Pipes contain a heated and highly moisturized environment, with a constant flow of water running through them.
So, mostly around summertime, if your pipes have any cracks or holes, the tree roots almost rush into the sanitary system for sucking in water and quickly create a clogging issue.
And what can be worse than a clogged septic field, which slows down the flow of water during summer, right?
However, learning how to pick the best sewer line root killer from a sea of ineffective products can provide a permanent solution to this issue. So, in this guide, that’s exactly what we’re going to teach you.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Choice:
Roebic, Foaming Root Killer FRK-1LB
5 Out of 5
Bonide, Stump-Out Vine & Stump Killer 274
5 Out of 5
VPG, Fertilome Brush Stump Killer 32295
5 Out of 5
FDC, Crystal Sewer Line Root Killer CSPC2LB
4.5 Out of 5
Ortho, GroundClear Roots, Stumps and Vegetation Killer
5 Out of 5
Top 10 Best Sewer Line Root Killer Reviews
1. Roebic, Foaming Root Killer FRK-1LB
If you are overwhelmed by roots clogging your sanitary system and want to solve the problem cheaply and easily, the FRK-1LB is the perfect root destroyer for you.
It's a dichlobenil based foaming root killer. With this product, you'll get 1 pound of solution that comes in a white plastic container. The container is sealed with a screw-in cap, which has a ridged exterior for ease of opening.
This tree root killer doesn’t use any copper sulfate or rock salt. So, it’ll only clear out the clogging roots but won’t kill the mother tree. It won’t kill any other trees on your property as well.
It’s manufactured with Roebic’s patented formula that uses 2,6-Dichlorobenzonitrile (which makes up 0.55-percent of the entire solution) to weaken and finally wash away the intruding roots.
This root killer instantly creates foam when it comes in contact with water. The flow of water carries the foam to the end of the pipe, cleaning the entire pipe in the process. Apart from cleaning, it also creates a chemical layer inside the sanitary system that stops the roots from growing again.
The product is very simple to use. You can pour it directly through the commode or the open end of the sanitary pipe, and it’ll do rest of the work.
Since it’s a dichlobenil based root killer, it won’t harm the structural strength of your sanitary pipes regardless of what element (e.g. steel, galvanized iron, etc.) they are made of.
2. Bonide, Stump-Out Vine & Stump Killer 274
Bonide puts out a brilliant root killer for drains that’s nature-friendly and equipped with an innovative technology to apply the product with precision.
The Stump-Out 274 provides 0.23-liters of solution. It comes in a white, plastic container with a black cap. The cap is designed with an applicator brush, which makes the application process easy, hassle-free, and precise.
The main active ingredient in its formula is Triclopyr acid, used as “Triethylamine salt”. The Triclopyr acid is present at 6.36-percent per 0.6-pounds. In total, it makes up 8.8-percent of the entire solution. Thus, the manufacturer provides you a concentrated solution, so that you can get the most benefit using a small amount.
The benefit of using Triclopyr acid is many. For example, it can effectively clear out all the roots and tree stumps that are blocking your sanitary system. It stops them from regrowing. Also, it only clears out the problematic roots and stumps but doesn’t harm the tree or soil in any way.
After analyzing hundreds of user reviews, we’ve found that it’s so effective that it can clear out strong roots and stumps, sprouting from trees like Siberian Elm and Virginia Creeper. That’s why many users consider this product as the best drain root killer.
3. VPG, Fertilome Brush Stump Killer 32295
If you’re looking for an advanced, multipurpose tree root killer, the Fertilome 32295 by VPG won’t disappoint.
You’ll get 946.3-milliliters of triclopyr acid based solution.
The product comes in a gray plastic container with a silver gleam. It has a straight, sloped neck for ease of pouring. The container is sealed by an ergonomic, screw-in cap to protect the quality of the solution. The cap has a ridged periphery which makes it easy to open.
The percentage of triclopyr acid (manufactured as the "Triethylamine salt" form) is 8.8-percent of the entire solution. Thus, the formula can clear out clogging roots swiftly and effectively without harming the surrounding trees. It also leaves a layering/residue after the cleaning, which stops the future growth of the roots.
