5 Warning Signs That Tree Roots Are Damaging Your Property

So, you’ve got all those beautiful old trees in your yard, providing you with shade from the summer heat and gorgeous autumn colours … but are their roots causing damage to your property?

You might notice a greater increase in toilet or drain blockages, cracked pathways or uneven doors and windows around your home. Tree roots might just be the underlying cause. Here’s a list of warning signs that tree roots may be causing gradual damage and creeping up between your foundation slabs.

Drain blockages

Roots can find their way into your pipes via hairline cracks or loose joints. They will be drawn to the source of water and spread their hair-like roots inside to draw moisture or nutrients back to the tree. While you probably won’t see this happening because it will be all underground, you’ll certainly feel the effects.

It might be that your kitchen or laundry sink is slow to drain, your shower or bath suddenly has less pressure than you’re used to or you may find that your toilet or bathroom sink is completely clogged and no matter how much you plunge or pour drain cleaner down, the water stays where it is (or worse – starts coming back out!).

Cracks in your home

While roots don’t usually cause major damage to concrete foundations, they can find their way into existing cracks and make them bigger. Vertical cracks may appear in your floor or walls or you may notice buckling in your floor’s surfaces.

Cracks may also appear in your windows or shatter them with no obvious cause and this time you won’t be able to blame the kids next door who are always kicking their football or hitting their cricket ball over your fence even though it’s six and out.

Uneven doors and windows that won’t open or shut easily anymore can also be another sign that roots are causing issues underground.

Cracks or lifting in concrete

You may notice the concrete on your patio, driveway, footpath or walkways around your home starting to bulge, crack and/or lift which can cause a tripping hazard. This can once again point to tree roots growing underneath in search of stable footing as well as moisture and nutrients in nearby soil. When the concrete lifts and sits unevenly, particularly in the case of foot paths, it can cause a safety hazard not only for you and your family, but also for visitors.


While not as common in Australia, sinkholes have been found to be caused by trees, or more specifically, by an old tree stump which is left in the ground when a tree is cut down.

The stump can rot and may cause a sinkhole to form in the bedrock underground. You should always be very careful when walking near a sinkhole and if you think or know there are other tree stumps remaining on your property, have a tree professional arborist remove them before they cause more serious long-term problems.

Bad smells and strange noises

If tree roots get into sewer lines, they can create bad smells both inside and outside your house. Customers have reported a ‘rotten egg’ or similar smell around their toilets and drains in bathrooms and laundries and this can be a sign that roots have invaded your pipes.

Another tell-tale sign of roots in pipes can be that ‘drain dragon’ you hear roaring and gurgling when you flush the toilet or use certain taps.

While tree roots getting in where they’re not wanted may be causing some of the above signs, you may also find that they cause raw sewerage to form in areas in your yard, or as mentioned, coming out of drains, toilets or sinks inside your home. They may also contaminate clean water supplies nearby so don’t leave this unattended until it becomes a much larger more expensive problem to fix.

For advice and solutions for any tree related maintenance and care, contact the tree-service specialists at Top Cut Tree Services. We have stump grinders, specialist equipment and arborist who have years of experience to manage all tree related challenges.

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