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How Can I Kill Tree Roots Impacting My Sewer Line?

How Can I Kill Tree Roots Impacting My Sewer Line?

Tree roots in sewer pipes? It sounds like the stuff of nightmares.

Because sewer pipes must be dug at a specific depth, they can end up intersecting root growth. As the roots continue to grow, they end up tangling around and through drain pipes. Other sewer lines are fine at first but become affected by root invasion after a tree or bush is planted nearby.

As strange as it sounds, root systems are actually attracted to your sewer lines. No, it’s not because your trees got together and came up with a plot to destroy your plumbing. It’s actually because roots grow by absorbing water and nutrients, and they search for these two things wherever possible. Unfortunately, the moisture and oxygen in your pipes are exactly what the roots are looking for…and that’s how you end up with a big problem on your hands. You don’t want the roots to get too close to your home, either. In some extreme cases, tree roots can cause horizontal foundation cracks and other serious damage.

What should you do if you have roots in your sewer line pipes? Before you resort to calling experts for sewer repair, try these quick tricks to kill tree roots and take back your sewer system.

The Salt Method

If you have some time on your hands, you can use rock salt (chemically known as sodium chloride) to dry up the moisture in the roots and kill them. This method is very cheap and can be extremely effective.

Note: Some other websites (or people) offering instructions about how to kill the roots mention copper sulfate. While this can be an effective root killer, we don’t recommend using this chemical since it’s not as safe for septic systems.

  • Purchase at least two pounds of rock salt (sodium chloride). Make sure it isn’t mixed with anything else. It is usually available at most hardware stores, especially during the winter. You can also order it online if you can’t find it in person.
  • Add half a pound of rock salt to the toilet and flush enough times to clean out the bowl. Continue adding half-pound amounts and flushing until you reach two pounds flushed.
  • Wait 8-12 hours. Avoid flushing the toilet or running water that drains into your sewage system during this time.
  • The rock salt will work its way into the roots in your underground pipes and dehydrate them. If you have a serious problem with roots, you may need to repeat this process every few weeks until the roots are gone.

If you plan to continue using rock salt in your plumbing, be careful. When used repeatedly, this method can kill the tree, as well as cause other plant death on your property. If you want to make sure that your tree stays healthy, consider using the second method we’re about to explain instead.

The Foaming Method

Foaming root killer is exactly what it sounds like. This special chemical mixture doesn’t just kill roots, though. It actively prevents them from growing back! Foaming root killer contains a unique herbicide that breaks down roots before they can get into your plumbing. Most large gardening centers sell foaming root killer, and you can also find it online. Be sure to carefully read all instructions on the package before using it, and wear rubber gloves and eye protection to stay safe.

Keep ‘Em Away For Good

Whether you’ve killed the roots yourself or had professional plumbers do the job, just because they’re gone now doesn’t mean they’ll stay gone forever. Stay vigilant about checking for roots and take steps to kill them as soon as you spot them. If you plan on planting new trees on your property, find out where your sewer and utility lines are located so that you don’t run the risk of causing problems later. Your local plumbers can inform you where your sewer lines are, and your state’s “Before You Dig” hotline can tell you everything you need to know about your utility lines.

We’re Rooting for You!

We hope these methods work for you as you fight the good fight against those ravenous roots. If you need sewer repair, plumbing service, or basement waterproofing in Cleveland, call Adelio’s Contracting anytime to set up an appointment. We’ll help you deal with any plumbing or sewer problem ASAP.

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