Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSPECTION
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Guidelines for Planting Over Septic Systems and Septic Fields: Homeowner Guide to Planting of Trees, Shrubs, Gardens, Grasses, Ground covers over the Septic Tank, Drainfield or Leachfield. This article explains the types of plants that should or should not be planted over or near septic fields or other septic system components.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Planting Guidelines for Septic Drainfields, Mounds, Raised Beds, Septic Tanks and other Septic Components
This is a guide for homeowners who are planting trees, shrubs, gardens, ground cover, or other plants near a septic system and who need to know that can be planted near or over septic system components like the septic tank, distribution box, and drain field or soil absorption system.
Planting the wrong things or in the wrong places can lead to the need for expensive septic system repairs.
Planting trees, shrubs, and even some ground covers over septic system components are causes of septic system failure in the drain field, leach field, seepage bed, or similar components.
Planting fruit trees, or vegetables (or anything else edible) over the septic drainfield might produce food that is unsafe to eat: see SEWAGE CONTAMINANTS in FRUIT / VEGETABLES for details.
An explanation of greener or more brown grass over a septic tank or drainfield is at SEPTIC TANK GRASS or SNOWMELT.
Flowers are ok so long as they are not varieties which send down deep roots. In the photograph above these relatively shallow-rooted flowers were set around a septic tank cleanout cover.
They won't cause any damage to the system. But when planning your planting arrangement for flowers over a septic tank, remember that if you plant valuable flowers too close to the access cover to a septic tank or distribution box, those plants may be damaged or destroyed when you have to excavate to open the tank or D-box cover.
Basically, any shallow-rooting planting will be fine to plant over the surface of or near septic tanks, distribution boxes, or septic drainfields.
The photograph abve shows typical grass and a few native wildflowers and dandelions growing in a lawn over a septic system drainfield at a Poughkeepsie New York home.
These plants are not likely to be harmful to the system, they stabilize the soils in the area, and they do not interfere with soil transpiration or evaporation.
Their roots are relatively shallow so these plants are not likely to invade the septic drainfield piping. Grass and native wildflowers are fine over the septic tank or drainfield, and also they are fine over septic mound systems.
The following table of native (to New Zealand) or introduced species of grasses lists species that are considered suitable for planting over an evapo-transpiration system and should be acceptable over a mound system or conventional drainfield as well. Note that other native species local to your area might also be suitable. 
Power augers or Roto Rooters™ for plumbing drains can be an effective way to remove a blockage or clog in a drain line.
But if your plumber shows you a tangle of roots when s/he pulls the augur back up the drain line, you should expect that additional repairs will be needed soon.
Even if you pull roots out of the blocked pipe section, the fact that they were in there means a tree, shrub, or other plant has invaded the area and its roots remain outside the just-un-clogged pipe. You can count on the roots re-invading the pipe (and getting at those nutrients) soon. So de-rooting a clogged drain line is a temporary fix.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about what can or should not be planted over or near septic system components
Questions & answers or comments about planting grasses, shrubs, trees, or other ground covers over septic drainfields and near septic tanks
Try the search box just below or if you prefer, post a question or a comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.