5 Plants That Ruin Sewers

Plants can make a property more beautiful and improve its personality and atmosphere. No wonder so many homeowners put a great deal of thought into deciding which plants to add to their yard. However, many people fail to consider a crucial aspect of any planting decision for their property: whether or not the plant in question could potentially destroy their plumbing.

Although it may not be fun to think about, many plants used in outdoor decoration can wreak havoc on sewer systems. It is crucial that you know which ones can be harmful to plumbing before you purchase them, because the right choices can prevent a lot of expense (not to mention a big mess) in sewer repairs down the road.

The following list should help homeowners see which plants they should avoid if they don’t wish to put their outdoor plumbing at risk.

What do plants have to do with plumbing and sewers?

Before we list some of the key culprits, an overview of why plants can damage plumbing and what kind of damage they can cause may be in order. The main reasons that plants end up damaging plumbing systems is because they need more space or more water than is being made available to them.

Plants that need a lot of space for their root systems will extend into areas that are occupied by sewer lines if they don’t have enough. Similarly, plants that have high water needs will extend their roots into the nearest water source, which may be the ground pipes. When this type of growth happens, plant roots surround and penetrate into the pipes, which causes leaks and clogs—a nightmare for the homeowner.

Plants that damage sewers

1. Oak trees

Oaks are very slow growers. As a result, the damage they can do has a tendency to sneak up very quietly and gradually on homeowners. Their root networks are extremely elaborate and are based around “tap roots,” which are sturdy and grow straight down. These root networks can surround and destroy pipes.

2. Holly bushes

Due to their beauty, holly bushes appeal to many homeowners, who make the understandable mistake of planting them close to the foundation of their home. Very often, this places the plants in close proximity to sewer lines. Holly roots will grow into any crack or crevice they can find, and once inside a pipe, the roots will continue to grow and clog it.

3. Willow trees

Due to their thirst for a great deal of water, willow trees are typically found close to bodies of water. When people decide to plant willow trees in their yards, they often fail to realize that their plants will probably not have access to as much water as they need to grow properly. As willow trees get bigger and their craving for moisture grows, the roots will often seek out pipes to get access to sufficient water, causing damage to the pipes as a result.

4. Ivy plants

Ivy is one of the fastest-growing plants around. As a result, the damage it will do to plumbing can be very swift. If ivy begins to grow near pipes, the roots will swiftly surround and obstruct them. For this reason, ivy plants are actually banned from cultivation in many areas.

5. Birch trees

Their beautiful white-and-black bark makes birches extremely popular. They can grow to a height of more than fifty feet. However, the root system will grow to be three times the length of the tree! Despite the birch tree’s great need for space, homeowners like to put them in their yards. Without enough space to expand to its full potential, a birch tree’s root system will almost inevitably cause sewer damage.

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