Three Ways to Control Invasive Roots

November 23, 2015

When homeowners deal with invasive plants in their yard, they usually think of weeds (the pesky, ugly plants that you don’t want in your yard), but trees can be invasive too. You may plan for having a tree or two in your yard, but forget to plan for their roots. A single tree’s root system can spread horizontally several times longer than it is tall. These roots are constantly growing and looking for more nutrients, oxygen, and water in the soil. This is fine until the tree roots start getting into your plumbing or lifting and cracking your sidewalk or driveway. Fortunately, there are a few options for controlling these invasive roots.


Some chemicals are capable of killing 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 health. If you want to control roots that are growing into your sewage line, Roto-Rooter in Toronto, makes a product called Root Destroyer. This product is simply flushed down a toilet and targets any roots in the plumbing. If the roots begin to grow back, simply repeat this process.

Root Barriers

Just like the Berlin Wall separated East Berlin from the rest of the city, root barriers are capable of separating roots from where they’re not supposed to be. These are physical barriers that direct root growth down instead of horizontally, so trees can be planted near sidewalks, driveways, and hardscapes that trees might interfere with otherwise. These barriers are made from various materials, and sometimes they are 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. Typically 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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