Treat the Root of the Problem!

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Getting to the root of the problem.

In this case, the roots are the problem. Roots in sewer lines at least.

Happy hot summer days from Brad Nale, everyone. It’s hot, it’s been dry, it’s Colorado. Your trees are looking for water and where they find it could be a real problem.

Trees are truly amazing. They send out roots looking for water further than you can imagine. I had suckers coming up from Cottonwood tree roots in my backyard 120 feet away from the tree. Worse than that, I had roots invading my sewer line, and this may be happening to you too.

Was your home built in the middle of the last century? If so, there’s a good chance that you have clay pipes leading from your house to the main sewer line. These clay pipes allow roots in very easily. You may also have thin gauge plastic pipe put in in the 1970’s – 80’s. They’re also a culprit for allowing roots easy access. Roots will find the tiniest of cracks or opening in joints and shoot in to get at the constant supply of water. Once inside, the roots grow and grow to the point of clogging the entire line. You may not notice this with normal household usage either. It often takes a party, or your in-laws staying over to push the usage up just a bit, and voila – sewer line back-up in the house. I don’t need to tell you what a mess that can be. (Not to mention the fact that you’ll never hear the end of it from your in-laws)

You can’t blame the trees, they’re just thirsty. One way you can help prevent this is to water thoroughly with a root waterer during the summer months. This shoots water right down, about three feet underground, where it can trickle down and help your trees from becoming so thirsty. Root waterers are inexpensive, easy to use, don’t waste water and can truly benefit your trees.

The helpful folks at your local Ace Hardware can also help you with preventative measures for keeping roots from clogging your pipes. There are granular root killer products that you flush down your drain that will keep roots from becoming a big problem without harming your trees.

If your trees have gone wild and you have a clog, there’s not much that you can do other than call a sewer rooter service. They will come out with a professional root-cutting pipe snake and clear your clog. They can also run a camera down your line and show you the condition of your pipes. (Talk about some fun home movies!) This can be a great thing to know, so you can judge if you can get by with root-killing preventative measures after they clean the pipes out, or if you need to dig pipes up and start all over. The latter is not cheap or easy and really proves the adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you need help with square roots, call a math teacher. If you need help with tree roots and want to keep your trees happy, your pipes flowing and your life easy, come see us at Ace Hardware and we’ll help you get to the root of the problem.