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Tree Root Killer
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Kill Tree Roots Using Copper Sulfate or Rock Salt

Kill Tree Roots With Copper Sulfate Or
Tree Roots sure can be a hassle when it comes to your sewer and drain lines. I have cleaned tree roots from thousands of sewer lines in Colorado. The ones I like doing the most are the preventative maintenance calls.
The preventative maintenance calls are our main source of income when the industry gets slow. We set up our prevents for the end of the year in fall starting in August. We also have prevents in the spring and usually use April as our Spring Start Up.
We always recommend the use of copper sulfate or rock salt to help keep tree roots from growing after we have cut the tree roots out. There is a 72 hour window to apply the Root Killer after the tree roots have been cut. It is similar to pruning a plant, the wound is wide open after being cut. As time goes by the wound begins to heal. We want to introduce the root kill product during the 72 hour window. 
Zep has a good Root Kill on the shelves of most  home improvement centers. The Bottle says ROOT Kill on the front and is a ZEP product. Rock Salt comes in a yellow bag usually located in the front of the store at King Soopers and Safeway. Rock Salt is used in water softeners and this is the area you would look to find Rock Salt.
I recommend applying the product at night when you go to bed and there will be no use on the sewer line. With the Copper Sulfate Root Kill by Zep I recommend dissolving the product in a 5 gallon bucket using hot water. Pour 1/2 the bottle into the 5 gallon bucket , fill 1/2 way with Hot Water and let product dissolve. Fill the 5 gallon bucket to top with cold water and pour the product into the lowest toilet in the house.Repeat process to get the entire bottle in the line. I always recommend 2 bottles at first treatment then 1 bottle every year after.
The same installation can be used to apply the rock salt, I have found that putting the rock salt into a heavy duty bag and smashing it with a hammer helps. This will help to dissolve the rock salt faster and keep from clogging your toilet. Always apply at night flush the toilet 3x to flush the product out into the sewer line.
Clay Pipe begins leaching the salt from the Rock Salt and the copper from the copper sulfate. Once the rock salt and copper sulfate leach into the clay pipe the tree roots begin to get burned and will not grow. Once you have treated the sewer line with enough Root Kill 2-3 years you will be able to kill the tree roots forever.
I hope this information helps you keep tree roots out of your sewer and drain lines. I have shared my information with hundreds of my clients and have received very positive feedback from several.
Tree Roots show no mercy and once they enter your sewer line you have a battle as a property owner. You can set up preventative maintenance and clean your sewer line yearly. (recommended) Replace Your Sewer Line (not so popular) Pipe Line your Sewer Line (cost effective)  As time goes by the tree roots will begin spreading the joints allowing thicker tree roots to enter the sewer line. Start your preventative maintenance program and get some root kill or rock salt working for you!
Kevin S Wright

39 Comments to Kill Tree Roots Using Copper Sulfate or Rock Salt:

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Nathaniel Fears on Thursday, February 07, 2013 6:09 AM
Extremely, mind blowing post it is! My expectation is maximum people will face this tree roots problem. Thanks for nice solution in your article. Carry on :)
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Don't pour copper in the ground on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:18 AM
Why would you recommend pouring copper sulfate into the same groundwater that these people will be drinking after it flushes through the septic? That is a recipe for getting sick.
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DanZee on Sunday, January 05, 2014 11:11 AM
Copper Sulfate is safe. It's used in ponds and pools to control algae and it's used in third-world countries to purify water by killing fungal diseases. It's also used in agriculture where there's a deficiency of copper in the soil.

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William Wells on Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:30 AM
Very interesting. You don't mention agound septic tanks. I have an old old system a cement casket about 8 foot in length about 4 chambers. I used to clean out the first two chambers almost every year. With less usage the last 6 years stopped doingit. More activity in the last two months and toilet started stopping up. Did the first chamber -not really clogged. Got into third chamber about 5 feet out. Saw some roots and removed. One pretty big. Opened rear cement plate. Last chamber a lot of roots. Removed. Next chamber a lot of roots. incredible to remove. A huge mat of roots. Was hard to remove. What a piece of art that was/is/ Three feet plus lng and two feet wide and one foot deept. That is after thirty years. Thirty-two years ago I did the entire tank and line. So, this is at least thirty years growth. What a deal. Putting rock salt around the edges of the tank sounds like a good idea so that thirty years from now no one will have to do what I did. With all the new regs I will need a sand mound if I ever sell the property. Fortunately, sewer goes up the secondary road I am on and if I ever sell the place the new owners can deal with the water and sewer bills that the twp always plays around with. Thanks for the tip.
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bumper on Saturday, August 10, 2013 8:21 PM
Half of the tree is hidden underground and is named roots. Roots can live without a tree. The tree cannot live without roots. The tree is active in the spring to the end of fall. Roots are more active from the end of fall to early spring. Roots accumulate nutrients, source the water and feed the tree during the winter. The tree dies when roots are killed. Herbicides kills roots but are very hard to find. There are many available herbicides but effective are only two. First a combination of two herbicides named Tordon. TORDON Picloram: 4-amino-3,5,6-tricloropicolonic acid, triisopropanolamine salt 2,4-D: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Second is Triclopyr Sold as: Triclopyr as amine salt (less volatile) of the 3,5,6-Trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid. [(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyl)oxy]- acetic acid Garlon 3A® Triclopyr, as the triethylamine salt. Garlon 4® Triclopyr, as the butoxyethyl ester. To poison the roots, you have to penetrate the inner bark, cambium cell layer, and sapwood. To poison roots you have to reach a concentration at least 1ppm in the roots. A word about Tordon (picloram): This chemical has a well-deserved reputation for causing extensive collateral damage due to the “circle of death” that often forms around treated plants and sometimes extends down slope from a treated area. This is due to the high toxicity of this chemical, its ability to move out of treated plant roots and through the soil, and to a very long” half life” (the time it takes for half of a given chemical to decompose). Historically it was often used to treat tree stumps in grassy areas, with no side effects observed. This was misleading because it is not toxic to grass, so often no susceptible vegetation was available to be killed; when similar stump treatments are done in a mixed prairie the nearby broadleaf species are often lost. Using CuSO4.5H2O or NaCl or combination of 200-250gL CuSO4.5H2O + H2SO4 200g/L and NaCl 90g/L Kill the Roots but Kills the IRON PIPE too. A 25 foot long 3/4" Pex 25 foot long solve the problem but needs an injector. Adding 5 gallons of water with 1% soap, and 1lbs sodium bicarbonate price $0.5 creates the foam. Using a herbicide you can create foam mixing dry1lbs NaHCO3 and 1lbs Al2(SO4)3. XH20 [x= 12 to 18] pouring it (dry) in the cleaning hole and adding after 5 gallons of warm water with 1% soap and with the herbicide : )
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steve sawyer on Thursday, January 23, 2014 5:37 PM
I installed an extra cleanout on my main line, one was just outside of the house and I installed an extra one next to the street (facing the house). Every couple of months I install an inspection balloon in the line at the street side cleanout, fill the line with salt water and copper sulfate (from the house side cleanout) and leave it that way for 10-12 hours. I was having to have the line cleaned every 4-6 months but since I did this I've been root free.
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