Even though your trees may seem far enough away from your pipes, a tree’s root system can extend up to three miles past the canopy. Whether you’re laying down new pipes or you’re trying to protect your pipes from experiencing more root damage, you have a few options to mitigate or avoid damage. To save you from future headaches and wasted cash, here’s how to protect your pipes from tree root damage.
Surround Your Pipes With Barriers
If you’re laying down pipes or you know where your pipes are, you can dig around the pipes and insert barriers to prevent the roots from getting near the pipes. In order to install them the right way the first time, you need to dig at least 6 inches, or up to a foot away, from the pipes. You’ll also want to make sure they run vertically along the pipes. Depending on your situation, you may only need to install the barriers in one direction, and you only need to extend the barriers as far as the root system goes. Just be sure that you make any lawn services aware of your installation.
Cut Away Roots
Tree root damage is one of the main reasons why water mains break. If the tree roots can break a water main, they can break your pipes. It’s best to start cutting away roots as soon as you notice a problem. And if you’ve started surrounding your pipes with barriers, you’re already on your way to start cutting away the invasive roots. You can do this with your hands if the roots are juvenile or not too thick. However, if you have a really invasive root system or the seeds are thick and tangled, you may want to rent a mechanical auger to cut away the extra roots. However, whichever method you choose, take your time in removing them to avoid damaging your pipes further.
Poison the Roots
Another popular method of getting rid of tree roots in your pipes is to poison them. You can use copper sulfate to kill the roots without killing the tree, and copper sulfate is available at most hardware stores. However, before doing so, check your local regulations to make sure you can use this at low concentrations.
But because copper sulfate can be harmful to the septic system, only add a little at a time. Ideally, you’ll flush half a cup of copper sulfate down your toilet, wait 10 minutes, and then repeat this process about three times. It’s important to note that copper sulfate cannot clear out a major root infestation, so it may be best to call a professional if you want to kill the roots without killing the tree.
Knowing how to protect your pipes from tree root damage can save you from spending money and wasting time. Start protecting your pipes before your trees’ roots start taking over.