2 Ways to Kill Tree Roots Near Your Foundation or Sewer Line

If a tree on your property outgrows its location its roots can become a hazard to your home’s foundation or sewer line, and you may choose to have it removed. After you chop it down, however, the roots can continue to grow, and a tree’s root system can run as far as 20 feet deep and spread out over an even larger area. You can avoid potential underground issues by using one of these treatments to kill the roots.

A Chemical Herbicide

A chemical herbicide is the quickest way to kill a tree’s roots. You should treat the tree stump with the herbicide immediately after the tree is cut down. If days have passed since it was cut, use a saw to make a fresh cut across the top of the stump. This will expose new flesh.

Use a garden sprayer to saturate the outer ring of the tree stump, which is located just behind the bark, with 2 to 3 inches of water. This layer is still alive and growing and the liquid will help circulate the herbicide from the live tissue to the tree’s roots.

Finally, mix a 50-50 solution of glyphosate herbicide and water and apply it to the freshly exposed outer ring of the stump using a hand-held sprayer, a garden sprayer, or even a paintbrush.

In about a couple of weeks the tree’s roots should die off completely.

Rock Salt

Using rock salt to kill tree roots takes longer than using an herbicide, but it’s equally as effective in that it robs the roots of water.

Drill several holes into the cut surface of the tree stump—make them 3 to 4 inches deep. If you’ve got large roots that are exposed near the ground drill multiple holes into them as well.

Completely fill all of the holes with rock salt, then fill each hole to the top with water.

Repeat this treatment multiple times over the course of a few months and the rock salt will eventually kill the tree roots. This will be evident when there is no longer any regrowth from the stump.

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