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If you have the luxury of being able to select your plants and trees for your garden then it is important to get the best advice before you plant a thing.

Most people are aware of the structural damage that can be caused by massive trees such as Figs that block drains, lift concrete and destroy the structural integrity of buildings, but it is not just these massive giants that can cause drain damage.

As a property owner it is your responsibility to maintain your private wastewater pipes and drains.

When selecting trees and plants for your backyard there are several things to consider:

  • Are the roots invasive and likely to cause tree root infiltration to your wastewater pipes?
  • Are the trees deciduous with the potential of falling leaves causing leaf litter build up in your guttering?
  • Are the trees going to cause structural damage and lift underground piping causing potential pipe damage or collapse?
  • Will the weight of the overhead trees and plants crush underground pipes?

When pipes become blocked from tree roots the sewerage and wastewater backs up and overflows from the nearest pipe opening. Overflow can occur in your bathroom, laundry or toilet.

Often the expenses incurred by having to repair damage caused by trees to drains is not covered by your household insurance and if left untreated can ultimately cause hundreds of dollars in repairs.

Top 10 Plants To Avoid

The following is a list of the top 10 plants that you should be wary of before considering planting them in your backyard:

  1. Evergreen fig (Ficus sp.)
    This one starts life as a “friendly little house plant” before ending up in the garden. If it is not kept pruned in the garden this sleeping giant can grow into a massive tree. It has a highly invasive root systems that will seek out and destroy your underground sewerage and stormwater drains, crack water pipes and damage your homes foundations.

    Varieties include Hills Weeping Fig, Weeping Fig, Moreton Bay Fig and the Port Jackson Fig.

  2. Camphor Laurels
    Introduced to Australia the Camphor Laurel trees have adapted to our conditions and are causing serious issues within our bushland and waterways. The tree can grow to 20 metres and live for 500 years. Trees growing in backyards can cause major damage to concrete structures and block drains easily with their massive root structure.
  3. Evergreen Alder
    Dropping leaves clog gutters and drains and will lead to blockages if not cleared out regularly.
  4. Weeping Willow
    Can grow as long as wide up to 30 metres tall, notorious for invading sewers and septic systems.
  5. Poplar Tree
    Poplar trees have a love of deep moisture and the root system will extend long distances to find moist environments. These trees are notorious for blocking drains.
  6. Liquidambar
    If you choose to plant this beautiful tree to close to any stormwater pipes then you will quickly find the invasive root system will completely clog the pipes causing blockages and extensive damage. Not only that the tree is deciduous and although beautiful, the autumn leaves can quickly accumulate in guttering causing buildup of organic matter that may lead to blockages.
  7. Palms
    Issues with palm trees can include the fruit, seeds and frond. Palm tree fruits attract wildlife that distribute the seeds in roof guttering and the fronds can fall on windy days and cause blockages in gutters also.
  8. Eucalyptus Trees (Gum Tree)
    Many varieties of gum trees exist in Australia. The species can grow quite large with far reaching and aggressive root systems. It is often small branches, twigs and leaves that can fall into guttering during windy conditions. Larger solo trees are prone to topple in extreme weather conditions and their root balls can lift underground drains and stormwater piping not to mention crush your roof and destroy guttering.
  9. Silky Oak (Grevillea Robusta)
    An Australian native tree, the Silky Oak is the largest in the Grevillea species and is only semi-deciduous. It looses it leaves when flowering and the tree can grow up to 12 metres high – a perfect height for leaf fall to land in guttering. This tree should not be planted close to buildings and it can be spread via bird droppings, so keep an eye out for it in your garden.
  10. Gingko Biloba
    Prehistoric tree with fan shaped leaves able to grow 21 metres tall. The fruit can drop and not only does it smell disgusting (like dog poo or vomit) – but it can block guttering and drains.

Any plant – tree, shrub, ground cover or climber – can cause damage if planted in the wrong place.

It is important that you choose the right plants and trees and plant them well enough away from any pipes to reduce the risk of blockages and damage. It is best not to plant invasive species within six metres of underground sewer and wastewater piping.

If you have a problem with blocked drains from tree roots, leaf litter build up or structural damage call the Blocked Drain Specialists on 1300 887 334.

Our blocked drain plumbers will advise you on the best possible options to repair the damage and strategies to prevent future blocked drain problems.