Finding plants growing out of your drain is not as uncommon as it may sound. If you don't use your sink or drain for a while, but it's exposed to sun and warm temperatures and you frequently use it to clean dishes, then it's highly probable that you may see a sprout or two. Even if you use your sink every day, you may find a plant or two if the conditions are right. Plants growing in drains are usually not a problem, but in some cases they can potentially cause clogs and even damage your pipes if they are ignored for too long.
How do plants get into the drain?
Most of the time, the plants you see growing out of your drain come from the vegetables and seeds you eat or feed to your pet and are rinsed down the drain when you wash your dishes. Tomato, pumpkin, beans and bird seed are common seeds that will sprout in your drain. Most of the time, these seeds will wash down through your pipes and out into the sewer system with no problem. However, if your sink has a lot of bio-sludge or other organic material, then the seeds may stick and begin to germinate. Bio-slime in your sink provides a host of nutrients that many plants thrive on, and the constant presence of moisture combined with sun or another heat source makes a perfect growing environment. Generally, most of these sink-drain plants are easy to remove by simply pulling them out of the drain.
Are there any particularly damaging plants?
Some plants are quick to grow long roots deep into the plumbing system. Even if you pull the plant out at the drain, there is a chance that they still have a good root base growing further down the pipes and will quickly regrow. This will lead to further clogging and possible damage until the drain is thoroughly cleaned. Plant problems can also come from the other end of your plumbing when outdoor plants, such as trees, break into and invade your plumbing and sewer system through leaks and vents. Most of the time, these roots affect the sewer line and rarely make it far into the house, but they can still cause serious clogs and drainage problems.
What should be done if plants are growing in the drain?
If you find your drains repeatedly sprouting, and you're particularly handy, then try checking your sink traps to see if those plants are starting their growth from there. You may be able to clean out these traps and solve the problem. However, if you've found that the plants have invaded your pipes pretty deep, or you have plants growing into your sewer system, then it may be time to schedule a drain cleaning. After your drain is clean, then you may want to put screens or take other precautions to prevent seeds and roots from entering the system again.
For more information, contact local plumbers, such as Two Men And A Snake.