Go Back

How to Prevent Roots in Your Sewer Line

Who doesn’t love trees?

They not only amplify the aesthetic appeal of your home but also provide shelter and oxygen. But every positive has a negative. While trees are life-givers, they can also destroy your home’s intricate plumbing system.

If there is even a tiny crack in your sewer line, you can bet your bottom dollar that tree roots will find their way in. They seek the nutrition and water in the sewer line the way Gollum seeks the one ring to rule them all.

What happens is that you can no longer flush the toilet, take a shower, or wash your hands without water getting backed up all the time. By the time you notice, the damage has already been done.

But is it possible to prevent root intrusion?
You bet!

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Root Intrusion in your Sewer Line

Here are some strategies that can help you avoid this nightmare:

  1. Locate your sewer line
    You may need the help of a home inspector or the local sewer department for this. But the knowledge of your sewer line’s location is essential. Find out where it runs through your yard and where it connects to your house.
  2. Remove trees nearby
    Now that you’ve identified the sewer line’s location, you know exactly which trees are nearby, if at all. If those trees have an aggressive root system, it’s best to remove them. It might even be possible that their roots have already infiltrated the lines (more on that later).
    Even if those trees are young, you are better off removing them before they become too big. Prevention is always better than the cure, remember?
    Otherwise, you’ll be facing the genuine possibility of clogged or collapsed pipes in the future.
  3. Plant slow-growing variety
    Your property doesn’t need to be devoid of trees. If there is enough space in your yard, you can plant those with aggressive root systems far away from the sewer lines. However, you can always opt for a slow-growing variety if there is a space crunch.
    Slow-growing species include crabapple trees, common figs, eastern redbud, and Japanese maple. These take years to reach the sewer line, and there are ways to prevent the invasion through chemical barriers (we will discuss this below).
    It’s still best practice to plant the slow-growing trees or shrubs as far as possible from the sewer line.
    You will want to steer clear of these trees: oak, willow, beech, mulberry, poplar, elm, birch, citrus, etc.
  4. Use chemical barriers
    This is more of a temporary solution. You can discourage root growth near your pipes by spreading chemicals like potassium hydroxide, copper sulphate or rock salt on the ground near them. Knowing the location comes in handy again!
    Tree roots tend to stay away from these chemicals. However, if the roots continue to grow towards the lines, removing the trees altogether is the only solution.
  5. Conduct a video inspection
    Upon finding the sewer line’s location, you may suspect that the nearby trees have already found their way to them. If the symptoms haven’t shown up yet, there’s only one way to find out. And that is to conduct a video inspection.

This step is best left to plumbing experts like The Super Plumber. We have the experience and equipment to carry out video camera inspections. A plumbing inspection is never a bad idea!

If not the tree roots, you may find other reasons for the clog: hair, foreign objects, and debris. By subscribing to an annual inspection plan, you can ensure that neither tree roots nor other forms of debris are wreaking havoc on your home’s plumbing system.

Note: A video inspection is necessary even if there is no tree nearby. A small bush can have an aggressive root system. Perhaps, there could be a larger tree in your neighbour’s yard. Don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to the safety of your house’s essential systems! The risks are to not only your sewer lines but also the home’s foundation.

What if it’s too late?

The plumbing inspection will identify if tree roots are indeed damaging your sewer lines. In that case, don’t take the matter into your own hands. Call The Super Plumber to assess and repair the damage. Dial 250-995-1234, and help will arrive at your doorstep.

Our team will use a mechanical sewer auger or the hydro jetting method depending on how severe the problem is. To prevent root intrusion from recurring, our licensed plumbing experts can reline the pipes to seal any cracks or holes.

If the sewer line is completely collapsed, we can replace it without digging up your entire yard – a method also known as trenchless pipe repair.
You have plenty of options, and we offer them all!