How to Keep Tree Roots From Growing into a Sewer Line

Ask any homeowner and they will tell you tree roots and sewer line problems can become a very expensive issue if not handled properly. Prevention is far better than repair.

Type of Pipe

If you live in an older home that has cast iron pipes you will have far more problems with sewer lines and tree roots. As these pipes age they can crack and rust. Even a small crack will allow water and sewage to leak which will attract roots as they grow toward moisture. These roots can work their way into the pipes, grow, expand and clog or split the pipes, causing sewer backups, damage to your lawn and expensive repair bills. Many people with cast iron pipes will replace them with PVC pipe. There is also a system where a type of liner can be installed inside these pipes to prevent the roots from growing. This is an expensive job that would have to be done by a plumber.


Copper sulfate is the most widely used product to keep roots from growing into a sewer line. It can be purchased at any hardware store. Routinely flush the amount recommended on the package down the toilet. This is usually done once a month. Flush the toilet a few more times or run water to carry it out to the main sewer line on your property. If you have some fumes, you will need to open windows or leave the house as they can make you sick.