Often considered by professionals as the best root killer for septic tanks, the product can help you in other areas as well. If you have any type of undesirable plant growth, this root destroyer will take care of that. For example, poison ivy or shrubs with hard stems in your garden, vine growing around your fences, etc.
The manufacturer recommends using 8 to 16 tablespoons of solution in one gallon to cover a 500-square feet area if you're spraying directly on the plants. For taking out stumps, you should apply the product in a concentrated manner and spread it directly with a paintbrush.
4. FDC, Crystal Sewer Line Root Killer CSPC2LB
If you’re looking for the best sewer root killer, few products can compete with the chemical efficacy of CSPC2LB by FDC.
This product contains 2-pounds of 99-percent unadulterated copper sulfate pentahydrate. It comes in the form of bright blue crystals, derived from copper sulfate. The crystals are contained in a round white container, secured by a blue screw-in cap.
Also known as copper (II) sulfate, this particular compound is changed according to the degree of hydration. The term "Pentahydrate" represents a chemical mixture that contains five molecules of water. Thus, this is the most water-friendly form of copper sulfate, unlike its anhydrous version which contains no water.
This crystallized root destroyer can also induce an exothermic reaction to swiftly dissolve in water. Thus, its chemical formulation allows it to be equally effective for septic tanks, sanitary pipes, and distribution boxes.
The tree root killer is also able to stop the future growth of clogging roots and stumps long after the cleaning process is finished. Its chemical architecture makes it a perfect compound to mix with water and swiftly reach the problematic roots. So, it's also considered as one of the fastest acting root killers, which can finish the cleaning within 2 to 3 days.
The product can also be used to balance the pH level in highly alkaline pools, ponds, and other aquatic spaces. It can create markings known as "metal etching" on zinc or aluminum pipes. It also increases the amount of copper in your soil, which can work as a fertilizer and increase the quality of your soil.
5. Ortho, GroundClear Roots, Stumps and Vegetation Killer 0433610
The GroundClear 0433610 by Ortho is one of the most chemically advanced septic tank root killer that you can buy.
The product contains 3.79-liters of solution in a black plastic container. It's equipped with a well-sealed, screw-in cap. It also has a down-sloped holder for ease and precision of use.
The manufacturer uses a concentrated liquid formula, which is equipped with a quick-operation feature. So, once you pour in the solution, the root destroyer starts to function in merely 3 hours.
It uses a unique chemical formulation where the main acting ingredients seem to be a combination of fatty acids, mainly a nonanoic acid known as Pelargonic acid (Group 26 herbicide). They make up 5-percent of the entire solution. The product also uses a combination of isopropylamine salt (Glyphosate based) and a broad range herbicide known as Imazapyr (Group 9 herbicide), making up 0.47-percent of the entire mix.
This innovative and varied combination of chemicals increases the product's effectiveness to a powerful degree. This made us consider the product as the best tree root killer for sewer lines.
Once applied, the root destroyer’s effect remains for almost a year. It not only cleans out all the clogging roots and stumps in their entirety but also ensures that they don’t grow back in future.
It's specifically effective if you are dealing with woody plants that have hard stems and release difficult to kill tough roots. For example, the Siberian Elm, White oaks, Walnuts, Hickories, etc.
However, you need to apply the product with a tank sprayer. So, make sure you have one before making a purchase.
6. Sanco Industries, Root Destroyer 666
If you have a preference for crystalized root killers, the “Root Destroyer 666” by Sanco should be at the top of your list.
The manufacturer combines copper and sulfur to produce copper sulfate. Then it's crystallized into the chemical compound's water-dissolving salt form, known as copper sulfate pentahydrate. Also known as copper (II) sulfate, the salt comes out as bright blue crystals, which are finely ground to increase the product's efficacy.
The product provides you 2-Pounds of 99-percent pure copper sulfate pentahydrate crystals. It's shipped in a white, industry-grade plastic container. The container's equipped with a red screw-in cap which also works as a sealer. It's equipped with a holder for ease of pouring.
Despite being a copper sulfate derivative, the product only clears out the obstructing roots and stumps in your septic drain field but doesn't kill the source tree or reduce the soil's fertility.
