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Tree Root Inhibiting Chemical Foam – Vaporooter

If you have roots blocking your pipes, it’s likely that your plumber will recommend a substance called tree root foam to clear your pipes. If the root obstruction is too dense, your plumber may recommend mechanical removal of some roots before the foam is applied.

The thought of adding chemicals to plumbing that carries your water is a scary one. Home and business owners anxious about the effect on their foliage and soil may also be concerned about chemical side effects.


This type of root foam is made up of a combination of herbicide and root growth inhibitors.  The herbicide causes the roots to decay and eventually die, while the growth inhibitor attaches to organic material in the pipe and keeps it from growing. The growth inhibitor lasts for about three years, but annual application is required for the guarantee to be valid and prevent the start of re-growth.

Vaporooter also includes a surfactant blend that removes slime and grease from pipes and roots. The slime is nutritious to the tree which encourages tree root growth if left in pipes. Finally, Vaporooter includes a foaming agent that carries the chemical to where it’s needed in the plumbing system.

Vaporooter causes minimal damage to trees and surrounding foliage; it only affects the tree roots directly surrounding the pipes. However, if used in large amounts, Vaporooter can be detrimental to nearby aquatic plants. Also, methylisothiocyanate (MITC) may be created when some of the chemicals in Vaporooter encounter water. MITC has been reported to cause mild health issues such as skin irritation and respiratory issues. That’s why it is important to request a plumber who is a certified Vaporooter applicator.

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