How to Address Tree Roots

Plumbing and Tree Roots

Tree roots are naturally drawn to the pipes that run underneath your yard. The pipes contain everything a tree root could possibly want – water, oxygen, and nutrients. Small amounts of moisture escapes as a vapor through the pipes which attracts the roots in the first place. Eventually they find a small hole or crack and begin growing into the pipe itself. Over time the growth of the root increases the size of the opening in the pipe and things just get worse from there.

The tree roots end up causing major clogs in your plumbing as toilet paper and other waste get trapped, and eventually block the entire pipe. As you can imagine the result of that is a costly repair. To prevent catastrophic damage there are a few options you can consider.

Use an Auger

A mechanical auger is a tool with a rotating spiral head on the end which snakes down through your plumbing system and cuts off the roots that have entered the pipe. It works great for a low budget, immediate solution, however it’s not a long term fix. The roots are still on the outside of the pipe and will begin to regrow inside. This will require a repeat of the auger. You can continue doing this indefinitely or move to a more permanent solution.

Use Chemicals

Most garden supply stores sell copper sulfate crystals which can be used to kill the roots and make the soil around the outside of the pipes unpleasant for root growth. It won’t kill the tree but will redirect the roots away from the piping. The process is extremely simple. Pour a half cup of the chemical into your toilet and flush until all of the crystals have gone down. Use caution when working with the chemicals as they are toxic. Always read the instructions on the side of the container and follow closely. Should you end up needing to call All Star Plumbing and Restoration at any point after this, make sure to let us know that you’ve used the chemicals.

Use a Hydro Jetter

A Hydro Jetter is a tool that All Star Plumbing and Restoration can bring out to your home to use high pressured water to cut the tree roots inside the plumbing and push them out. We send the nozzle down through your plumbing and the water pressure combined with an attached spiral tip easily handles the roots. The Hydro Jetter will have the same drawback as the auger as the roots will grow back again. Adding a chemical treatment after the Hydro Jetter can result in a more permanent solution.

Use a Shovel

If everything else has failed and the pipes are too damaged to repair it may be time to go with the nuclear option. Dig up the ground above your piping, remove the roots, and lay new piping. This will remove the roots once and for all, but is definitely the most expensive option. In older homes where pipes have completely collapsed this may be the only choice to reinstate proper plumbing to the house. Our team of professionals will use inspection cameras to help us determine where to dig and to minimize damage to your yard.

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