Pipes and plants don’t get along very well, but most homes have a maze of pipes running under the garden. The water and sewer pipes under your plants and turf can be damaged when tree roots grow into them, but your garden’s grass, shrubs and flowers can be damaged by pipes too. When something goes wrong with your plumbing, it could destroy your landscaping.
Leaks Drown Plants
A leaky pipe under your yard or garden can cause nearby plant roots to rot. The first sign of a problem may be wilting, which you might mistake for too little water. A long-term leak in an area can cause mold or algae growth that kills plants and spoils the soil. PVC and metal pipes don’t usually leak unless there is a break, which may be large and obvious. Older clay, terracotta, or concrete pipes may seep all the time.
Chlorine Kills Good Microbes
If you live in a city, the water coming into your home is chlorinated to help control bacteria, but chlorine can kill soil microbes. Even if you collect and redistribute rainwater and never water your plants with tap water, chlorine from small leaks in underground pipes can reduce biodiversity without you noticing until the leak is so large that significant damage is already done.
Sewage Kills Plants
It’s not just water pipes that run under your yard. Sewer pipes that break or seep can cause the growth of bad bacteria as well as viruses, fungi, and other toxic organisms. Plants contaminated with sewage will probably die, and vegetable gardens impacted by sewage should be abandoned. Many plumbers recommend having your sewage system checked twice a year for leaks, especially if you have a septic system.
Repairs Create Damage
Water and sewer pipe repairs can cause significant damage to your plants and grasses, especially if heavy equipment is necessary. Having your home’s indoor and outdoor plumbing checked regularly can prevent big repairs that can cause catastrophic plant damage. When caught early, outdoor repairs may only require a small hole that causes minimal damage to your landscaping. If a big outdoor repair is necessary and plants haven’t yet been damaged by excess water, sewage or chlorination, it may be possible to dig them up and relocate them before repairs begin.
Every home’s plumbing will occasionally negatively impact plants, but watching for problems can help you detect them early and avoid some large, expensive and damaging repairs in your yard. You work hard to make your yard look nice, and you don’t want pipe problems spoiling your efforts.