Septic tanks are tricky, and while you should never build heavy structures atop one, you can plant certain greenery in the area. In fact, landscaping around your septic system can help make the area more beautiful. Let’s take a look at what can and can’t be planted on top of a septic tank and drain field.
Plants You Can Grow Over Septic Systems
The thing to remember about a septic system is you don’t want anything that will impede function of its various parts. While some plants have aggressive root systems that can take over underground, others prevent erosion and actually keep the drain field productive. Note: The soil around your septic tanks can be wetter than normal, so this should be taken into account when planting.
Most grasses work well, such as Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Creeping Charlie and jewelweed. These varieties will cover the bare ground and make the space look presentable. Some flowering plants work, too, like hollyhocks, bee balm and wild violets.
If you want shrubs or small trees, most aren’t ideal but you can get away with planting Japanese maples, dogwood trees, cherry trees, eastern redbuds, holly, boxwood shrubs and azaleas.
Plants You Should Never Grow Over a Septic System
Large trees and plants with roots that aggressively seek water can get into your pipes, ruining a functional septic system. Examples include weeping willows, pussywillows, Japanese willows, Aspen trees, Lombardy poplar trees, elm trees, beech trees, birch trees, American sweetgum trees, most maple varieties, tulip trees and ash trees.
Not only should you keep plants like these away from your septic tank and drain field, but you should also be aware of any growing in the vicinity. A safe rule is to say a tree should be the same distance from your septic system as it is tall (a 50-foot tree should stay at least 50 feet from your system). This may seem extreme, but some root systems take up substantial space. You can also install root barriers if removing a tree isn’t possible.
The Bottom Line
If you use a septic system, understanding how to care for the area is essential to ensuring it functions properly for many years. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always ask a professional at Palmetto Pumpers.
If you live in the Greenville or Anderson areas and need help with septic system installation, maintenance or repair, remember to call Palmetto Pumpers at 864-385-3933 and schedule an appointment today.