Are Palm Tree Roots Damaging Your Home’s Sewer Line?

Tall, elegant palm trees can be an attractive addition to a garden or poolside area, but unfortunately, these tropical trees can become more trouble than they are worth. A palm tree's root system can be particularly problematic and can cause serious damage to your home's sewer line if allowed to grow unchecked.

How Do Palm Tree Roots Damage Sewer Lines?

Many species of palm trees are native to arid areas with dry, sandy soil. To compensate for this lack of moisture, these palm species have evolved large, aggressive root networks. These roots grow quickly, spread over a wide area, and will grow towards any nearby source of moisture, pushing through solid obstacles to absorb the water they need.

The moist, nutrient-rich interior of a sewer line is very attractive to palm roots, and palms growing near your home's sewer line will often direct your roots towards it. Leaking sewer lines are especially attractive, as the moisture and nutrient-rich sewage leak into the surrounding soil where the roots can detect it more easily.

As palm roots grow around a sewer line, they may find small gaps or cracks in the line piping, and start to grow through them and into the line itself. The force created by these infiltrating roots can expand these cracks and gaps, and may cause the line to collapse entirely. A collapsed or broken sewer line will leak large quantities of sewage into the surrounding area, creating a serious health hazard.

Thick clusters of palm roots growing inside a sewer line can also cause serious blockages. If the flow of sewage is entirely blocked off, untreated sewage may start backing up into your home's toilets, bathtubs and sinks.

What Should You Do If A Palm Tree Is Damaging Your Sewer Line?

If your home's sewage system is not draining as quickly as it should, or you notice any signs of sewer leaks on your property, you should call in a professional sewer line repair service to inspect your line and figure out what is causing the damage. If palm tree roots are blocking the sewer line, these services can remove the roots and repair the damaged line.

However, if the palm tree that causes the problem is allowed to keep growing in the same place, it will almost certainly cause further damage to the sewer line as its roots regrow. In most cases, removing the offending palm tree is the only viable long-term solution.

Because palm trees have such large root systems, entirely removing the tree is not a practical DIY job. Some particularly hardy palm species can even start to regrow from any roots that are left in the soil after removal. Felling a large palm tree can also be extremely dangerous, especially in crowded suburban areas.

You should therefore have the palm tree removed professionally by a tree removal service. These services will safely bring down the palm's trunk, then work carefully to excavate the palm's entire root system, leaving nothing behind that could grow into a new palm tree in the future.