Top Way to Detect and Prevent Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line

When you wash your hands, shower, or poop, you believe that the wastewater will be carried away without incident by the sewer pipes. If tree roots have penetrated the lines, the situation can quickly escalate into a serious nuisance. Here are the most effective methods for detecting and preventing tree roots from growing into your underground pipes.

roots in pipes

How to Avoid Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

Enquire with your local sewer authority or a home inspector about the location of the sewer lines that run through your yard and into your house. Use this information to ensure that trees are planted away from sewer pipes.

Choose a slow-growing variety that develops to 20 feet or less if no other location is acceptable for a tree other than an area that goes over a known sewer line. Japanese maple, eastern redbud, common fig, and crabapple trees are examples of species that meet these requirements.

How to Detect and Repair Sewer Line Tree Roots

If your home’s plumbing consistently backs up or has other issues, it could be an indication that tree roots are creeping into your sewer system. You have a few choices for dealing with this problem:

  • Mechanically remove the roots: 

You may be able to cut through tree roots that have made their way into the pipes. A specialist sends a mechanical drill developed expressly for this purpose down the sewer line to slice the roots and allow them to flow out. This is only a temporary remedy – the roots will regrow – but it permits your pipes to run freely until you can find a more permanent solution.

  • Chemical root removal: 

After mechanical root removal, one alternative is to destroy the roots with chemicals. However, this can be risky, so if you go this way, you should seek the advice of an expert.

  • Using a video camera, investigate the problem: 

If you are unsure whether tree roots are the source of the problem or want to determine the scope of the problem, contact a professional plumber. Gray Plumbing inspects the sewer line using innovative video equipment to discover probable pipe damage.

  • Repair your sewer line: 

If the tree root damage is severe enough, trenchless sewer repair may be considered. This is when we repair the broken pipe by lining it with a long-lasting, seamless material that effectively produces a new pipe within the old one. Small access holes are all that is needed, allowing you to avoid the mess and expense of trench digging.


Preventing tree roots from entering your sewer system is ideal, but if you’ve already noticed signs of tree root invasion, call Gray Plumbing right once. With our sewer video inspection services, we’ll assess whether mechanical and chemical root removal is enough or if a full trenchless sewer repair is required. We will help you get your sewer system back on track. Please contact us today to learn more or to book a video camera examination.