How to stop roots from going into septic system?

Bob Cecil
by Bob Cecil

I have tree roots growing into septic system and clogging the pump lines. Applied to town to remove tree but can not remove the stump. What is my best solution?

  4 answers
  • The4dinkusranch The4dinkusranch on Apr 21, 2019

    Drill a few holes in the tree/trunk add salt. Rock or table, both will work. Add salt about once a week until tree trunk & all are dead. Then dig up or leave the trunk.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Apr 21, 2019

    Is the stump still alive ?? Flush 2 pounds of granular copper sulfate down the toilet for every 300 gallons of water that the septic tank holds. Copper sulfate kills and dissolves tree roots as they absorb the tank's water. After entering a tank, the majority of copper sulfate settles in tank, and little passes into the leach bed line. Saw through the tree trunk close to the ground using the chainsaw. Do this when the tree is actively growing. Herbicide does not work on a tree that is dormant.

    Drill five or six holes into the stump within 15 minutes of cutting down the tree. Pour glyphosate into each hole. Be careful not to spill any on nearby plants you do not want to kill, or on the ground.

    Cut up the tree and remove it from the area.

    Determine if any of the pipelines in the leach field are plugged by scraping away the soil over the manhole cover on the septic tank with a shovel. Remove the manhole cover and check the liquid level inside the tank. It should be no higher than 1 foot from the top of the tank. A level less than 1 foot from the top of the tank can indicate a plugged line.

    Dig up the pipeline nearest the tree roots that have invaded the leach field. Be careful not to damage the pipe. Inspect it for roots growing into the pipe. If roots are growing into the pipe, dig up the end of the pipe away from the septic tank. These pipes are usually open-ended. Insert the sewer auger into the end of the pipe and cut out the roots. Replace the pipe and soil around the pipe as you found them.

    Dig up and pull out tree roots that are at surface level of the leach field after they have begun to decay. Roots die within a few hours or treatment, but it takes several months for them to decay. After roots decay, they are easier to remove from the soil. Be careful not to dig into pipes in the leach field.Things You Will Need

    • Chainsaw
    • Eye protection
    • Gloves
    • Drill with 1/ 2-inch bit
    • Glyphosate, 50-percent concentration(Round-Up)
    • Sewer auger (optional)
    • Shovel


    • Roots that don't block the function of septic pipes can be left in the leach field. The glyphosate will stop them from growing. Over time they will decay into the soil.


    • Have a professional remove large trees.
    • Nearby trees that are similar height or age can have a root system fused with the tree you wish to remove. Treating with glyphosate can potentially harm a tree you want to keep.

  • Vicki Vicki on Apr 21, 2019

    Have your stump ground down by tree removalists .

  • Jwhit Jwhit on Apr 21, 2019

    Go to your home store, and get some copper sulfate, "root destroyer". Takes a while to work. If you need them gone right away, then a roto-rooter type company is probably what you need.