tree with big roots on ground

8 Signs of Tree Roots in Pipes & How to Fix Them

Ever considered just how tree roots in pipes can affect your plumbing system?

Your dream home might be lined with tall trees that provide shade and add to the overall aesthetic of your property. Trees can add a lot of character to your home, there’s certainly no dispute about that. However, if you do not maintain them, underground tree root invasion can wreak havoc on your plumbing system.

So what are the early warning signs of tree root incursion in your pipe system? Let’s explore, and discover what steps can you take to minimise the damage.

How Tree Roots In Pipes Become A Problem

Like all living things, tree roots seek nutrients to grow and thrive. The most common source of nutrients for a tree’s root system is moisture in the ground. As it happens, your drain pipes and sewer line are the perfect place for them to get that moisture. If you have broken pipes with any weak points or cracks, tree roots can penetrate your underground pipes. This can lead to a whole host of plumbing problems.

Here are some of the most common indicators that your sewer pipes might be affected by tree root obstruction.

1.  Your Sinks and Showers Are Draining Slowly

Once there are roots in your pipes, they will continue to grow and spread. At first, this might not have a noticeable effect. However, as the roots grow and enlarge they can cause a major blockage. A blockage that can even damage the pipes.

One of the first signs of a blocked drain is slow emptying drains, whether in the sink, bath or shower. If you’ve begun to notice slow-draining sinks or drain holes in your home, be sure to keep an eye out for additional signs of tree roots in your sewer lines.

2. Your Drain Pipes Make A Gurgling Sound

bathroom drain on white tiled floor

No, we’re not talking about that regular bath-draining gurgle at the end of a relaxing soak. Blocked drains are often accompanied by a sinister gurgling noise from nearby drains whenever you flush the toilet, run water or empty a sink.

This is the sound of water struggling to get through whatever is blocking your drain.

3. Your Toilet Regularly Backs Up

Another tell-tale sign of a blocked drain is a toilet bowl that often backs up. Tree roots in your pipes are an especially bad blockage in a toilet drain. This is because they catch toilet paper and other debris, worsening the blockage very quickly.

4. Bad Smells Start Coming From Your Drain

If waste is getting trapped by tree roots blocking your sewer line, eventually there will be a very unpleasant smell emanating from your drains. As time goes on and more waste accumulates at the tree root blockage, the smell will only get worse.

5. You Suddenly Have Low Water Pressure

tap with low water pressure

Low water pressure is another sign of a general plumbing blockage. If you suddenly experience low water pressure across the home or it feels like there’s less water available, then you probably have a blocked drain.

Whether that blockage is due to tree roots or not will require the trained eyes of a professional plumber.

6. Rapid Unexplained Growth Of Trees Or Lawn Patches

If you’re not much of a green thumb and your trees are looking uncharacteristically green and bushy or your grass is extra green compared to normal, you might have tree roots in your pipes. Whatever plants have infiltrated your pipes will love the constant source of water and nutrients.

While the above signs could be due to any kind of blockage, this one is a dead giveaway for tree root growth in your pipes. So if you find yourself with any of the above signs as well as an unexpectedly green garden, you’ve likely got tree roots growing in your pipes.

7. Sinkholes Start Forming In Your Yard

In the case of serious tree root damage to your pipes, you might find sinkholes and soft spots on your lawn. Extreme tree root growth can crack and break your pipes, causing water to leak out and into the soil.

The water saturates the soil which eventually caves in to form sinkholes in your yard. These are typically a sign of a serious tree root blockage in your sewer lines and should be attended to by a professional urgently.

8. Your Water Bills Increase Unexpectedly

couple looking at expensive water bill

If you open your water bill one quarter only to be left in a state of shock at the price, you might have a serious case of tree root damage to your pipes.

If water is constantly leaking out of a broken pipe, you’ll be paying for all that wasted water. So if you find yourself with an unexpectedly high water bill, tree roots in your sewer pipe might be the cause.

Tree Root Blockage Solutions For Your Plumbing System

If you find yourself dealing with tree roots in your plumbing pipes, contact a professional plumber to remove them and get your water flowing again.

Plumbers are trained and have access to tools like electric drain snakes and hydro jet drain cleaners that can slice through your tree root problem in no time. After using a CCTV drain camera to locate the blockage, the electric drain snake will mechanically cut and remove the tree roots. Meanwhile, the hydro jet uses high-pressure water to blast the roots away.

