Causes and Remedies of Tree Roots in Drains

Trees are a source of beauty to our landscape but many of us are unaware that these can cause problems where the drains are concerned. There is a possibility of roots growing in drains, especially those with cracks or fissures. Sewer pipes contain oxygen, nutrients and water, all of which can be termed as ‘essentials’ for the growth of roots. Besides causing the obvious blockages to drains, these roots can be the cause of a costly maintenance to the sewer system.

Tree Roots in Drains can be a Major Problem

image1When warm water flows into sewer pipes you have the vapor escape to the side which is cooler surrounding the specific pipe. These tree roots tend to grow towards the pipes or let out vapor to the source point, which is, normally, either a loose joint or a crack in the pipe. Once the tree roots reach here they tend to grow through this opening and reach up to the moisture and nutrients inside the pipe. They continue growing and fill the pipe completely with masses of hair-like roots, acting as a net and latching onto grease, oil, tissue paper and any other debris from houses. This is the reasons you find drains getting clogged. One indication of the drainage system having problems with tree root is the slow flowing.

Steps taken for Invasive Tree Roots

Using the listed remedies this issue can be addressed.

1. Tree Root Removal Chemically:

Removing tree roots using some sort of a chemical, like crystals of copper sulphate, can ensure the killing of the root structure and there is no way these can grow again. This is effective as the copper in this composition is able to create a zone within the soil, considered as poisonous. This prevents the roots from getting into the pipes. Another option is a foaming agent known as RootX, which tend to foam inside the pipes and coat the top which causes a barrier for the roots to enter the pipes.

2. Cutting Tree Roots Mechanically:

Cutting the roots mechanically is most popular for getting rid of the roots in drain pipes. A sewer auger with a spiral head which rotates is sent down the line. The head of the auger has teeth more like a saw blade. The roots are cut with the rotating of this auger. This can be termed as a ‘temporary solution’ and not a long term one.

3. Using of the Hydro Jetter:


The using of the hydro jetter to clear up the sewer lines of tree roots might work out a little on the costlier side. This machine makes use of water and a pump which can produce around 18 gallons for every minute. This jetter is like a small truck and can reach up to 500 feet. These consist of wires spinning up to 50,000 rpm. Once the job is done with the hydro jetter , the drainage line can be flushed  using chemicals so that the remaining roots are killed.

Preventive Measures for Homeowners

As said, prevention is better than cure, and keeping this in mind, homeowners should avoid planting any hedges or trees close to the location of the sewer lines. It is advisable to ensure that trees are located at least 10 feet away from the sewer lines. It is also advisable that homeowners make a choice species which are small and grow at a slow speed. These should have roots which are not as aggressive as larger trees. It is a good idea to replace these before they tend to grow large. Another way to prevent the occurrence of this problem is to make sure that the sewer lines are regularly cleaned and make sure the sewer lines do not have any leaks or fissures.