The product does eliminate some of the useful bacteria in your sewer line, but only for a short time. According to the manufacturer, the natural bacterial atmosphere in your septic system returns to its previous position within 12 to 15 days.
The root destroyer takes 3 to 4 weeks for completely seeping into the roots. Then it slowly decays and weakens the roots from the inside, which are later washed away with the flow of water. Thus, within this timeline, you’ll get back a smoothly functioning septic drain field.
You need to apply this product annually to ensure complete protection. Make sure to wear proper protective gear before applying.
7. Green Gobbler, Foaming Root Killer
If you are dealing with a largescale sanitary system, this foaming root killer by Green Gobbler is the most economic purchase you can make.
The product contains a massive 10-pounds of solution, shipped in a white plastic jug. The jug is designed with a large pouring hole for ease of use.
The root destroyer is manufactured without using any copper sulfate. Thus, it won't kill the source tree and surrounding shrubs while cleaning the clogging roots. Unlike copper sulfate, it won't corrode your sanitary pipes if they are made of regular steel, iron, or galvanized metal.
It uses Sodium Chloride as its primary acting ingredient, which makes up 91-percent of the solution.
Being the best foaming root killer in the market, it employs a unique dehydration method, which sucks out water from the roots to weaken them. So, the roots become extremely brittle and get dissolved in water. Finally, they are flushed out of your sanitary system.
Once the cleaning process is finished, it also blocks new roots from getting inside the septic field and prevents future growth of any roots and stumps.
If you are using the product through your washroom, choose one that’s closest to the ground. Once applied, don’t use the toilet or allow any water into the drainage system for at least 10 to 12 hours.
If you’re facing a heavily clogged sanitary system, apply the product 3 days in a row. The manufacturer recommends applying the solution every 2 months for a perfect maintenance of your sanitary system.
8. Earthworks Health LLC, Crystallized Septic Tank Root Killer
When it comes to the speed of cleaning, this crystal root killer by Earthworks Health LLC deserves the top spot.
The root killer is manufactured with 99.9-percent unadulterated copper sulfate. So, in terms of chemical purity, this product is at the top of its game.
You'll get 10-pounds of entirely pure copper sulfate crystals in this product. The crystals come in a finely grounded powder form. They are packed in a transparent plastic bag, designed with labels on top containing all the important information.
The product is "hydroponic approved", meaning it's safe to use with water. However, if your pipe is made of regular steel, iron, or galvanized metal, this solution may create a corrosion issue. So, it's recommended to use in sanitary systems that are constructed with stainless steel pipes.
You need to mix one-quarter of the bag, which is measured at 2.5-pounds for one gallon of water to get the maximum effective result. While pouring, make sure to shake the solution for a smooth cleaning procedure.
It can clear out over clogged pipes much quicker than foaming root killers. After application, it takes only 2 to 3 days for the product to unclog your sanitary system completely. But, in the process, it may kill the source tree as well. If that's a concern for you then we recommend using dichlobenil or triclopyr acid based root killers.
The product is sold as a bulk package. So, it can save you a lot of money, as you get a massive amount at a reasonable price. Compared to single products which usually contain 2 to 4-pounds, this product is a highly economical purchase.
It’s registered by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which ensures that the root killer is not hazardous to your health and the surrounding environment.
9. ROOTX, The Root Intrusion Solution Kit
If you are looking for a complete solution for your clogged sewer line in one product, the Root Intrusion Solution Kit by ROOTX is what you’re looking for.
This package contains all the materials and tools you'll need to treat any small to largescale septic drain field issues. This product comes with 4-pounds of solution, formulated by the manufacturer's patented formula.
The solution is shipped as two packs of dried powder, contained in a square, rectangular plastic container. It is sealed with a reusable plastic cap, which has round ridges on top for ease of opening. You’ll also get one screw-in mixing funnel, which also works as an application funnel. Thus, you get to save the money of buying any extra assisting equipment or element.
Being a foaming root killer, it has access over the entire piping system, even to the difficult corners and ends where most intruding roots grow, slowing down the flow of water in your sanitary system. The product uses surfactants, which clean out any grease growing over the roots, which quickens the cleaning process.
After application, it provides year-long protection. Because, the solution leaves chemical residues inside the septic field, which keep cleaning any new roots and prevent future growth.
