Plumbing and underground building foundations may be slowly sustaining damage from tree root systems in the landscape. Roots can burrow into minute cracks in pipes and foundations, but not all trees and shrubs have root systems that are as likely to cause problems. Many problems can be avoided if the tree or shrub is given enough unobstructed room underground to grow out.
There are a few trees and shrubs that have special habitat needs, which will reduce the impact they have on pipes and foundations if these needs are addressed. The weeping willow is one. It needs a very rich and moist habitat and will aggressively seek this out if it isn’t planted in a spot that meets these needs. Magnolia trees have very strong rope-like roots that grow close to the surface and can cause foundation and pipe damage. Poplar trees have an extremely invasive root system, and their roots are able to grow two to three times the height of the tree. Birch trees also have a root system that grows two to three times the height of the tree.