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proofer 07-18-2008 02:27 PM

Heavy-duty roots in ground drainage pipe
I chopped down a tree that was too close to the house (this tree allowed squirrels access to the roof, and then they made a home in our soffits). I noticed that the downspouts weren't draining quickly, so I cut away the part that leads from the downspout to the white drainage pipe in the ground. I discovered a heavy, heavy concentration of tree roots in these white drainage pipes (these pipes are about 4 inches in diameter). Any easy way that I can take/pull these roots out? I've tried physically pulling them out, using pliers, etc., but they're in there pretty good. Unfortunately, this drainage pipe runs underneath a sidewalk, so I'm trying to fix this problem on one end of the drainage pipe by pulling out the roots. I've rented a snake from H.D.; that didn't work. I had Roto Rooter just come out, but he said that their commercial snake wouldn't cut through those roots. Any ideas???

Jack A. Trades 07-18-2008 06:02 PM

So what diameter roots are in the pipe?
And how many feet of pipe do you think they have affected?

proofer 07-18-2008 07:51 PM

The roots measure from spaghetti-sized to about an inch in diameter. But the pipe is loaded with it.

It's affecting about 6 feet of pipe (3-4 feet of which is located under the sidewalk).

proofer 07-19-2008 06:29 PM

OK. I cut about a foot of the drain pipe off between this bad section and the house. I cut about a foot of the drain pipe off between this bad section and the middle of the yard. So now I've got about 5 feet of drain pipe (3 feet of it is buried underneath the sidewalk). One side of the drain is empty for about a foot from the end. But the other side is still filled to the max with roots, and they won't budge. I stuck a long metal pipe in one end and tried to insert it while hitting it with a mallet---no luck. I sprayed a hose in the clogged end (with a jet sprayer), but absolutely no water seeped out the other side of this 5-foot section. So, it looks like I'll have to rent a concrete cutter and cut up this sidewalk first thing tomorrow morning and pull out this drain pipe clogged with roots. Any other ideas before I get myself into any deeper problems???

Marlin 07-19-2008 06:46 PM

Instead of cutting out the sidewalk tunnel under it. Dig holes on either side and use a long skinny shovel to tunnel under it. Obviously you want to make a hole just big enough for the pipe so you don't collapse the sidewalk.

proofer 07-19-2008 06:54 PM

There are still so many roots left over from this tree that I just cut down. There are roots in the dirt all around the drainage pipe. There are roots that are intertwined inside the pipe, as well as roots that have broken through the drainage pipe. I don't know how I can limit the amount of shoveling around the pipe with all the roots in the way.

Jack A. Trades 07-20-2008 06:45 AM

Is that a sidewalk or a dirt path?

proofer 07-20-2008 07:21 AM

That's a sidewalk.

proofer 07-25-2008 04:05 PM

If anyone is watching this thread because you're having a similar problem, here's where we're at (see the 2 pictures below):

Ultimately, we had to cut out the sidewalk. Boy, were there lots of roots--snaking in and out of the 4" drain pipe, attached to the underside of the sidewalk, and throughout the dirt; it was unbelieavable. So now after we wait for the dirt to settle back in and wait for some dry weather, we'll put another sidewalk back in. At H.D., they told us that tapping/screwing in copper nails into the present tree stump would (1) make the stump start to crumble and fall apart and (2) make the roots die out. Has anyone tried this before and have it actually work for them?

Marlin 07-25-2008 05:38 PM

That looks a lot better than before. What are your plans for the sump pump? I never heard of copper nails killing off the stump faster. You can use stump remover to help the stump decay faster or hire a professional to grind the stump out. The roots should be dead and will decay over time, the process will take a few years though.

proofer 07-26-2008 04:51 PM

We don't have a sump pump. Since our property has never had one, I guess we don't need one.

H.D. has a stump remover that you can rent for $70 for 4 hours. But by the time we rent that and rent their pick-up truck to haul it, it'd probably be just as cheap to have 2 stumps taken out professionally.

proofer 08-06-2008 04:42 PM

Well, I think this is the end of our drain pipe problem. Here is a picture of the finished sidewalk (which was a learning experience in and of itself).

It looks like services around here charge $80 to grind away each tree stump. So we'll rent a stump grinder, rent a truck, and try this ourselves. They say at the store that it should take only about 20 minutes to grind away both tree stumps. We shall see.......

We bought some root deterrent in pellet form that we'll dump in the big holes before we fill them with dirt. Hopefully, that'll be the end of this root problem.

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