To apply, attach the mixing funnel to the container, hold the cap tightly on the open end of the funnel, and shake for at least 60 seconds for a proper mixing. Then pour the mixture into the pipe followed by an appropriate amount of water. The recommended measure is 10 gallons of water per 2 pounds.
In terms of coverage, 2-pounds will cover a 4-inch wide and 50-feet long pipe. 4-pounds will cover a 4-inch wide and 100-feet long pipe or a 6-inch wide and 75-feet long pipe.
If you have leftover material, make sure to keep the two components separate and dry. Because if they are mixed, they’ll harden in the presence of moisture and become unusable. Otherwise, you can have a pretty good shelf life with the leftover material.
10. Rooto, Professional Quality Septic Tank Root Killer 1185
If you’ve ever faced a clogged sanitary system, creating a slower flow of water, you already know what an irritable situation that is. However, with the 1185 by Rooto, this problem can completely and swiftly disappear from your life.
You get 908-grams of crystals in this product, which are shipped in a bright yellow plastic container. The bottle is sealed with a white screw-in cap, creating a nice contrasting color scheme. The cap has ridges on its external periphery, so you can open it effortlessly every time.
The product's main acting ingredient is a 99-percent pure form of copper sulfate salt, known as copper sulfate pentahydrate. This is the hydrous version of the salt, which contains 5 (Penta) molecules of water (hydrate). Thus, this crystallized root killer can dissolve into and move through water much quicker than dichlobenil, triclopyr acid, or sodium chloride based root destroyers.
We recommend using the entire amount in stages, within a timeline of 4 to 6 hours. For getting better absorption, you can use multiple flushes after pouring in the crystals.
For smooth maintenance, most professionals recommend applying it half-yearly, that is every 6 months.
This septic tank root killer is user friendly and works faster than foaming root killers. Like most premium root destroyers, along with clearing out weeds inside the pipe, the product also blocks any kind of new entrance or future growth of clogging roots and stumps.
Also, it doesn’t disturb the nourishing bacterial ecosystem existing within your sewer lines.
comparison table for Sewer Line Root Killer
Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate /Crystal
Pelargonic acid + Glyphosate + Imazapyr
Sanco Industries, 666
Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate/ Crystal
Green Gobbler, Foaming Root Killer
Earthworks Health LLC, Crystallized Root Killer
ROOTX, The Root Intrusion Solution Kit
Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate /Crystal
Sewer Line Root Killer Buying guide
1. Architecture Of The Septic System
You need to purchase a root killer that goes with the setting or architecture of your sanitary system.
For example, if you have a close-ended septic system, meaning the sanitary pipes are not easily accessible, you need to choose a root killer that can be applied effectively through your washroom.
In this case, we’d suggest purchasing a foaming root killer that can be applied through your toilet’s sanitary system (e.g. a commode). The foam will reach, by itself, to the end of the sanitary pipe. As a result, you’ll have a completely clean septic system.
2. Compatibility Between Amount And The Pipe’s Dimension
You need to make sure there’s a compatibility between your purchased amount and the pipe’s dimension. This is a crucial factor. Let us explain why.
For example, 2-pounds of the ROOTX root killer covers a 4-inch wide and 50-feet long pipe. If you’re aiming to clean out a 4-inch wide and 100-feet long pipe and bought only 2-pounds, half of your pipe will remain clogged.
In this situation, you’ll require 4-pounds of ROOTX to clean out a 4-inch wide and 100-feet long pipe, or a 6-inch wide and 75-feet long pipe.
Thus, make sure that your purchased amount is sufficient to cover the entire pipe. You can find information regarding this matter by reading the product description, back label, or directly contacting the manufacturer.
3. Volume Of Growth
There are a variety of types when it comes to purchasing a tree root killer. If you choose one that isn't compatible with the volume of the roots' growth, you've just flushed down your hard-earned money instead of a root killer down the drain.
For example, if you have a heavily or over clogged pipe, buying a foaming root killer would be a wrong choice. Because the foams won't have enough space to move through the pipe and provide effective cleaning.
