En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 16, 2014

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Controlling Tree Roots in Sewer Lines
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We had a leak with our underground pipes near the meter box - the pipes are at least a foot or more underground. My plumber poured table salt on the pipes to deter roots from a nearby tree from getting close to the pipes. Is this harmful to the tree and grass above ground?

ANSWER:

There are references online about flushing salt (usually rock salt) regularly down the toilet to keep tree roots from growing into sewer lines. The rock salt is dissolved in hot water and poured down the toilet at night. This is usually recommended after situations when there have been sewer problems from tree roots and the roots have been removed by a plumbing professional. The frequency of using salt for this purpose and the amount of salt used cover a wide range and doesn’t appear to be very scientific or research-based. There are also other remedies suggested online such as using copper sulfate to clear tree roots from sewer lines.

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends using a commercial product specifically formulated for deterring roots from growing in sewer lines. This way there will be a specific instructions on when to use it, the quantity to use for a certain pipe diameter and length to the street. The product will have been tested and will be safe to use for the toilet and safe for the tree and lawn, and won’t have an effect on our future drinking water supply.

 

More Trees Questions

Obtaining bark of Larix laricina from Hyderabad India
January 26, 2012 - I am in need of Larix laricina (Bark) for my research work. Please let me know how to procure it.
view the full question and answer

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Trees native to Long Island, NY
November 06, 2010 - My question is: What are the main trees that were native to Long Island before all other trees began to be brought into Long Island?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Mountain Laurel in Dallas
May 04, 2010 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is about 3 years old. When I bought it 2 summers ago, it was about a foot high. Now it is over 6 feet. It seems to have grown so fast that the branches can't ke...
view the full question and answer

Aesculus glabra var. arguta
May 10, 2009 - I am building a trail for the city of Dallas and need 10-5 gal. Texas Buckeye Trees(Aesculus glabra var. arguta). I can not find any in north Texas or the Austin area. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center