What is root analysis

Root examination in the event of damage from foreign tree roots

Damage caused by tree roots - laboratory evidence for the determination of foreign tree roots

In search of water, tree roots can grow into the underground infrastructure and cause root damage there. The renovation costs incurred can be considerable. Urbanization and redensification as well as leaky pipe connections and cavities can lead to roots growing into canals and pipes. In older pipes in particular, a hairline crack is sufficient to allow the initially fine root hairs to enter. The scarcity of water resources exacerbates the problem, especially in cities.

How fast and in which direction tree roots grow depends on various factors. This includes the soil conditions, as well as nutrients, water, pore size, the location, whether they stand alone or in groups and the root system of the tree.

Once the sewer pipe has been conquered, it can come to the point that the pipe is completely clogged with roots. Then, at the latest, the water will back up to the house. The pipe has to be freed, the roots milled out and the sewer section rehabilitated. Once a root has entered a sewer pipe, things take their course. In some places roots have already pierced walls, walls and garages raised. If masonry and walls get cracks, an architect or expert may have to check the statics.

A sewer with ingrown roots is leaky in the sense of DIN 1986-100 and must be rehabilitated, regardless of whether there is an actual backwater or not. This often results in a high financial and technical effort. The owner of the tree is usually responsible for the costs that arise from the damage to the roots. In order not to be left with the costs of renovation, it is helpful to find out which tree species or genus the roots come from. This can be found out with a genetic root examination. For the tree detection, the genetic material of the tree roots is compared in a multi-step process with the DNA of the trees that are within 15-20 meters of the damaged area. This then leads to the conclusion which tree caused the root damage.

Once the owner has been identified by examining the roots, the owner of the tree should be contacted. If there is no agreement here, legal advice is required so as not to be left with the high renovation costs. In terms of the neighborly relationship, however, it is always advisable to seek a conversation with the neighbor first.

What to do if a root ingrowth has taken place?

A sewer with ingrown roots is leaky in accordance with DIN 1986-100 and must be rehabilitated, even if there is no backwater. Refurbishment is undoubtedly complex and therefore associated with high costs. A tree that causes damage on unfamiliar land is often considered a nuisance within the meaning of BGB § 1004 and the owner may have to pay for renovation costs. This “interferer” can be identified with a genetic fingerprint. Courts, insurance companies and municipalities usually insist on this type of proof.

Repairing damage caused by tree roots is expensive but usually unavoidable. A laboratory examination of tree roots using a genetic fingerprint can provide legal certainty in such cases. On the other hand, unjustified claims for damages can be fended off.

Genetic fingerprints help with root ingrowth ...

  • to find the right tree for the root damage and thus the tree owner
  • Establish legal certainty between the injured party and the polluter
  • To demand remediation costs from the tree owner
  • fend off unjustified claims for damages

and beyond

  • in the cataloging and documentation of trees and green areas
  • in scientific research
  • for proof of type and type, e.g. for imports and exports


Download our brochure: Trees & Roots [PDF]