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Three Ways to Control Invasive Roots

November 23, 2015

When homeowners deal with invasive plants in their yard, they usually think of pulling weeds and raking leaves, but trees can be invasive underground, too. You may plan for having a tree or two in your yard, but don’t forget to plan for their roots. A single tree’s root system can spread horizontally several times longer than it the tree is tall. These roots are constantly growing and looking for more nutrients, oxygen, and water in the soil. This makes your underground sewer pipes prime targets for thirsty roots. Fortunately, there are a few options for controlling these invasive roots before they cause significant damage.

Chemical Treatments

Some chemicals are capable of killing tree roots or preventing them from growing. Some chemicals are harmful to the entire root system, while others only target specific roots and have minimal effect on the tree’s overall health. If you want to control roots that are growing into your sewage line, Roto-Rooter makes a product called RootX. This product is simply flushed down a toilet and targets any roots in the plumbing on its way through your system. If the roots begin to grow back, simply repeat this process.

Root Barriers

If you’re interested in a chemical-free solution, consider using root barriers. These are physical barriers that redirect root growth downward instead of horizontally, so trees can be planted near sidewalks, driveways, and hardscapes that might otherwise be damaged by extensive root growth. These barriers are made from various materials, and are sometimes coated with herbicides or other substances that provide yet another reason for roots to turn away.

Planning Ahead

If you really want to control roots effectively, your best bet is to plan ahead with regards to the trees in your landscaping. If you bought a home and inherited large trees with invasive roots, this may mean getting rid of them and starting over. When you choose trees for your yard, pay attention to their size and location, and look for any information specific to their root growth. The larger the tree, the larger its root system and the farther it needs to be placed from your home, sewage lines, etc. As long as you plant the appropriate trees in appropriate places, you should always have the roots on your property completely under control.

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