Tree roots in drain pipes - persistent problem?

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For longer than I care to remember, I've been getting drainage problems because of tree/plant roots growing into my drain pipes every few months or so. I have become well familiar with the issue. If the problem isn't too bad, I usually pour a few scoops of Root Rid (Copper Sulfate) crystals into the drain, last thing at night. If the root problem is more serious, I get a plumber to clear the drains with one of those roto tools. This clears out the roots thoroughly and the drains are cleared. I then keep up the Root Rid treatment for a few more weeks. The problem is the roots grow back later. I've been dealing with this problem for years and years, and I've had enough. I want to know if there is anything that is EXTREMELY toxic to tree/plant roots. I don't just want to use a chemical that will repel them from growing in the drains - no. Rather I want to use something that will kill the offending tree/plant, or poison it as thoroughly as possible. What is the equivalent of "cyanide" for a tree or plant that I can put into my drains last thing at night? The bottom line is I don't just want to repel the roots, I want to thoroughly poison the tree.
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I've heard a few people put a 50 pound bag of rock salt in their wash tub and let it dissolve and go down the drain. Supposed to take care of the problem. Never tried it myself.
Killing the tree may cause other problems since it is a very slow process. Eventually the tree weakens and may fall on your car or house. Best to cut it down first and kill the rest.
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I suppose that's okay for someone on city sewage but couldn't be to good for a septic system.

Yep, if tree roots are growing into a drainage system the best approach is to remove the offending trees.
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I have lived peacefully for over 12 years with roots in my terracota sewer line. every joint but one has roots, even under home, some 100 feet needing replacement:( at a cost of 10 grand or more:(
first do not kill the tree, if thats what you want fine, but have it cut down. dont kill it, much bigger hazard and needs cut down anyway. tree climbers charge more for dying trees, because of the greater hazard...........
worse roots can go twice or 3 times the drip linew of the tree, you might kill a neighbors prized tree
rock salt is my friend, 25 pound bag used perhaps 5 or 6 times a year. cost under 20 bucks a year
start about now, in late winter when maximum root growth occurs. i dumb in wash tub before going out for day. dissolve most and leave for day the longer the better. our washing machine dumps in tub so it dissolves the balance
the salt kills the roots but doesnt harm the trees.
$10,000 divided by 20 bucks a year:) Lets just say its free..........
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Does your homeowner's insurance company know about your old sewer line needing to be replaced, and that part of the sewage empties into a gravel pit under your house? :-)

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no but the trouble occured after we bought the home..............
so its grandfathered in
besides it cant cause a insurance loss
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if the sewer completely backed up, it will run out the garage door and down the street. cant get much sewage in basement.
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Gas Bag wrote:

An alternative is a plastic pipe liner. Impervious to roots.
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As much as I'd love to cut down the tree (years ago)......not an option. Well, not at the moment anyway. Same as plastic pipe liner for the drains. Not a viable option at the moment. Sounds like a good idea though.
That "big bag of rock salt" option seems a reasonable idea. Might look into that. If you can give me some feedback on it, I'd really appreciate it. Also, I am thinking about buying some Round Up and pouring a little bit into the drain last thing at night, and keeping it up for a while.
The bottom line is that tipping some sort of chemical into the drain is the only option at the moment.
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Why, its not your tree is it?
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Round up only acts on the leaves and specifically is designed to degrade when it hits the soil.
Also may be a federal offence.
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Gas Bag wrote:

Okay... If you know here the blockage is - or can find out - dig up the pipe and repair the crack.
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PVC line is unlikely to crack or get root troubles.
terracota pipe is the most likely, and with joints every 3 feet, trust me roots are everywhere./
rock salt can easily control the roots
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On 2/10/2008 5:27 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

If the drain is leaking -- most likely if roots have invaded it -- salt will also leak, poisoning the soil near the drain line. You will kill more than just a few tree roots.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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On 2/9/2008 4:16 PM, HeyBub wrote:

This is also my recommendation. Your problem indicates that there is a break or separated joint in your drain line. It doesn't take a tree to clog it. Any plant, even annuals, can cause problems.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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A chain saw!
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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Neither a forester, biologist, arborist, or tree expert. This man is a fraud.
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Given the presistence of the problem, your drain line is likely shot. How old is it?
Roots follow the water. Therefore, there are leaks, and cracks in the line that the roots can attack. In the worst cases, there is no more pipe -- just a hole in the dirt where the pipe used to be.
Chances are you're going to have to replace that line sooner or later. Ouch!
--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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for me with my rock salt, i turned a disaster to a cheap maintence issue.
the only trouble is home resale, then it will be a big issue
although the head of the sewer company explained to me they are replacing the sewer plant, because in 1950 the home builder ran one connection to the sanitary sewer into a gravel bed under the house so all basements will be dry.
that explained the connection to no where with heavy roots coming out.
i had the line camered, and have a video tape.......
my line runs under a wall, under a driveway drain, and is bad all under the house.
just emptying EVERYTHING from the basement and garage to do the work and install a interior french drain, will be a killer
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g'day gas bag,
not sure there is anything that could be pt down the drain that would be assured of working, one bloke i heard used to tip a bottle of glypho down but never ever herd if it worked, most poisons need to be applied to the leaves, ther are tree killer poisons that get applied into holes bored in the trunk, they may work but might be very expensive experiment.
and as has been said the tree may become unstable and fall and do damage.
have you identifyed which tree(s) are doing the harm? the worst culprits are ficus (anywhere within 40 meters of the drain) mango's, willows those types but any tree too close could do it?
so it sounds like you have older type pipes caly pipes they are the easiest joints for roots to get through, if you ahve modern poly pipes and they are glued corectly then roots almost can't get in, so maybe you might need to replace those pipes?
or put in a root barrier between the offending trees and the pipes?
or remove the trees ok if they are you trees all you need do is make the decision if they are neighbour or street trees then that is a whole 'nother story.
for me as most of the above could be a hassle in various forms i'd cut to the chase and replace the pipes.
On Sat, 9 Feb 2008 15:39:45 -0800 (PST), Gas Bag
snipped With peace and brightest of blessings,
len & bev
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://www.lensgarden.com.au /
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