when they are in good condition. This will attract tree roots, leading to clogs, especially in times of drought. Some plants will have destructive roots that can are attracted by, and break into, otherwise sound clay wastewater pipes.

Get In Touch For a Professional Solution

If you suspect you have tree roots clogging your drain pipes, we can help. Call Botanical Plumbing today on 07 3161 3006. We can inspect your drains using our CCTV drain inspection camera as a damage-free means of diagnosing your plumbing problems so we can offer an effective solution. Botanical Plumbing are your experts at plumbing diagnosis and repair.