Tree Root Killers – Types, Usage & Home Remedies

I’ll be using this tree root killer guide to share some vital information.

It is common to see people get frustrated after they have removed a tree stump, only for another tree to start growing off the roots. This simply means the tree is still alive, and removing the stump doesn’t mean killing the tree.

Now that you know this I’m sure you want to take immediate action, please keep reading.

Keep reading!

What Problems Do Tree Roots Cause?

Tree roots are always in search of moisture and nutrients, and they will keep moving along routes that provide them with what they need.

These root movements lead to cracks on the floor and on the walls, they can also congest and crack drainage pipes.

The damage caused by roots to a home can cost decent sums of money, so you should tackle the problem from the root (no pun intended).

That being said, let’s take a look at various types of root killers you can get your hands on.

Types of Root Killers


Those who are familiar with root killers will tell you that this has been arguably the most popular root killer since the ’80s. Its main ingredient is glyphosate isopropylamine salt.

Within 48 hours of application on a tree stump, the leaves start to turn yellow. That’s how powerful and effective this root killer is.

It works by killing the plant from the inside.

RootX Foaming Root Killer

This is another root killer I strongly recommend. It is made with aquatic herbicide dichlobenil.

This is not an organic root killer, but it is safe to use, as it does not damage your pipes or septic tanks. This is not to say you are to allow it to get into your eyes or mouth.

Follow usage instructions.

K-77 Root Killer

K-77 is pretty effective in getting rid of tree roots within one week. The good news is, that it will not harm the other trees in your yard, nor will it contaminate the soil.

For this root killer to be fully effective, it needs space to flow. This means it works best if your drainage isn’t completely clogged by roots.

Copper Sulfate Root Killer

This is a root killer that has been used to flush out pipelines for decades.

As effective as this root killer is, it has several side effects. It is acidic so it can erode your pipes. It also kills bacteria in the septic sewer system.

When pipes are eroded, they would eventually give in to water flow and crack open. However, modern-day pipes are made of plastic so they have more resistance to copper sulfate root killers, but it still kills the septic bacteria.

Foaming Root Killer Vs Copper Sulfate Root Killer

These are two of the most popular root killers you can find. They both work very well to kill roots fast.

Many users have sung praises for their root-killing ability, while still pointing out their downsides.

Pros of Foaming Root Killer

  • It works very fast
  • It is safe to use
  • It does not damage pipes or septic tanks
  • It coats the inner layers of pipes to prevent roots from growing in

Cons of Foaming Root Killer

  • It is more expensive than copper sulfate root killer

Pros of copper sulfate root killer

  • It is fast and effective
  • It works quickly
  • It is cheaper than foaming root killer

Cons of copper sulfate root killer

  • Due to its acidic nature, it erodes pipes
  • It kills septic bacteria

In modern times, more and more people are leaning towards foaming root killers to solve all their pipe congestion problems. This is for good reason too.

It does not erode pipes and it is very safe to use, as opposed to copper sulfate root killer, which can damage your pipes.

Even though the foaming root killer costs more per bottle, it will save you money in the long run, since it will not damage your pipes or tanks.

If you have plastic pipes, as most people do, then copper sulfate remains a viable option. Since some plastic pipes can resist their erosive nature.

I recommend the foaming root killer.

Tips On Using Tree Root Killers

If you want to get the very best out of your root killer, then follow these simple tips –

Treat the whole stomp: When you drill holes for the root killer, make sure you drill all around the stomp. From the top to the sides.

The more holes you have the more of the root killer you can apply.

The right timing: Trying to kill roots in the summer or spring is a bad idea. Your best bet is to apply the root killer around autumn or winter.

Cover the stump: After you have poured the root killer into the holes of the stump, be sure to cover it up with plastic material.

Doing this will protect the stump from rain and other unfavorable weather elements. You can see the plastic to the stump with a rope so that it isn’t blown off by the wind.

Protect yourself and those around you: You have to use protective clothing when you apply root killers. Such clothing includes gloves (to protect hands) and goggles (to protect eyes from accidental splashes).

Also, keep in mind that root killers are harmful to humans when ingested, so keep them out of children’s reach.

Home Remedies for Killing Roots

Believe it or not, there are some very simple home remedies that you can use to tackle your root problems. Care to know what they are?

This section discusses homemade root killer options for sewer lines and other parts of your home.

Keep reading!


I don’t think there’s a household that doesn’t have salt in it. Are you surprised?

This common kitchen item can help you solve your root problem better than you imagined.

All you need to do is make a highly concentrated saline solution and dump it on the soil that surrounds the tree stump. The salt sucks up all the moisture from the roots, leaving them “underfed”.

Do this at least 5 times each day, and the tree roots will eventually die.


This is a traditional root killer that was popularized by Indians.

It is a plant that is characterized by a pretty bad smell and a very big taste. It is so distasteful and smelly that it has been given the nickname “devil’s dung”.

It is cheap and very easy to use. Although it takes a lot of time before it can work. Two to three weeks to be precise.

It may be a slow worker, but generations of farmers have proven that it works!

Stuff the tree stump with as many bits of Asafoetida as you can, and as often as you can. Drill several holes and stuff it with bits of the plant.

This plant has become so popular, that you can find it in pretty much any convenience store.

The reason why this is such a good means of killing roots is that it is organic so it doesn’t damage the soil texture. It also has no side effects. The only thing it will damage is the root system that you wish to be killed.

Caustic Soda

A one-part Caustic soda and two parts water solution is a threat to any tree root. Apply this solution to the tree stump about 3 to 4 times every day.

Day by day, the roots will start to die off, but right after it must have killed the stump.

Compost Piled on Tree Stump

To use this method, make sure you cut the tree stump to a level as low as the ground, or something close. Then make a huge pile of compost on the tree stump.

Compost contains some chemicals that gradually kill the stump, and eventually, reach the roots and kill it.

Composting takes time, so you need to exercise patience.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is also an effective form of home remedy for roots. Apply adequate amounts of baking soda to the roots and pour a gallon of vinegar on the stump.

You will hear a loud fizz as you pour, but that shouldn’t bother you, as it is nothing but a chemical reaction. It poses no danger to you, but it is deadly to the tree stump and its roots.

Precaution While Using Root Killers

When using root killers at home, it is your responsibility to keep yourself and the people around you safe, especially children.

If you buy a root killer from a store, then make sure you read all the instructions on the bottle or pack before you start to use it. Understand its usage and its side effects first and determine the potential damage it can cause (if any).

Also, remember to protect your eyes with goggles and your hands with gloves when handling root killers. A face mask will also come in handy, as you don’t want any root killer accidentally splashing into your mouth.


I trust this tree root killer guide has been helpful. Please share this article with others.

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