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Man Digging Tree Roots - Tom

Getting Rid of Roots on Your Sewer Line

Having plants and trees outside in your yard might be very appealing. You may even feel proud of them and how well maintained and well cared for they are. However, their invasive roots can find their way into your sewer line and can potentially cause a very costly headache.

Since obtaining water is the primary objective of the roots, they can be persistent on their goal to reach over the sewer pipelines. As the roots grow, they can develop around and encircle the pipes.

The root’s natural growth is expected to continue and will eventually put too much pressure on the pipe and eventually break it apart.

That’s the last thing you’d want because a broken pipeline can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

When it comes to sewage line blockages, it’s usually the invasive roots of trees and shrubs that are to blame. Roots will always have the ability to break your sewer pipeline due to their persistent nature.

This article post covers how to keep roots from causing damage to your sewer line, as well as how to get rid of them.

Locate Your Sewer Lines

The first way to trace your sewer line from your house is to look for your indoor sewer cleanout point. It is usually found in basements or garages. Old Ceramic Sewer Line Full of Tree Roots - Tom's Plumber

Find a pipe with a screw cap or cleanout cap that is about four inches in diameter. If you can locate it inside your house, you’ll have an idea where your sewer lines are if you trace it.

Another easy way to locate your sewer lines is to locate cleanout points in your yard.

Outside the house, sewer line access points are usually positioned near the street where the sewer line connects to the municipal sewer line. It will be easier to spot since cleanout caps typically emerge from the ground.

Another simple way to find out where your sewer pipes are is to call your local Water and Sewer Department. They will help you locate your sewer lines and provide you with a locator.

Check for Trees and Plants

Once you’ve pinpointed the location of your sewer lines, determine whether or not there are any trees near them.

Don’t underestimate the space between the trees and the sewer lines, even if the trees appear to be far away.

Always think about the roots, which can stretch a long way from where their trees are without you even realizing it. Always consider the potential that roots have grown towards your sewer lines.

Get Your Sewer Line Inspected

Hire a trusted professional, like a plumber from Tom’s Plumbing and Drain Service, LLC, to look into your sewer line. We have the right tools and equipment, such as a camera probe to investigate the sewer system.
It’s a good idea to have your sewer lines inspected regularly. It will cost you some money, but not nearly as much as having to fix a broken sewer line after it is too late.

Get Rid of the Roots

There are multiple ways how to get rid of the invasive roots that are trying to break into your sewer lines: Plumbers sewer snake camera - Tom's Plumber

  • Cut the roots – Carefully cut the roots with small-pipe hydraulic blade root cutters or mechanical auger or rooter.
  • Kill the roots – Herbicides can be used to kill invasive roots. The best root killer for sewer lines is a product with copper sulfate pentahydrate. Always read the labels on herbicides since most products contain hazardous chemicals that will kill not only the roots but the entire tree.
  • Hire a professional to get rid of the roots for you – Engage the services of a root removal professional in your area. They will be equipped with the necessary tools and equipment to deliver safe and effective root removal and solutions in your sewer lines.

Make Any Necessary Repairs

Once all the roots that infested your sewer line are removed, have a certified plumber repair all the damage that the root caused.

We offer excellent services and techniques that make sewer line repairs simple and non-invasive, allowing you to avoid destroying your landscaping.

Our experienced plumbers will educate you on the state of your sewer line and do the necessary repairs at a reasonable cost.

 Avoid Future Root Problems

  • Keep the roots out of your sewer lines. If you wish to still have plants and trees in your yard, plant them at least 10 feet away from your sewer pipes.
  • Choose the right plant and trees. Plan and research your trees. Plants trees in your yard that have non-spreading roots such as eastern redbud trees, dogwood trees, holly shrubs, and much more
  • Limit your planting. Don’t overplant in areas near your sewer lines. If you’re really into planting, you can use hanging plants and potted trees.
  • Monitor and maintain your plants and trees. Even if they are planted 10 feet away from your sewer pipelines, always manage your plant and apply necessary measures if you’ve noticed roots spreading towards the sewer lines.
  • Have your sewer lines regularly checked by us. It will provide you with the assurance you require in the event of sewer line problems.

These tips will help you prevent roots from obstructing your sewer lines and avoid sewer problems in the future.

There is nothing wrong with having trees and plants in your backyard. Plants and trees add beauty to your home while also providing benefits such as shade, oxygen, and much more.

Simply keeping them 10 feet away from your sewer line can save you the trouble and costs of having to restore broken sewer lines caused by the tree roots.

Importantly, regular sewer line maintenance is one of the greatest ways to keep them in proper working order and avoid spending thousands of dollars on repairs.


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Tom’s Plumbing and Drain is a family-owned, full-service company offering plumbing, draining, and repairs in New Orleans, Louisiana.

With 20 years of experience, our professional and certified plumbers can handle all of your sewer line service needs. If you have a plumbing question or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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