I have some roots in my pipes under my house. It will change a lot of liability if I could identify which tree the roots are coming from. I was curious if root cells, looked at under a microscope, differ from one tree species to the next? I have 2 different trees (of different species) in my yard and community common area, and was wondering if there was any way to identify which tree the roots came from?


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    Yes, there is, but you need a special, qualified, plant laboratory to do it - there are laboratories that provide this service to insurance companies or surveyors, for a fee, usually in cases of subsidence caused by tree roots in an effort to determine culpability. These days, DNA sequencing is more likely to be used rather than microscopic examination.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 20:04
  • What are the types of trees you have? If you post pictures of the trees and the roots maybe we can help
    – J. Musser
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 20:46
  • Are you saying that if the trees are in the community area then liability for replacing the pipes falls with the community rather than yourself? If so, are you certain that this is the case?
    – That Idiot
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 12:35
  • Yes, the community board will take some responsibility for the cost of repairs if the damage was caused by trees in the 'common' area, meaning, the parts of the community that are maintained by the board. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


I think it is not so difficult, because you doesn't need a real identification (from zero), but just a match between two trees.

Just take some sample of roots of such trees, and the roots around your pipes. The morphology should be different, but on microscope you should be able to see much more matches.

Other methods are: dyes or (very low) radioactive materials.

  • thank you! I will give it a try, just for my own curiosity. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 21:00

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