Septic Tank Root Killer

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Read the Affiliate Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.


Septic systems play a crucial role in waste disposal for many homes, but they can be prone to clogs and blockages. One common cause of septic tank issues is the infiltration of roots from nearby trees and shrubs. In this article, we will explore the problems caused by root intrusion, signs of clogs to watch out for, and effective ways to tackle the issue using root killers. We will also delve into safety precautions when handling these chemicals and explore a DIY root killer alternative using basic household ingredients.

What Causes Clogs In Septic Tanks?

Septic tanks are designed to break down solid waste and separate it from the liquid effluent. However, when roots from nearby trees and shrubs find their way into the septic tank, they can cause serious blockages. As roots grow, they form tangled masses that obstruct the flow of effluent, leading to slow drains, backups, and potential overflows.

Signs of Clogs Caused by Root Intrusion

Identifying the signs of root intrusion early can help prevent major septic tank issues. Look out for the following indicators:

  • Slow-draining bathtubs and sinks
  • Gurgling sounds from the toilet
  • Water backing up into the house
  • Slow drains throughout the property
  • Occasional overflows near the septic tank

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to address the problem promptly to avoid costly repairs.

Understanding Root Killers And Their Types

Root killers, also known as root inhibitors, are herbicides designed to inhibit and destroy root growth in septic systems. They are available in various formulas, each with its unique characteristics and effects.

Copper Sulfate

Copper sulfate is a common ingredient in many root killers and is available in crystal, foam, dust, or liquid forms. When used correctly, it can effectively eliminate roots without harming the entire tree. However, caution must be exercised as excessive use can corrode septic pipes and contaminate the environment.

Dichlobenil Foam Formula

Dichlobenil foam formula is another option to dissolve tree roots. Compared to copper sulfate, it is less toxic but still effective in dealing with root intrusion.

35% Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide with a concentration of 35% is considered a potent root killer. Its foaming action allows it to reach deep into the roots and destroy them effectively.

Related Post  Are Septic Tank Additives Necessary?

Septic Tank Root Killer: Safety Measures

When handling root killers, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. These chemicals can be hazardous to humans and the environment. Follow these safety guidelines:

  • Wear appropriate protective gear, including eye protection, gloves, long sleeves, and pants.
  • Keep children and pets away from the treated area.
  • Store root killers out of reach and sight of children.

DIY Root Killer: A Natural Solution

For those seeking a natural and homemade alternative to commercial root killers, a basic household solution can be effective. Here’s how to make a DIY root killer:

  1. Mix baking soda, vinegar, and salt together in a container.
  2. The solution will begin to fizz and foam.
  3. Apply the mixture directly to the roots invading the septic system.
  4. The salt in the solution dehydrates the roots, eventually killing them.

Septic Tank Root Killer: Avoiding Future Problems

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to septic tank issues caused by root intrusion. To avoid future problems:

  • Plant trees and shrubs with long roots away from the septic tank area.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain the septic system to catch any potential problems early on.

Septic Tank Root Killer: Why Roots Grow Into Septic Pipes

Roots growing into septic pipes is a common problem that many homeowners face, and understanding the reasons behind this issue can help prevent costly repairs and damage to the septic system. Here are the primary reasons why roots tend to invade septic pipes:

  1. Moisture and Nutrients: The soil around septic pipes contains moisture and essential nutrients that roots seek to support their growth. When trees and shrubs are planted near the septic tank, their roots naturally extend in search of water and nutrients, leading them towards the septic pipes.
  2. Warmth: Septic pipes can emit warmth due to the decomposition process of the waste inside. This warmth can be attractive to roots, especially during colder months, encouraging them to grow towards the pipes.
  3. Microcracks and Joints: Over time, septic pipes may develop tiny cracks or joints due to wear and tear. These small openings release water vapor and odors, acting as signals to nearby roots that a water source is available. Roots can then penetrate these cracks and joints, infiltrating the pipes.
  4. Tree Species: Certain tree species are more likely to cause problems than others. For example, willow, oak, and maple trees have aggressive and extensive root systems that can easily infiltrate septic pipes.
  5. Pipe Leaks: If there is a leak in the septic pipe, it releases moisture into the surrounding soil, attracting roots in the vicinity. The roots may then grow towards the leak in an attempt to reach the water source.
  6. Long-Term Growth: Trees and shrubs are long-term inhabitants of their surroundings. As they grow, their root systems expand, and if they were initially planted too close to the septic system, their roots can eventually reach the pipes.
Related Post  Septic Tank Not Draining After Rain

