Homemade Root Killer for Sewer Lines

If sinks or bathtubs drain slowly, or you can hear gurgling noises from your toilet, it’s possible tree roots are causing issues rather than regular pipe blockages. Minor root invasion can be bothersome, yet it could lead to a hefty bill if not treated.

Tree roots are attracted to sewer pipes, regardless of what you may think passes through them. Pipes are full of water, oxygen, and nutrients, so they are ideal for trees to establish roots.

A crack in a pipe can lead to a leak, and in the search for moisture and nutrients, tree roots push into the crack and establish a home there. Sometimes, they can keep growing until they fill the pipe. By doing this, roots create a net, and it catches everything that flows down the sewer pipes.


Luckily, if you spot these issues arising, there are some things you can do to avoid a costly issue and removing roots from drain pipes near your home and improve your plumbing to your septic tank. (Find the Best Weed Killer for Flower Beds)

By the end of our guide, you can learn how to kill tree roots in a sewer line quickly and easily using a homemade root killer for sewer lines.

What is The Fastest Way to Kill Roots in a Sewer Line?

One of the quickest and easiest ways to kill tree roots in sewer pipes is adding sodium chloride, or rock salt, into your toilet. Here are the steps in this process for killing tree roots without calling your plumber.

  1. Take a pound of salt and pour this into your toilet.
  2. Flush as often as is required to clean the bowl
  3. Repeat with the second pound of salt (2 pounds total) and flush into your pipes
  4. Let the mix work for 8 to 12 hours. Avoiding flushing the toilet or running water that could drain into the affected pipe.

You will quickly discover salt is poisonous to plants, and the salt will act as an effective sponge and suck moisture from the tree roots. By carrying this out twice per month, you can help keep pipes clear of roots.

One thing to note is you can kill the entire tree using rock salt, so be careful if you don’t wish to kill your tree or any other plant in the area where the flushed salt leaches into the soil.

What Dissolves Tree Roots in Sewer Lines?

Root intrusion, also called tree roots in sewer lines will lead to serious destruction to the sewer drainage system of your house. Tree roots can grow to extreme lengths around your property.

Copper Sulfate isn’t as effective as rock salt, yet when you use it to kill tree roots in sewer lines, take care when using it to get rid of roots as a DIY root killer, as it can be toxic.

Avoiding costs with needing sewer system repair, you can follow this to quickly control roots and make sure you don’t have too much tree root invasion in your pipes.

Copper is poisonous to roots, yet not fatal to trees, as the roots absorb only over a short distance. Thus, copper sulphate is recommended as the primary treatment for sewer pipes and stop roots growing.

You will find it more effective against small feeder roots than larger, established ones. The latter can die in a week or two, although to wither and wash away takes longer.

Tree roots avoid copper sulfate, so one way. To keep sewer lines clear, pour a small amount (less than 1/2 cup) of copper sulfate into your toilet. (Learn What Kills Weeds Permanently)

You can also tap into your sewer lines and treat them directly with copper sulfate root killer for sewer lines and hot water if you know where your sewer pipes are. The chemical leaches into the surrounding earth and stops roots from growing there and in your sewer line.

Will Vinegar Kill Tree Roots in Sewer Line?

Sewage is much more than waste to trees. It is highly nutritious, so you can see what they want to break into your sewers.

Slow-running toilets and sewage backups are the impacts of roots, and even while there are many effective chemicals professional plumbers use, there are root-killing things you can use yourself.

Roots typically enter sewer pipes from above, so it is possible to use chemicals that pass through the pipes without making contact.

When you see professional plumbers dealing with such issues, they will know that chemicals can flow underneath the roots, so they use a foaming mixture. You can purchase less toxic mixtures from home and garden centers or online stores. Such compounds contain dichlobenil and are safe to be used for septic systems.

If you don’t wish to introduce such a chemical into your septic system, then you have the choice of rock salt or copper sulfate to deal with the tree roots in your system.

It is easy to make your salt solution into a foaming solution and contact the tree roots that sit at the tops of the sewer lines.

It is an environmentally friendly solution, and all it consists of is vinegar and baking soda. Here are the steps to make your foaming homemade root killer solution.

Take one cup of regular table salt and one cup of baking soda. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie With Vinegar)

Add one cup of vinegar and boiling water into your toilet and flush the toilet immediately. When mixed, baking soda and vinegar will fizz and create a large amount of foam.

The fizzing action enables the solution to fill the pipes and lifts the salt solution, coming into contact with the obstructing roots.

The homemade root killer can kill roots on contact, although like other solutions, it takes time before dead roots wash away, and you won’t notice immediate results.

epsom salt

Will Epsom Salt Kill Tree Roots in Sewer Line?

When you want to stop roots growing without harsh chemicals, it’s easy to follow these homemade sewer system treatments to keep drains clear of any roots. You can discover your plumbing is also cleaner, and you face many regular blockages you could face commonly.

One final homemade root killer is Epsom salt, or better known as magnesium sulfate. Like regular salt, this can absorb moisture from the wood used in the right amount of quantity. It works by depleting roots of the moisture they need. Roots quickly dry, become brittle and flush away after time. (Find the Best Weed Killer Safe for Pets)

Epsom salts also won’t cause any harm to your septic tank or sewer pipe construction. Flushing these into your sewer can stop more than new roots from forming.

Using this method, you can have issues with the tree roots in sewer line; salt could also kill the entire tree. If the tree is close to your house, you may need a better solution from above, or you could find you have more extensive home improvement when branches fall as you are killing your tree.

Homemade Root Killer for Sewer Lines (2)

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