How to Kill Roots in Sewer Pipes


Deep tree roots are naturally drawn to cracked sewer pipes. These compromised pipes leak water and nutrients into the soil, attracting the roots. Once a tree root finds its way into a crack in a sewer pipe, it will grow rapidly. Tree roots that grow large enough will block the sewer line and cause sewage to back-flow into your yard or basement. But although the problem may seem disastrous, you don't have to kill the trees to kill the roots that have grown into your sewer pipes. A simple foaming septic root killer will kill interfering roots on contact while keeping the tree safe.

Step 1

Pour the foaming root killer into the sewer system. The best method is to pour the root cleaner into your cleanout (the capped pipe on your property that directly accesses the sewer line). If you don't have a cleanout on your property, flush the foaming root killer down the toilet.

Step 2

Turn off all the water in your home. Keep it off for at least one hour after the foaming root killer treatment.

Step 3

Re-treat the sewer system with foaming root killer annually. Most foaming root killers kill roots and retard their growth, but other roots may find their way into other compromised sections of your pipes. Pre-emptive treatment is the best approach.


  • City of Edmonton: Root Growth in Sewers
  • Walter Reeves: Foaming Root Killer
  • Drains and Plumbing: Sewer Drains and Cleaning Tree Roots: What to Do When They Meet
Keywords: sewer roots, kill roots, pipe roots

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.