How to Remove Tree Roots in Your Pipes

Every homeowner dreams of having a beautifully landscaped yard filled with luscious trees and delicate flowers, but did you know their roots can wreak havoc on your pipes underground?

While trees and bushes can elevate your yard, their roots can cause expensive damage to your plumbing system.

Learn more about what causes roots in pipes and the steps you as a homeowner can take to repair or replace your pipes.

How Tree Roots Get into Your Pipes

So how do tree roots manage their way into your pipes and sewer line?

Tree roots in pipe and sewer lines are often caused by a small crack or a loose joint in your pipes.

As water moves through your pipes and sewer lines, sewer vapors are released into the soil. This vapor contains moisture, oxygen, and nutrients – all essential components for trees and plants to grow.

As the vapor is released, tree roots will begin to grow toward the source and slowly infiltrate your sewer line, potentially causing the pipe to collapse.

Signs of Roots in Your Sewer Line

Identifying and detecting roots in your pipes can be tricky as the pipes are underground and out of sight. However, there are several signs you can look out for in case roots are growing into your pipes.

Slow Draining: If you notice that your showers and sinks are slowly draining — even after using drain cleaner, this could indicate that there are roots in your pipes.

Contact a Chas Roberts plumbing pro to inspect your sewer lines and clear your drains once and for all.

Gurgling Sounds: If, after flushing your toilet or using your sink, you hear gurgling sounds, this could also result from tree roots in pipes and sewer lines.

Strong Odors: If you are smelling rotten smells from your drains, this could indicate that you have a severe blockage in in your sewer lines.

If you’re experiencing some or all the symptoms mentioned above, a plumbing professional can help.

They’ll inspect your plumbing system and identify a cause by placing a camera down into your pipes to check for roots or any other blockages.

Removing the Roots

After your plumber has determined that your plumbing system has roots in the sewer line, they’ll provide you with two options of removal: mechanical auger or hydro jetting.

Mechanical Auger

A mechanical auger tool is the most common method a professional plumber will use to remove roots in pipes.

Your plumber will slowly feed the auger into your pipes until they reach obstruction and will begin to chop up the roots.

Once the roots have been thoroughly chopped, the pipe will be flushed out to wash away any remaining debris.

Hydro Jetting

Another popular method plumbers will use to remove roots in sewer lines is through the process of hydro jetting.

In this method, your plumber will clear the obstruction with high-pressure water that is powerful enough to cut through the roots and flush out your pipes.

Once the roots have been cleared, your plumber will recommend and help you decide whether to repair or replace your existing pipes.

Repair or Replace

After the roots in your sewer pipes have been cleared and removed, the damaged pipe will need to be repaired or replaced.

If your pipe is salvageable, your plumber will install a protective sleeve over the existing pipes to prevent further damage.

Should you need to replace your pipe, your plumber will likely recommend PVC pipes or other modern pipe materials to prevent roots from growing back.


Determining if your plumbing system has roots in pipes can be difficult and, left untreated, can wreak havoc on your plumbing system.

If you suspect that your home has tree roots in pipes or roots in sewer lines, it’s best to contact a Chas Roberts plumbing expert.

Chas Roberts is the oldest and largest residential HVAC company in Arizona and has been in business for over 75 years.  Contact us for affordable, reliable service.