Will Rock Salt Kill Tree Roots in a Sewer Line?

Will Rock Salt Kill Tree Roots in a Sewer Line?

Trees are resilient organisms. For example, did you know that tree roots can sense moisture and will naturally grow in the direction of water sources? This fascinating fact can cause nightmares for homeowners. Since sewer lines are located underground, tree roots can seek them out as a source of water. Any damaged areas or gaps in your sewer pipes are gateways for them to slowly ease their way in. Once the roots absorb the moisture from the pipe, they expand, causing severe damage that can lead to costly repairs.

If you suspect you have a tree root intrusion in your sewer line, you may be tempted to find a quick fix. An online search will yield plenty of results recommending rock salt to solve your tree root problems, but will rock salt actually kill tree roots in your sewer line?

Rock Salt Causes More Problems Than It Solves

Although rock salt will indeed kill tree roots on contact, flushing it down your sewer line in crystalline form could add to the blockage and cause even more damage. You could use a liquid solution of rock salt, but that will likely bypass the roots entirely when traveling through the sewer line without making enough contact to kill them. However, a liquid rock salt solution is a great preventative measure since it can stop new tree roots from entering your pipes.

What About Foaming Root Killers?

An alternative to rock salt is a foaming chemical root killer. When you use a foaming root killer, the foam slowly fills your sewer line, killing any tree roots that may have made their way in and flushing them out. This is not a quick process - it could be months before the dead roots are entirely flushed from your line. In the meantime permanent cracks could form, causing a pipe to burst or a sewage backup.

Nothing is a Substitute for a Good Plumber. Keep in mind that tree roots are not the problem, the broken pipe or the gap in the joints is the problem.  It allows water to get out of the pipe and the roots are looking for water.

If you suspect that tree roots may have infiltrated your sewer line, don’t waste your time on rock salt or foam methods that may not even work. Call the experts at the first sign of a problem. Your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing has expert solutions to your tree root intrusion woes, including trenchless sewer line repair. Contact your local Mr. Rooter at (855) 591-0128 or request an estimate today.

Need help determining where to plant or transplant trees in your yard? The Grounds Guys have some great information on putting the right trees in the right spot. The Grounds Guys are part of Neighbourly’s community of home service providers. You can trust them with your next lawn maintenance and hardscaping projects.

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