We suggest using crystallized root killer for drains, such as a copper sulfate root killer or rock salt in this situation. However, if you catch the problem at its inception where the roots haven’t overtaken your septic system, using a foaming root killer should be fine.
4. Stopping Regrowth
A septic tank root killer that simply clears out the clogging roots isn’t enough. You need to purchase a product that not only cleans but also stops the roots from growing again.
5. Structural Strength Of The Sanitary Pipe
Some root destroyer products such as a copper sulfate root killer can harm your sanitary pipe's structural strength. If your pipe is not made of stainless steel, then using a copper sulfate root killer will corrode your pipe.
This can make the pipe weak over time. In fact, repeated use can make the pipe crack which will collapse your entire sanitary system.
So, if your sanitary pipe is made of regular steel, galvanized steel, or iron, don’t use copper sulfate products. Instead, we suggest using dichlobenil or triclopyr acid based root killers (foaming root killers) which won’t reduce your pipe’s material strength.
6. Nature Conservation
We recommend purchasing root killers that’ll conserve nature.
For example, a rock salt or glyphosate based root killer for septic tanks will not only clean out intruding roots but also may kill the tree that’s sprouting them. Thus, you’ll be deprived of the various benefits the tree would provide, such as natural oxygen.
We recommend using dichlobenil or triclopyr acid based root killers for avoiding this issue. These products only clean out the roots and stumps but don't harm the tree. You can even purchase root killers that multifunction as fertilizers and nourish the soil around you.
7. Inclusive Protective Gears And Mixing Funnel
Purchase root killers that include protective gear and a mixing funnel as part of the package. This way, you won't have to purchase any protective gear (e.g. apron, gloves, mask, etc.) and mixing funnels separately.
It will save you the time and money spent on buying these important assisting tools from the internet or a utility store.
8. Properly Sealed Container
Make sure to purchase a drain root killer that comes in a well-sealed container. It will make sure that your product is safe from any harm during shipping. This feature will also ensure that you can use leftover root killers for later use.
Many states prohibit the use of certain types of tree root killer products. So, before purchasing, make sure that the root killer is compliant with your state's laws and regulations.
If you’re unsure about this fact, check out the product description section (if buying online) or contact the seller directly.
Types Of Root Killers
1. Glyphosate Based Root Killers
This is the earliest form of root killer. The primary ingredient of this type of root killer is Glyphosate Isopropylamine Salt.
Though it's one of the fastest-acting root killers, which starts to clean your pipes within only two days, there's a catch. Instead of only removing the intruding roots that are causing the clogging, they kill the entire tree. Thus, many users tend to avoid this option.
2. Dichlobenil Based Root Killers
Popularly known as foaming root killers, these types work great when the root infestation is in its early stages. If the infestation reaches an advanced stage where there's no space for the foam to move through your sanitary pipes, you should be looking at other options.
Apart from that, this is one of the easiest and most effective options as a septic tank root killer. It's nature friendly and doesn't kill the adjacent tree.
3. Copper Sulphate Root Killer
Copper Sulphate is produced by chemically combining copper and sulfur. In reality, the crystallized blue form of copper sulfate known as Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate is majorly used in root killers.
The best root killer for sewer lines would contain 99% pure Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate to provide you with impressive results. This type is considered the fastest and most effective root killer for septic tanks, specifically if your sanitary system is over clogged with intruding roots and tree stumps.
It's also quite easy to use and, therefore, is a favorite choice among beginners. However, this substance can sometimes harm and weaken the material of sewer pipes.
4. Rock Salt
Rock salt is known as one of the fast-acting root destroyers among the entire class. It's also quite economical as a small amount of the substance can get the job done for you.
However, they can be poisonous and may kill the tree along with the roots. So, they are often ignored as the acting ingredient in most modern root killers.
5. Triclopyr Acid Based Root Killers
As a root killer for drains and sanitary pipes, this is one of the most modern and popular choices. It mainly applies a form of Triclopyr acid known as Triethylamine salt to kill roots and stumps that are clogging your septic system.
This type of drain root killer not only cleans out obtruding roots and stumps from your pipes but also prevents them from resprouting. It’s a nature conservative root destroyer that only kills the problematic roots but doesn’t harm their mother tree in any way.
