Does foaming root killer really work?

Invasive tree roots are a problem for homeowners and businesses. They can interfere with driveways and sidewalks and find their way into your septic lines, resulting in many hazards and expenses.

Most people might think that the solution is to uproot the tree. However, the remaining roots can continue to grow with time, meaning you need a long-term solution to this menace.

Nowadays, people use foaming root killers to curtain root re-growth. But does foaming root killer work?

Foaming root killers are one of the most effective chemicals to prevent root re-growth in clogged pipes, sidewalks, sewer lines, and other areas where root re-growth can be problematic. That is because the chemicals work on contact.

In other words, once applied, they latch onto the roots and destroy them. Also, a foaming root killer for septic systems will dissolve any roots intruding into the pipes.

And depending on the chemical composition, the root killer will remain active in the colloids of clay soil to ensure that new roots that grow and come into contact with the chemical get destroyed.

How does foaming root killer work?

Foaming root killer works depending on the active ingredient. However, most foaming root killers have Dichlobenil as the active ingredient. But you will also find many products containing salt and sodium bicarbonate.

Dichlobenil works by creating foam once it comes into contact with water. The foam fills an entire pipeline with the chemical to prevent the growth of new roots.

However, immediately after the foam touches the roots, it clings to and dehydrates them. As a result, the roots do not get enough water for their growth.

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Foaming root killers can also comprise salt and baking soda, a natural alternative to killing roots. When you mix baking soda, salt, and water and flush them down the drain or toilet, the mixture fills the pipes.

The salt then leaches into the offensive roots and burns them. Furthermore, salt and baking soda stay in the soil for a while and affects later new roots.

Baking soda works well because it contains sodium. However, too much sodium in the soil disrupts how the roots use nutrients to grow and spread. The ions in sodium prevent the flow of magnesium and potassium through the root system.

Since the nutrients are essential for plant growth, the roots and plant do not get enough of them and cannot make chlorophyll. A lack of chlorophyll will cause the plant to die.

How often should you use foaming root killer?

You can use foaming root killer anytime. However, apply the chemical at least twice yearly or every six months.

The recommended way of treating your pipes is in the spring and late in the fall. When you apply it twice per year, you destroy any new re-growth.

Does Roebic foaming root killer work?

Roebic Foaming root killer

Roebic Foaming root killer works because it contains Dichlobenil as the active ingredient. The chemical kills the roots and prevents new growth.

When applied, Dichlobenil gets absorbed in inorganic and organic colloids of clay and sludge in pipe joints. That way, it provides maximum control of the remaining roots by suppressing the growth of actively dividing cells in root tips.

If new roots grow and form outside the pipe joints, their continued development gets retarded or suppressed when they find their way toward the areas treated by Dichlobenil.

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Foaming root killer vs. copper sulfate – Which method is the best?

The debate on foaming root killer vs. copper sulfate never stops. Many people use copper sulfate as an alternative to foaming root killers because it is old-school and more affordable.

Generally, copper sulfate contains copper and sulfur and is available in crystal, liquid, or dust form. It can kill roots without killing an entire tree.

However, the rate at which copper sulfate works compared to foaming root killers is slow. In other words, copper sulfate takes many weeks to clear sewage systems or clogs, while it only takes two to seven days for foaming rook killers to kill roots.

copper sulfate crystals

Furthermore, the chemical can corrode steel and galvanized pipe if overused.

How do you use foaming root killer?

The best way of using a foaming root killer is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, the amount of chemical application will depend on the area you want to treat.

For example, applying the chemical in sewer lines differs from applying it along sidewalks, driveways, and between tree roots and sewer lines.

However, if you want to use foaming root killer in sewer lines at home, do the following:

  1. Ensure you have a one-pound container.
  2. Add the entire product to your toilet bowl if your residential sewer line is four inches.
  3. The product amount should be equal to the one-pound container.
  4. Flush your toilet immediately after you add the product to the toilet bowl to prevent the foam from overflowing.
  5. Flush your toilet a second time to ensure the foam moves into the sewer line.
  6. A third flush is necessary if you have a low-flow toilet.
  7. After the third flush, restrict flushing the toilet or further water usage for at least four hours.
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A rule of thumb is to ensure you only apply the chemical through the toilet bowl, not the bathtub or sink.

Does root killer really work?

Root killers work all the time. They will dissolve the already-grown roots blocking sewer systems or causing damage to sidewalks and walkways.

Furthermore, the chemicals will prevent new roots from growing in the treated areas. But for a long-term solution, apply root killers every six months.


Foaming root killers are effective at destroying roots in clogged pipes, sidewalks, sewer lines, and other areas where root re-growth can be problematic. The chemicals work by clinging to the roots and preventing them from getting enough water and other nutrients.

You can use foaming root killers that contain Dichlobenil, copper sulfate, and a mixture of salt and sodium bicarbonate. However, Dichlobenil is more effective because it takes less time to destroy the roots. The best time to apply root killers is twice a year, in the spring and late in the fall.

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