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Clearing Tree Roots Effectively

When your drain pipes become clogged, you might find yourself thinking that it is due to your actions. Perhaps you flushed the incorrect item down the toilet or let too much hair enter the bathtub drain. However, there might be obstacles that might result in the obstruction of your drain pipes that are entirely out of your control.

Tree roots are one of the most dominant plumbing issues that homeowners confront. Trees on your land are continuously growing, both over and beneath the ground. The root intrusion will be modest at first and will most likely go unnoticed. However, tree roots in your drain pipes can soon grow large enough to clog them entirely. In this post, you will learn how roots get into your pipes and how to get rid of them without damaging them.

How Tree Roots Infiltrate Sewer Lines

In most cases, regular, strong drain pipes are protected from invading tree roots. Pipes and fittings, however, might become looser with time, and clay pipes (used in homes built in the 1970s and earlier) can form microscopic fractures and crevices. And all it needs is a minuscule crack or opening.

The water and nutrients that pass via your sewage lines tend to attract tree roots. As trees age, their root networks expand in search of even more nutrients. A tree’s root system can grow up to four times the diameter of its crown. As a result, even if a tree is about 10 feet, 20 feet, or 30 feet away from your sewage line, it can still have an impact on your pipelines.

Whereas the roots right beneath a tree are rather big, the roots at the extreme edge of a tree’s root network are pretty small. They are so minuscule that they can easily pass through a gap in a drain pipe. Whenever a root has entered a pipe, it will continue to grow and produce a bigger hole in the pipe’s walls.

Indications Of Root Growth In Drain Pipes

Sluggish or roaring drains

If your tubs, sinks, or toilets are emptying slowly, it might be due to a blockage in the drain line. However, tree root blockages would have the same effect.

Strong or unpleasant smells

If you have had a significant blockage, you may detect foul drain odours in your house.

Sinkholes on your property

Moisture will begin to leak into the soil around your pipes due to root infestations into your sewage pipes. The added moisture might force the surface of your land to sink over time. This serves as a dead giveaway of tree roots in your pipes.

Additional “green” parts

This may be a longer-term indicator, but tree roots that have effectively infiltrated your piping system will receive more nourishment than the other flora on your land. As a result, you will notice a region or more that is greener or more lush than its surroundings.

Root Killing Remedies At Home

While you’re unlikely to discover root-killing chemicals in your pantry, there are several simple treatments that you can try without having to hire a plumber or sewage line professional. These methods entail flushing various salts into the toilet in an attempt to destroy the roots in your drain pipes. They are also effective as prevention methods, rendering your pipes less appealing to roots.

Use copper sulphate

Many home improvement stores carry this vibrant blue salt-like crystal. Copper sulphate is an organic herbicide that will destroy the tiny tree roots that have infiltrated your sewer pipes. Around 1/2 cup of crystals flushed down the toilet ought to do the work. One thing to remember is that copper sulphate is not suitable for septic systems.

Use rock salt

Rock salt, like copper sulphate, has a massive effect on tree roots. It is also non-hazardous in sewer tanks, making it a viable option for copper sulphate. Just ensure that you do not go overboard. One treatment should be sufficient to destroy the root as doing so often might harm the tree.

Running chemicals down a toilet can destroy roots and restore flow, but what occurs six months later? Won’t fresh roots begin to grow into the pipe? More lasting measures are therefore required to tackle the situation truly.

Commercial Products Used As Root Remedies

There are several commercial products available on the market that claim to prevent tree root penetration. The difficulty is that, while they might kill the current roots there, they do nothing to prevent any future entry of tree roots into sewage systems. This implies that it would have to be a continuous upkeep effort (and expense). Most importantly, before planting any new trees or bushes, locate the sewage connection on your property as a precautionary measure.

Sulphuric acid

Admittedly, not necessarily advised in terms of the health of your sewer network, but some individuals (including some drain specialists) swear by a good dose of sulphuric acid once tree roots have been removed. Sulphuric acid, on the other hand, is highly hazardous, and complete PPE should be donned when working with it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and, if possible, verify with your plumber or local regulator to ensure that it will not harm your pipes.

Tree Root Solutions That Are Permanent

Regrettably, whenever it comes to tree roots, do-it-yourself remedies only go so far. Root intrusions are one of those instances in which you’ll most likely need to call in experts to remove roots from your drain. Plumbers and sewage line professionals have several powerful pieces of equipment at their disposal for removing unwanted roots and doing drain cleaning.

The very first thing they’ll probably do is check into your sewer lines with a sophisticated camera known as an endoscopy. This snake-like gadget will allow them to identify the degree of your root trouble and the exact position of the root invasion. They’ll check blocked drains and devise a strategy for eliminating the roots after they’ve located the impediment.

