How to kill tree roots in pipes?

24 August 2021


Signs of roots in your pipes

Root intrusion in your drainage system is a major inconvenience. Thankfully, there are key things that you can look out for to know if you have roots penetrating your pipes. Noticing the signs early will help you identify the problem and call a professional plumber as soon as possible in order to get the pipe fixed and avoid further problems.

 Slow Drains

If your sewer pipes and drain pipes are draining slower than usual, it can mean one of many things. Although a generic block in your pipes will cause slow drains, so will a root invasion.

If you notice that your toilet is flushing slower than usual, or that your sinks and tubs are taking longer to drain, there is a chance that you have tree roots invading your pipes.

Bad Smells

Unpleasant odours are one of the worst symptoms of tree roots in your drains. The reason why blocked drains smell is due to the fact that something is stopping things from passing through and being properly disposed of. A backlog of unpleasant materials therefore develops in your drain which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.


Sinkholes are a problem that is more specific to tree-root pipe invasions so if you notice this issue, it is probable that tree roots are to blame. When tree roots penetrate pipes, they crack them so water and material that is flowing through the pipes manage to find their way outside. This additional water is absorbed by the soil and eventually, over time, the weight of the water within the soil might cause the land on your property to begin to dip and sink.

More green patches

Although luscious green areas in your garden might appear to be positive news, these new-found areas of healthy green patches could actually be a sign that your pipes have been invaded by tree roots. This influx of green patches or accelerated tree growth is due to the fact that tree roots are getting additional water and nutrients from the soil as your plumbing system and the water from your pipes is fueling its growth.

Although you might be loving all this extra green in your garden, it might be an indicator that something is wrong with your pipes, especially if you notice this problem in conjunction with one of the previous indicators.  If you notice any of the above symptoms of tree roots in sewer lines, make sure to get in touch with a plumbing company in your area.

How do tree roots get into your sewer lines?

Tree roots get into sewer lines through any opening they can find. Although this often means they penetrate your pipes through existing cracks, they also often manage to get into your sewer pipes through joints.


Tree roots are constantly looking for sources of water and nutrients that can ensure the tree they are attached to will grow large and thrive. This means that if a root placement is not surrounded by such nutrients, it will inevitably go looking for somewhere that will provide it with what it needs. Pipes do exactly this as the continuous flow of water through them increases the roots’ water intake and feeds more nutrients into the surrounding soil.


Tree roots will do whatever it takes to get into your property’s sewer lines, and they are far stronger than you might give them credit for. Whilst it is easy for them to get into pipes if there is already a crack in the pipe, they do not rely on this and will also penetrate pipe joints.


Pipe joints are rarely made out of a strong material. They are usually made from sand or rubber in more modern drainage systems. Regardless of the type of material used, tree roots will be able to penetrate your pipes.


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Solutions to remove tree roots from your sewer lines

Although home remedies are convenient and cost effective, they generally don’t permanently remove tree roots from your sewer lines. Whilst beginning the process with at home solutions is a good first step, you might need to do more to ensure your pipes are not permanently damaged.


Here are some of the best solutions on how to clear roots from drain pipes:

Mechanical Auger

A mechanical auger is a corkscrew-like tool that can be used to physically cut the tree roots that are nestled inside your pipes. The auger makes it way through your pipe until it reaches the location of the root. The blades then cut the tree roots away from the main body of the tree.


Once the roots have been cut from the tree, you must then flush out the pipes so that the roots are simply washed away with the rest of the material and water within the pipes. This will leave your pipes clear and ready for normal use again.


Pipe deterioration testing 


Hydro-jetting is exactly what you think it is. It is the process in which a strong water jet is blasted through the pipe and directed at the tree roots. The pure force of the jets is more than enough to annihilate the roots and in many cases it causes them to disintegrate.


Similarly to using the mechanical auger, once the roots have been hydro jetted, broken down and are no longer attached to the living tree, they are flushed out of the drainage system and you are left with clear, usable pipes once again.

Pipe repair or replacement

Although the above solutions will remove the tree roots from your pipes, there is still a high likelihood that your pipes will be broken or cracked. Once the root removal is completed, you will need to hire a plumber to repair the broken pipes. This can be done in one of two ways. If the damage is not too bad, you might get away with simply placing a protective sleeve around your pipe. However, if the damage is more severe you might need to replace the entire pipe.


If you suspect that you have tree roots invading your pipes, contact a plumber as soon as possible to avoid further complications and more costly solutions. Plomberie Pro Drain provides you with an experienced team of plumbing professionals for all your plumbing needs. We also have an emergency service!


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