A frustrating and fairly common issue here in Georgia is the issue of plant and tree roots invading our plumbing system.

How To Clear Roots From Your Drain Pipes

Once the problem has begun, it can turn into an expensive issue to fix so the best thing that a homeowner can do is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

How Do You Stop Roots From Growing Into Pipes?

The best possible thing to do is to try to prevent the incidence of tree roots ever getting into your pipes in the first place. If you're landscaping your yard, think about where and what kind of trees you will be planting.

1) Plant trees at least 10 feet away from any sewer lines - if possible. This isn't a foolproof prevention but it will take the tree roots much longer to get to your pipes if they are further away to begin with.

2) Plant trees that are considered to be "safe" - because they are smaller and grow more slowly. A few are:

  • Amur Maple
  • Paperbark Maple
  • Serviceberry
  • Fringetree
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Cypress

What To Do If You Have Tree Roots In Your Pipes

The first step (if you haven't already taken it) is to make sure that you do have tree roots in your pipes. The best way to do this is with a camera inspection service.

This will determine the location of the roots and the extent of damage done to the pipe. It saves alot of time and money because the camera can show you and your plumber exactly what the problem is (was it a crack, a loose joint?) and what needs to be done to repair it.

There are some products that can be used to help to kill the roots of trees and plants but these are to be used with caution and in the case of copper sulfate, you need to copper

Rock Salt (use with caution)

You can attempt to kill the roots in your sewer pipes yourself but USE CAUTION. Doing so can easily kill the tree / bushes themselves.

To use this method:

Get 2 pounds of rock salt

Pour 1/4 to 1/5 pound into a toilet and flush it several times until all the rock salt has been flushed.

Repeat the process until you've gone through the entire 2 pounds

Repeat this 2-3 times a month to destroy any roots that get into your pipes.

Rock salt is poisonous to plants (hence the precaution that it can kill the tree / bush where the roots are coming from).

Copper Sulfate (use with caution)

This can be a safer option than Rock Salt for your trees, because it can dissolve tree roots without killing the entire tree. But there are limitations

Because copper sulfate can be toxic to animals and its buildup in aquatic environments can harm both plant and fish populations, the use of the root destroyer is banned in certain areas. As a result, before using copper sulfate as root killer, you'll need to check with local and state ordinances to see whether the treatment is legal or not. - Hunker.com

You can contact your local water department for more information on Copper Sulfate.

There are also other various products on the market that can be used to kill plant roots in your sewer pipes. The geography that you live in will determine what the best type of product to use so we recommend that you contact an arborist or speak to a professional at your local nursery.

Will Bleach Kill Tree Roots In A Sewer Line?

Very much like Rock Salt, bleach may kill tree roots in a sewer line but it usually also kills the tree itself. Bleach can be used to keel and remove a tree stump and yes, it can be used to kill tree roots but only after the tree roots have been cut off from the rest of the tree.

Otherwise, you might as well just have the tree removed.


If you have any questions about plant roots and your drain pipes or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We Offer Tree Root Removal in Metro Atlanta and Surrounding Areas

Fulton County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County, Gwinnett County, and Douglas County.

Acworth GA, Atlanta GA, Austell GA, Cartersville GA, Doraville GA, Douglasville GA, Hiram GA, Kennesaw GA, Lawrenceville GA, Lithia Springs GA, Loganville GA, Mableton GA, Marietta GA, Powder Springs GA, Rockmart GA, Roswell GA, Smyrna GA, Tucker GA, Villa Rica GA, Vinings GA, Woodstock GA, and Surrounding Communities.