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

Sunday - September 30, 2012

From: Paragould, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Septic Systems, Trees
Title: Tree roots in sewer from Paragould AR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have beautiful pecan trees, an apple in the back yard, a pine on the west side of the house and pecan trees in the front yard. Two trees are interrupting my sewer systems (at least one in the back yard) and other than getting rid of them, is there anything I can do to curb the root growth in the sewer drain that I just spent a bunch of money to have cleaned out. I do have a "clean out" in the back yard that makes it easier to access from the outside and not under the house. Can there be root structure dug up to make sure my dilemna doesn't happen again and not kill the trees?

ANSWER:

We know a lot about trees and zip about sewer lines. We have in the past experienced this very problem. It was way in the past, because our sewer lines were terra cotta (yes, like your garden pots) and they were't just plugged, they were demolished. This took some major work by contractors and plumbers, replacing the "pot lines" with a poly pipe. We lived there several years longer and had no more problem, but the tree roots probably got in those lines later. There is no magic product to keep lines clear, and we are always in favor of bringing in people who know what they are doing. Many of the articles we read suggested the use of copper sulfate, which is quite poisonous; so much so, that it is suggested that if you flush it down a toilet, you leave the house for 24 hours. Not crazy about poisons. However, to permit you to research the various options, we found several different resources you should read.  This is way out of our line of expertise, except to say that tree roots do grow farther out than the circumference of the top of the trees. If you are forced to choose between the roots and the sewers, we would certainly want to keep the trees, on the other hand, the sewer......

Please look at the research we did; you are the only one that can decide this matter, but you need to get professional help and be sure you understand what is being recommended.

YouTube Ask the Builder. Roots in Sewer Lines.

PipeDoctor USA 5 Steps to Dealing with Invasive TreeRoots

eHow.com Home How to Get Rid of Roots in a Sewer Pipe

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Identification of tree blooming in Austin with yellow balls
March 21, 2012 - What is the tree/large shrub that is blooming now (mid-March) in the Austin area? It has small mesquite-type leaves, round yellow balls with fuzz on them and is fragrant. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Pflugerville, TX in blackland soil
March 21, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I'm perusing the plant sale list for a couple of tall shrubs to plant on the sunny southwest side of my house, in Blackland soil. It is generally dry there because of the sun, but can ge...
view the full question and answer

Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
July 17, 2009 - I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and reta...
view the full question and answer

Goat damage to Arizona Cypress from Palmdale CA
June 28, 2012 - My goats stripped the bottom branches of my Arizona Cypress. Will they come back and how can I prevent future damage?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center