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

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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

 

 

 

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