Tree Roots In Sewer Line


How to Remove Tree Roots in Sewer Line

Of all the things that can cause a major drain clog, tree roots in sewer lines are the most problematic. They can be very invasive, and unless you are faithful in cleaning and inspecting your sewer line, you will not notice anything until there's slow drain flow or a backflow.

Since nutrients from the soil are brought up to the rest of the tree by its roots, it is understandable that the roots look for sources of food. Sewer lines are likely targets because they contain nutrients, water, and oxygen.

Growing Tree Roots in the sewer line can damage your sewer system. It will be good to know how to deal with this issue before it gets too late.



Tree Roots in the Sewer Line can grow because of many reasons and can do extensive damage. Tree roots eventually find their way to where sewer lines lay.

Sewer Vapors

Tree roots are attracted to moisture. As vapor escapes from the flowing warm water inside the sewer pipes to the cooler soil around them, it attracts tree roots.

Sewer Cracks

Often the source of vapor could be a loose joint or a crack in the pipes. Once the tree root reaches that infinitesimal opening, it will grow through it to gain access to the water and nutrients inside. If left undisturbed, the tree roots will fill the sewer line pipe with masses of root tendrils, resulting in clogged pipes, they will be like a sieve, catching grit, grease, tissue paper, oils, fats, hair, and other debris that are flushed down the sewer pipes.

It should be noted that even if you do not have trees nearby, it is still possible for tree roots to find a source of moisture, such as a cracked sewer pipe or pipe with loose joints. UCLA's previous study found out that roots from trees as far as 2,500 feet away reached the sewer pipes of houses in the valleys surrounding the Rocky Mountains.



Tree Roots can grow back in 30 days or can take years to grow under a sewer line. It all depends on the different conditions and the moisture. According to a study at Institute for Underground Infrastructure (ICT), a tree root can grow in a sewer for more than 2 years before penetrating the pipe joint.



Root growth in sewer lines usually goes unnoticed since the pipes are buried deeper in the ground.

  • Slow Draining: When water flows slowly from drains, it is one of the signs that the sewer line is having root problems.
  • Unusual Noises: Gurgling noises from toilet bowls also indicate that the draining system has problems.
  • Terrible odors from your plumbing inside the house. The continuous un-tolerable smell coming from your drains or toilets can be a sign of Tree Roots growing inside your sewer pipes. Probably a drain or sewer camera inspection is required.
  • Sewage backing up. Sewage backup in your house can be caused due to several reasons, but tree roots are the most common of all. Tree roots can block the sewage water flow and can cause sewage backup.
  • Sinkholes in your yard. First, we caution you to stay away from them and contact your plumber, especially if you notice bad smells and if you know it is along your sewer line, but it is important to know this can be a sign of a sewer line failure.



Removing Tree Roots from Sewer Lines can be an easy or tuff job, for which you may require drain cleaning or sewer line repair experts. If you have made up your mind to clean the roots on your own then there are a few effective means through which you can get rid of the Tree Root Problems.

Homemade Root Killing Remedies

  • Copper Sulfate Crystals

Some experts recommend the use of root killer chemicals like foaming copper sulfate crystals, which build up a poison zone around the pipe. The crystals kill off the roots that try to approach the pipes as well as coat the root masses that come down from the top of the pipe.

  • Rock Salt

Rock Salt is another homemade tree roots-killing recipe that you can try at home. Rock salt has a relative effect on the tree roots as the Copper Sulfate. It is safer than copper sulfate and compatible to use in Septic Systems. Try not to use it repeatedly or else it can poison the whole tree.

Flushing the sewer lines with these homemade root-killing DIYs can prevent tree roots. But what when the Tree roots come back after months. To get rid of this problem you may need a permanent tree roots removal solution.

Permanent Tree Roots Removal Solution

  • Mechanical Auger Or Snake

Traditionally, a mechanical auger or snake is used to cut down tree roots inside the pipe. The powered auger has an attachment on its spiraling head that resembles a reciprocating saw blade. The rotating action of the auger cuts the root tendril mass inside the pipe. But this method is not the most effective because it only removes the tendrils inside the pipe, which can grow back again.

  • Hydro Jetting

Although, one of the most effective tools recommended by plumbers today is a hydrojet plumbing. It can produce water power of up to 4,000 psi, using 17 to 18 gallons of water a minute. When the blockage is very thick, a trailer hydro-jetting machine is used, which is the size of a small truck, has a potential reach of 500 feet.

The tip of the hydro jet can have special attachments depending on the type of clog it will remove. The sheer force of the water effectively destroys root masses inside the pipes, shredding them into small pieces that will be easily flushed down through the sewer line. There are plumbers that recommend flushing the pipes with a chemical solution to ensure that any remaining roots will be destroyed.

  • Pipe Sleeve Insertion

An English chemist has invented pipe rehabilitation technology. This method employs absorbent sleeves to line the inside of pipes. Coated with a resin compound, the sleeves are inserted into the sewer pipes using special tools.

As the resin cures, it will render the sleeves as hard as regular ABS pipes but without any joint. Being seamless, there is no entry point for a root tendril to penetrate.

  • Trenchless Pipe Bursting

If pipe replacement is the only solution left for root-infested sewer pipe, trenchless technology to burst pipes may be the best option. This method uses a hydraulic pull, a steel cable, and a bladed steel bursting head. A powerful blast from an air pump on the steelhead will cause cast iron pile or clay pipe to break, making it easier to replace damaged pipes.

Removing tree root masses from the sewer system and replacing damaged sewer pipes should be done by licensed plumbers. Tree Roots removal is not an easy job or can be easily done by ourselves.



Tree roots removal service from your sewer line will cost you between $100 to $600, higher or lower will depend on the bulk of work. You can expect to pay extra dollars for Sewer Video Inspection, which may cost you around $350.



When you notice that the sinks, tubs, and toilet bowls in your home drain slowly or are making gurgling noises, it can be due to the tree roots in your sewer lines. Fischer Plumbing has professionally trained plumbers who can check your sewer line and make recommendations. To determine what causes the blockage and the extent of damage, a video camera inspection is recommended.

Prevent Your Sewer Lines from Tree Root Damage and get instant plumbing services right away. Call us to ensure that you will have professional service, a good quote with no hidden charges, and workmanship that's second to none.

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We are a full-service plumbing company that does all home service plumbing and sewer repairs.

This can be anything from drain cleaning, toilets, or sink replacement to rootering drains and repairing sewer lines. When it comes to plumbing, we do it all, just call us at (206)-279-3322

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