Safest Plants to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields

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What would a home look like if it has a bare yard? People invest big money on landscape architecture and gardens because they make a property look great. However, many homeowners with septic systems don’t grow plants and flowers over their septic tanks and drain fields because of the misconception that their aggressive roots will damage the tank and pipes. While it is true that individual trees and plants can damage the pipes and tanks, it is also true that there are safe plants to grow above the tank and field.

Do not be so paranoid about your septic system that you will leave your yard bare. If you invest in roller doors for the garage to make your house look appealing, surely you also want to make sure the yard is as aesthetically pleasing as the whole house. The curb appeal of your home is an essential factor in determining its value and appeal to neighbors, guests, and potential buyers (if you plan to sell the house in the future).

Why You Still Need to Grow Plants

Some septic contractors will tell you not to grow plants over the tank and field. Don’t believe that. Plants can prevent soil erosion. It can also suck up some moisture from the drain field. They can help prolong the life of the septic tank and drain field.

Soil erosion is a significant problem in septic systems, but the roots of the plants can hold the soil in place. Also, plants slow down the rainwater as it flows from the surface and down to the ground. They don’t allow much of the rain to soak into the ground.

gardeningWhat Kind of Plants to Grow Over the Tank and Drain Field?

At the very least, you can grow a tall fescue grass and other types of lawn grass. Don’t leave your yard bare just because you’re worried about the aggressive root systems of these plants. You can even let weeds grow over the tank and drain field instead of leaving it bare. Two other types of grass or ivy that you can let grow are jewelweed plants and Creeping Charlie.

Choose grass with shallow root systems. Perennials and even ornamental grasses will not invade the septic tank and drain field because their roots don’t grow too deeply into the ground. If you live in a sunlit area, you can grow these types of perennials: perennial salvia, Montauk daisy, delphinium, and coneflower. But your best bets are hollyhocks, bee balm, and wild violets. These can tolerate wet and salty ground, which is what the type of soil is over the septic tank and drain field.

Trees and shrubs with shallow roots are also great for the ground above your septic tank and drain field. You can choose among dogwood trees, holly shrubs, azalea shrubs, Japanese maple trees, boxwood shrubs, and Eastern redbud trees. Remember that even if you managed to grow food crops, you cannot eat those because they could absorb the bacteria and other contaminants from the drain field.

Taking care of your house includes the yard and garden. What good will it do you to have a nice-looking place but a bare garden? This is the first thing that people will see when they visit your house. Make sure that it’s a welcoming treat for them.


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