Trees on your property

Planting trees on your property adds beauty and shade to your home, but the root systems of mature trees can cause considerable – and costly – damage to sewer pipes.

All homeowners are responsible for the repair, replacement or maintenance of the pipes and fittings within their property until the point where it connects to the main sewer pipe - usually near the property’s boundary.

Planting trees too close to these pipes is a major cause of expensive sewer maintenance works as tree roots combine with household oils and grease, grit and tissue paper to block or crack sewer pipes. Those that are structurally damaged will likely need replacing all together.

What to look for

Slow flowing drains are the sign that the sewerage system is having a problem due to roots.

Residents will notice the first signs of a slow-flowing drainage system by hearing gurgling noises from their toilet bowls.


Homeowners should refrain from planting certain types of trees and hedges near the sewer lines. Please see our fact sheet Planting near sewers, drains and water mains for more information.

Also, homeowners should choose small, slow-growing species with less aggressive root systems, and replace them before they get too large for their planting area.

Once roots are in your sewer pipe they’ll eventually cause a blockage. To prevent this:

  • Schedule regular cleaning of your sewer pipes (this involves augers, root saws, and high-pressure flushers)
  • Hire a plumber to video your sewer to determine its condition and if any repairs are needed.