Q:

How does copper sulfate kill roots?

A:

Quick Answer

Copper sulfate is poisonous to tree roots, which results in the tree roots’ death. One benefit of copper sulfate is that it is not capable of moving through the roots of the tree, so it only kills roots with which it comes in contact. Use copper sulfate on the insides of pipes and surrounding soil in order to remove roots without killing the entire tree.

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Full Answer

Trees send their roots through small fissures and cracks in the plumbing, which causes plumbing problems. A sluggish toilet is a sign that a tree’s root system is in a plumbing system’s sewer line. A plumber is able to diagnose when a tree root system blocks pipes, though copper sulfate use is an acceptable preventative treatment for unblocked sewer pipes.

Copper sulfate is available in crystalline form. For best results, flush a small amount of copper sulfate down the toilet on a regular basis. To treat the ground directly, locate the sewer pipes and dig a hole with an auger. Next, sink a pipe and periodically fill it with hot water and copper sulfate crystals to prevent root growth. Large established roots may die with a week of treatment but take longer to wither and wash away.

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