Using a rooter or mechanical auger

A mechanical auger or rooter is the most frequently used equipment by experts for root eradication. They take the auger down the sewer system to the blockage, where it severs the roots like a saw. Once they have correctly cut the roots, you can flush the pipe.


Hydro-jets use high-pressure water jets to remove pipe blockages. Hydro-jets can spray water at pressures of up to around 4000 psi, which is powerful enough to cut through and destroy tree roots.

Repair And Replacement Of Your Drain Pipes

Just after roots have been removed from your sewer line, the experts have to repair the compromised pipe to avoid future root issues. This stage generally entails fitting a preventive pipe sleeve or entirely substituting the pipe. Based on the amount of damage to the current line, the plumber should be able to provide you with a firm suggestion. Upgrading ancient clay pipes with newer materials like PVC can be an excellent preventive step.

Root Regrowth Can Be Prevented With Foaming Root Killers

Another do-it-yourself option is using a foaming root killer, which is gentler on your pipes, and aids in root regeneration prevention. Root killers include a herbicide that kills tree roots on contact and then leaves a residue that discourages new roots from growing into your pipes.

If you identify the problem quickly enough, you should be able to pour the root killer right into your toilet while carefully following the product’s directions. If you perform this method a few times a year, you should have no more problems with roots in your sewage system.

How To Prevent Problems With Tree Roots

While the ways mentioned above of clearing up roots from your sewage pipes are less expensive than hiring a professional agency to handle them for you, avoiding the problem from developing in the first place is undoubtedly the most cost-effective option.

If you plan on planting any trees in the future, you should first locate your utility lines. You may use a Before You Dig service to determine where you should and should not plant new trees so that their roots do not infiltrate your sewage lines. Select slow-growing plants or trees and plant bigger trees at least 10 feet away when embarking on a landscaping job.

It may mean that you probably wouldn’t be able to grow that lovely shady tree exactly where you want it, but it really does mean that you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on pipe replacements.

Do Relined Pipes Prevent Entry Of Tree Roots?

Composite resin compounds are used to make plane bodies, international cricket bats, hockey sticks, rail-road tracks, and even the rock-hard fillings that dentists use today. Composite resin technology has also flipped the plumbing world on its head, with pipe repairs no longer requiring digging.

Pipe relining, also known as the trenchless technique, entails impregnating a synthetic liner with composite resins, drawing the liner into position over defective pipe portions, and hardening the resin to produce a strong, new, flawless pipe within the old one. This replacement pipe is impervious to future tree root intrusion and is intended to remain so for up to 50 years.

How Do Plumbers Perform Pipe Relining Services?

Step One: Remove any blockages

They eliminate any blockages from the pipe using a high-pressure 5000 PSI drain cleaner, including tree roots, debris, and everything else in the way.

Step Two: Check the drain with a CCTV camera

They proceed to check the drain with a CCTV drain camera to search for issues such as holes and breaks in the pipe.

Step Three: A bladder and liner is inserted into the drain

A specially designed bladder and liner are put into the drain and fitted over the broken piece of pipe.

Step Four: The bladder is compressed

The bladder is then compressed, forcing it to inflate and push the epoxy resin-filled liner to bind internally to the pipe. When the liner cures, it becomes solid and is approximately four times stronger than the primary pipe.

Step Five: The bladder is removed

They eliminate the bladder when the liner has been cured, leaving the freshly formed pipe set in place.

Step Six: The CCTV camera is inserted again

Finally, they once again use the CCTV camera to ensure that the pipe is fully operational.

Preventing Tree Roots Getting Into Your Sewer Line

Once the experts have removed the roots and the urgent difficulties have been handled, there are around four options that you can turn to in order to prevent roots from getting into your sewer line for good. They are as follows:

  • Do nothing at all and be ready for the roots to regrow so that you can repeat the process.
  • Poison or cut down the offending tree(s).
  • Redirect your waste and water lines, so they are at least 20 metres away from the thirsty tree(s).
  • Use sophisticated composite resins and a synthetic sleeve to reline your pipes.

Clearing Tree Roots From Drains Might Require Professional Help

Because it is a suitable environment, roots develop quickly within pipes. Sewer lines transport water rich in nutrients and oxygen, all of which are required for trees to grow and thrive. Water will leak into the earth if the pipe in question has fractured. Wet soil works as a guide for a tree’s root system, and if the roots discover the crack, they will enter and totally take over the drains.

When it comes to the condition and health of your plumbing systems, tree roots are indeed your hidden adversaries. While home treatments such as rock salt and copper sulphate are excellent short fixes, professional root eradication and pipe replacement are often the best choices.

Blueline Plumbers are your local specialist for all domestic plumbing and gas fitting needs.

Get in touch for a free quote or speak with a qualified plumbing specialist. We will help you find a solution for your emergency plumbing or plumbing repair needs.
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