Tree – Roots in Pipes

Q: Do river birch trees act like weeping willow trees regarding water pipes? I have a river birch approximately three years old over my water pipes coming into my house. Is this of great concern?

A: All trees act the same regarding water supply pipes: they ignore them unless the pipe leaks. Even then, the pressurized water in the pipe would not allow roots to invade. A tree root can not tell the difference between a pipe, a stone or a buried cannonball. A plumber can easily discover whether there is a slow leak between your source and your house.

Supply pipes are not usually the problem when tree roots are discussed. It is typically leaking sewage pipes that they invade. You have little to worry about if your sewage pipes are sealed PVC plastic or cast iron at each joint. If your pipe is the old Orangeburg composite pipe installed in the 60’s, which commonly leaked after a few years, you would already have had problems by now. Unless you suspect leaking pipes, leave the river birch in place.

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