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Plant_Roots_in_pipes_plumbingSo we’ve uncovered some trees that can be damaging to your plumbing in our recent post Trees That Cause Plumbing Issues to Your Home, and now we’re going to address some of the plants can cause plumbing issues to your home or property.

As mentioned in the previous blog  trees and plants add beauty and curb appeal to our homes, but some varieties can cause major plumbing and foundation issues to your property. Over time the roots of certain plants go seeking more nutrients and water (than they’re currently getting), so they’ll reach out and burrow into the cracks of your homes structure and or plumbing system. These roots can cause some major damage to your homes existing foundation, structure and pipes that lead into or out of the house.

The list of plants below should be avoided or even removed (if possible) from your landscape, especially if they reside close to your home – unless of course you have a generous amount of land with ample room for these plants to grow unobtrusively.

Boxwood Shrubs
There are 80 different types of boxwood shrubs and while they do bring some aesthetic value to a homes landscape, they are typically planted a little too close for comfort to your homes foundation as these shrubs have a large, shallow root structure that can cause problems with your plumbing system. Over time the boxwood’s root system will grow and move outward, eventually finding their way to any potential weak points in the plumbing or foundation. Once this happens, they will burrow into these weak points, which can cause extensive damage as these roots continue to grow away from the center of the shrub.

Ivy & Vine Plants
A lovely ground plant, ivy is often planted near homes and buildings to showcase a lush green surrounding. However this vine-like plant can actually be a detriment to your home’s plumbing or sewer system. An allure of the ivy plant is its ability to climb as it grows. In fact, if an ivy plant goes unpruned it can grow up to three times its average size within a 3 to 4 month time period. However as this plant climbs your wall, it will eventually creep into cracks and crevices of your homes foundation, and then find it’s way to the nearest water source – your plumbing – where it will grow at an alarming rate causing blockages and damage. Ivy plants are commonly banned plants by HOAs because of their rapid growth rate. Especially if uncontrolled.

Other problematic vine-like plants to steer clear of would be Wisteria, English Ivy, Honeysuckle, Trumpet Vine, Grapes.

Holly Bushes and Shrubs
Holly Bushes, are a lovely reminder of winter holiday times with their bright red berries and deep green leaves. These bushes require lots of light and nutrients  – and fi they’re not getting it, they’ll go looking for it with a vengeance! The trouble is that holly bushes are often planted near a homes foundation, which is where the problem can occur. Being plants so close to the home may prevent these plants from getting the nutrients and moisture they need which causes the roots to branch out. The roots will eventually find their way into a crack or weak pipe joint and once inside, the roots will continue to grow and move toward the water where they’ll wreak havoc on the piping and sewer system. In fact, the roots can cause new plants to grow right inside the plumbing systems causing major blockages and severe damage.

While these are just a few suggestions of plants to be aware of to prevent plumbing issues, it’s a good idea to reach our and discuss to your local expert landscaper and or plumber and determine which plants are ideal for planting on your property.

In conclusion…
if you have a plant or shrub that is potentially causing a problem with your plumbing, try and have it removed or at the very least call your local plumber to come out and assess the problem. Often times obtrusive roots that have grown within the pipes can be removed with a process called hydro jetting – a process in which the roots or obstruction is removed via an extremely high-pressure water nozzle.

Arch Plumbing has been in the service business since 2008 providing quality plumbing services in Saint Charles, Missouri.