To prevent roots from growing into septic pipes, homeowners should carefully plan the landscaping around their septic tanks. Planting trees and shrubs with non-invasive root systems away from the septic area is crucial. Regular maintenance and inspection of the septic system can also help identify root intrusion early, allowing for timely action to prevent major clogs and damages. When selecting root killers to deal with the issue, opt for environmentally friendly options that won’t harm the surrounding soil and water sources. By taking these precautions, homeowners can keep their septic systems functioning efficiently and avoid the inconvenience and expenses associated with root intrusion.

Septic Tank Root Killer: FAQs

Yes, you can put root killer directly in the septic tank, but it is essential to do so cautiously. Use root killers specifically designed for septic systems and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. While root killers can help eliminate intrusive roots, excessive use can harm the septic tank’s beneficial bacteria, leading to system issues. It’s best to consult a professional before using root killers in your septic tank to ensure it’s done safely and effectively, minimizing any potential damage to the system. Regular maintenance and proper root killer application can help keep your septic system running smoothly.

The time it takes for septic root killer to work can vary depending on the product’s formulation and the extent of root intrusion. In general, root killers may take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to effectively kill and decompose the roots within the septic system. During this period, the root killer works to inhibit root growth and gradually breaks down the intrusive roots, allowing for improved drainage and preventing further clogs. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be patient while waiting for the root killer to take full effect.

The fastest way to kill roots in a sewer line is by using root salt. Root salt, also known as copper sulfate, is a potent root killer that effectively destroys intrusive roots in sewer lines. When applied directly into the sewer line, the root salt quickly dissolves and penetrates the roots, inhibiting their growth and eventually causing them to die off.

Related Post  What Is Decommissioning Of A Septic Tank?

To build a leach field in clay soil, follow these steps for a large leach field or a septic mound system, which is a raised leach field. First, conduct a percolation test to assess the soil’s drainage capacity. Next, excavate the designated area to create trenches or a mound. Install perforated pipes in the trenches or on top of the mound. Backfill with gravel to enhance drainage. Cover the pipes with geotextile fabric and then soil to prevent clogging. Regularly maintain the system to ensure proper functioning and avoid septic issues. Seek professional guidance for optimal results.

Yes, some eco-friendly approaches involve introducing natural predators of black soldier fly larvae or using biological treatments that target the larvae without harming beneficial organisms. These methods offer sustainable and environmentally friendly options for larval control in septic tanks.

Borax, a natural mineral compound, is considered safe for septic tanks when used in moderation. It can aid in controlling odors and deterring pests without causing harm to the tank’s microbial balance. However, excessive use of borax can potentially disrupt the septic system’s bacterial ecosystem, which is crucial for effective waste breakdown.

Soakaway worms typically require oxygen to survive, and septic tanks lack this element. Introducing worms into such an environment may pose challenges to their survival.

Septic Tank Root Killer: Conclusion

Root intrusion can cause significant damage to septic systems and lead to costly repairs. Recognizing the signs of root clogs and taking proactive measures can help avoid these issues. Utilizing effective root killers, such as copper sulfate and hydrogen peroxide, can tackle root intrusion without harming the surrounding environment. Remember to exercise caution when handling these chemicals and consider a natural DIY root killer if you prefer an eco-friendly approach. By taking preventive measures and addressing root intrusion promptly, you can ensure the smooth functioning of your septic system for years to come.