How to Avoid Tree Roots in Your Pipes

One of the most common causes of drain blockages in Sydney is root infestation, these nasty little weasels can be all but impossible to identify until it’s too late. Most pipes in Sydney are constructed out of earthenware (clay), which can be fairly brittle, but even those that use concrete or a more pliable substitute (like PVC or plastic) can suffer with issues especially in the joins of the pipe.

It might come as a surprise to learn that many home owners overlook the position of their pipes and this is why trees and bushes can be inadvertently planted; causing problems down the line when their roots spread underground. Most of the problems come after the planter of the culprit has sold the property on to an unsuspecting new owner. Choosing to plant flora around the edges and boundaries of a property can be the best all-round option, as drainage isn’t likely to be present, but best to check your Sydney water diagrams which are found at

Is there anything in particular to avoid?

One of the first things to consider when planting a species of tree or bush is its root system. This can affect your pipes and even the concrete foundations of your home, so if you are adamant about planting large spanning trees; be sure to do so where it’s safe and away from your main property. The most problematic trees in Sydney are listed below:

Maples (mostly large)

Norfolk Island pine


Illawarra Flame Tree


Casuarinas or


(especially River Oak,

Swamp Oak)

Nettle-tree and Hackberry

Cedar and Cypress

Camphor laurel

Coral Tree (large)

Gum trees (large)


Figs (MoretonBay FigHills Weeping Fig, Rubber Tree)

Ashes (large)


Crape Myrtle


Brush Box

Magnolias (large)


New Zealand Christmas Tree

Mulberry (especially

Black Mulberry)





Canary Island Date Palm


Plane Trees


Apricot, cherry, peach, plum



Chinese Tallow Tree

Umbrella Tree

Pepper Tree


Elms (large)



What should I plant?

To avoid disruption to your underground services and foundations only plant smaller less root intrusive flora, this means no trees. The general rule is the smaller the plant the smaller the root system. Check with your local nursery for options that best suit your needs.

tree roots in pipe