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

Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
April 16, 2012 - I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting non-native crape myrtle in Scottsdale AZ
May 11, 2014 - When is the best time to transplant dwarf crape myrtle in Scottsdale AZ?
view the full question and answer

Dead portions on oak tree in Hutchinson KS
August 22, 2011 - I have an oak tree on the property I just moved into. One tree is healthy, the other has a dead side or almost dead. It did have some new green leaves on the dead branches but not many. What should...
view the full question and answer

Windbreak for Eastern Kansas
July 17, 2011 - I need to plant a fast growing windbreak near my lateral lines for a septic tank. We obviously can't have anything that would interfere with the laterals but I desperately need a North wind break. ...
view the full question and answer

Planting ornamental cherries in GA
February 18, 2011 - What is the correct way to plant ornamental cherry trees in N. Georgia Mountain clay soil? Which is the hardiest variety?
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