While these tools are an excellent solution to any blocked drain, used incorrectly they could cause more harm than good. This is why it’s important to contact a professional plumber with the skills and expertise in using these tools to clear tree roots in pipes.

Metropolitan Plumbing Your Expert Tree Root Technicians

Tree roots are no match for our team at Metropolitan Plumbing. We have a team of experts available for any blocked drain problem you might be facing. We can even have someone with you just 1 hour* after your call!

For a skilled tree root removal service from stormwater drains, you need Metropolitan. Contact us for an expert plumber to clear your blocked drains today!

Published: 2021-04-15

Need a Plumber Today?

Electrical, plumbing and air conditioning work is essential and we will be available to do the jobs you require in your home. Our friendly technicians are taking all precautionary measures and keeping to best hygiene practices.

Plumbers You Can Trust

Our Promise to You

Honest Plumbing Services Icon


We believe in transparency. We will guide you through our process, answer your questions and provide you with an upfront, no obligation fixed prices.

Committed to Plumbing Service Excellence Icon


No matter how big or small the job is, whether you're a new or returning customer, we treat every job as important and strive for success.

Professional Expert Plumbers Icon


We know our job site is your home and we completely respect that. We arrive neat and clean, and tidy up after we've completed the job.

zip pay Options
Zip Pay Payment Options Image

Now Available!

Plumbing finance options** with trusted pay later options

What Our Happy Customers Have to Say

This is why we do, what we do!

Metropolitan Plumbing are proud winners of 2021 and 2020 Product Review awards in the plumbing category. These awards highlight our dedication to outstanding customer service. Product Review provides a platform for real-life experiences. Check out some of our customers' reviews below:
5 stars rating

Dave.C was very friendly and professional especially for a Sunday. He was able to identify the cause of the leaky shower head, and provide two quotes. He was also able to show what the issue was and was able to advise what he had done to fix it. Thank you.

Tyrell Tongz - QLD
5 stars rating

They replaced our old, malfunctioning toilet. The installation was quick, and they checked for any leaks thoroughly. Reliable service we can count on!

Anna Cunning - QLD
5 stars rating

I had a toilet that wouldn’t stop running, and it was wasting so much water. They arrived promptly, diagnosed the issue, and replaced the faulty parts. Now my toilet works perfectly. Great service and reasonable rates.

Caity Waters - QLD
  • Wilson Hot Water Logo

    Wilson is an Australian owned and operated hot water system supplier with products to suit any need. Rest assured our technicians can install and service your Wilson hot water system.

  • Vulcan Hot Water Logo

    Vulcan hot water systems are forged tough so that they can handle Australia's changeable climate without missing a beat.

  • Thermann Hot Water Logo

    Thermann is one of the most efficient water heating systems around, with a range of options from solar boosted to heat pumps. We can install, service and repair your Thermann system.

  • Saxon Hot Water Logo

    Unfortunately, Saxon no longer produces heating units, but Metropolitan can still service, repair or replace your old Saxon system.

  • Stiebel Eltron Hot Water Logo

    Stiebel Eltron was established in Germany, 1924. With over 95 years of experience in making hot water units, you can expect quality.

  • Rinnai Hot Water Logo

    Rinnai is one of the biggest names in hot water systems. Metropolitan Plumbing has worked with Rinnai hot water systems for more than 25 years.

  • Rheem Hot Water Logo

    Rheem has been going steady, hot and strong since 1939 with a comprehensive range of solar, heat pump and gas hot water solutions.

  • Everhot Hot Water Logo

    No matter how big or small your requirements are, Everhot has the right system. We at Metropolitan can help install or service your Everhot system.

  • Edwards Hot Water Logo

    Edwards is recognised for its superior performance and outstanding range of ground and roof mounted units offered in a range of colours.

  • Dux Hot Water Logo

    Dux is the big name in residential and commercial solar, heat pump and gas water heating. We can service and repair your Dux hot water system.

  • Chromagen Hot Water Logo

    Chromagen is an internationally recognised manufacturer of highly efficient hot water systems.  Metropolitan can service, replace or repair your Chromagen system.

  • Bosch Hot Water Logo

    Bosch provides quality hot water to thousands of Australians with its wide range of solar, gas and electric units.

  • AquaMAX Hot Water Logo

    AquaMax is the household name in hot water. We can take care of all of your Aqua Max needs from installation to repair.

Metropolitan Plumbing - Product Review img Metropolitan Plumbing - Product Review img