Made of sodium chloride, rock salt pellets will destroy tree roots on contact. Pour 3 cups of water into a container, then add 6 cups of salt. However, most everything around the tree will die as well. Some salt-tolerant plants such as the bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) can survive a bit of runoff, but not a full concentration of rock salt applied nearby. Continue doing this weekly until the foliage on the tree turns brown and dies. Mix the two together. Use an earth auger to dig a hole into the ground directly above the clog. Its application to areas where tree roots have become a problem, like breaking or blocking sewer pipes, can quickly kill them, making removal easier. Rock salt is a harsh chemical compound used primarily to melt snow and ice on roadways and sidewalks. Repeat the process every six months or so to keep the line open. How to Kill a Tree Root System in Your Yard, How to Repair a Toilet That is Not Filling Due to a Frozen Pipeline, Purdue University: Salt Damage in Landscape Plants, New York Times: De-Icing With Salt Can Harm Trees, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Household Solutions; Melodie Moore, Ask the Builder: Avoiding Sewer Backups From Tree Roots. Apply the salt on a day with no chance of rain to let it soak in where you want it without the possibility of runoff. While it is usually recommended to completely replace the pipes, this is another less invasive method. For larger plants, try a handful of the salt. Just a few grains of rock salt are enough to kill most plants. You might not be able to save those plants, because it could take months of daily watering to return the soil to a viable salinity, but you can restore the soil so that new plants can grow. Using salt is an effective way to kill a tree. The wet soil against the trunk will bring bugs that destroy and eat into the bark and kill the tree. If you add too much rock salt and it begins to affect plants you want to keep, as well as ones you want to kill, start watering the plants deeply every day to try to flush the salt out of the soil. If you have a tree with roots that are approaching or have reached your sewer lines, they may be breaking their way through the pipe in search of the water supply within. Place a handful of rock salt into your toilet and flush it down once every few weeks or so. Rock salt will kill tree roots but they will still need to be removed. Place another 1/2 pound into the bowl and flush again. Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Rock salt and table salt are basically the same thing: sodium chloride. Or packing around roots with ROCK-Salt. Rock salt has numerous uses aside from melting snow in walkways, roads, and highways. The best places to use rock salt are those where you don't ever want plants to grow, such as cracks in your driveway or along fence lines. It is important to note that it only kills the roots and not the whole tree. Add it to spray bottle or pour it directly over the plants you want to kill. Jo Schantz; Dan Schantz Greenhouse Sales Associate; Allentown, Pennsylvania. You can change the amount of solution you mix by maintaining a ratio of one part water to two parts salt.
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