6. Nitrogen Based Fertilizer
According to some experts, nitrogen-based fertilizer in its liquid form can also be used to clean roots and stumps clogging your sanitary system.
However, this method has several limitations. For example, you can't use it directly through your washroom or even an open-ended septic pipe. You'll need to dig up holes around the tree which is creating the roots and pour in the liquid. Then instead of vitalizing, the solution will start weakening and destroying the roots through the main source.
This is a time consuming and unorthodox method. We don’t suggest using it if you are inexperienced in this type of work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How Does A Root Killer Work?
Ans: A root killer for septic tanks uses a particular chemical ingredient as the main enforcer along with other substances to create a chemical solution. For example, the Bonide, Stump-Out 274 uses Triclopyr acid as “Triethylamine salt” for the main enforcer, which takes up 8.8-percent of the entire solution.
This solution usually comes in a crystallized, powdered, or liquid form. Then it's put into the sanitary system through the washroom or the external pipe end and gets flushed.
It mixes with water and uses it as a medium to travel through your sanitary system. As it travels, the roots and stumps clogging your pipes, septic tank, or distribution box are slowly weakened to a softer material.
The soft amalgam of roots then gets cleared by the flow of water, providing you a lag-free sanitary setup.
Q2. How Often Do I Need To Apply Root Killer?
Ans: It mostly depends on the product. Some root destroyer products need to be applied every 2 to 3 months, some every 6 months, and some annually.
We recommend purchasing root killers that only need an annual reapplication to increase your comfort. However, make sure to not compromise the quality for the sake of this feature.
Q3. What Protective Gears Should I Wear During Application?
Ans: You should use a sanitary apron and rubber gloves for using any tree root killer. Because most root killers contain strong chemicals that can cause skin injuries if applied by hand.
Q4. How Long Does It Take For A Root Destroyer To Complete The Cleaning Process?
Ans: The timeline largely depends on the type of root killer being used. Generally speaking, crystalized root killers perform faster than foaming root killers.
For example, a crystalized root destroyer like copper sulfate pentahydrate, which is often considered the best root killer for pipes due to its cleaning speed and efficacy, can finish the cleaning process within 24 to 48 hours.
On the other hand, foaming root killers may take from 1 to 2 weeks for finishing the cleaning process. If the volume of roots inside the sanitary system is high then it might take longer to finish, as the foam will face more obstructions while moving through the pipe.
However, some users avoid copper sulfate and rock salt despite their faster acting time. This is because unlike dichlobenil based or triclopyr acid based root killers, these types can kill the tree along with the roots.
Q5. How Will I Know How Much Root Killer I Need To Use?
Ans: You need to calculate the dimension and length of your pipe to figure out this amount. You can measure the pipe’s circumference, radius, or diameter to figure out its dimension. For measuring length, you can use a mechanical scale.
Once you have these data, you can match them with the manufacturer’s recommended amounts for particular measurements to know exactly how much root killer you should use.
For example, the root killer ROOTX clearly states that you’ll need to use 2-pounds of the product for a 4-inch wide and 50-feet long pipe and 4-pounds for a 4-inch wide and 100-feet long pipe.
Q6. What Is The Best Time To Apply A Root Killer?
Ans: The ideal time to use root killer is during autumn and winter if the problem is detected at its infancy during these seasons. Because during summer the soil becomes dry quickly. So, to acquire water more frequently, the roots grow much more rapidly and become harder to control.
By applying root killers during winter or autumn you can put the protection in place ahead of time, which will make managing and clearing roots during summer very easy.
However, if the problem is detected in summer then you've got no choice. In this situation, you should apply the root killer as soon as possible to keep your sanitary system running smoothly.
Our surrounding trees and shrubs are a blessing. Along with releasing oxygen, they also provide a multitude of advantages.
However, like all good things, they too have a downside. That is, rapid spreading of roots during summertime into your sewer line if they find any tiny opening. As a result, you end up with a clogged septic field.
This is a common problem and one that’s hard to ignore. That’s why, throughout this guide, we’ve carefully provided only the necessary information to help you find the best sewer line root killer in the market.
This is designed to be an all-purpose guide for buying premium root killers. So, go through it every time before purchasing a root killer and you’re sure to come back as a winner.