Corbin, Kentucky
PO Box 1877
Corbin, KY 40702
(606) 528-4782

A Guide to Tree Planting for Septic Tank Owners November 27, 2018

Corbin, Whitley
A Guide to Tree Planting for Septic Tank Owners, Corbin, Kentucky

Although it’s safe for septic tank owners to plant trees on their property, it’s not as simple as choosing a few types that you like. Since the tank and drainfield are situated in the yard, home and business owners need to be careful about what and where they plant. Here’s what you need to know about improving the appearance of your outdoor space while also protecting the integrity of your septic system.

What You Need to Know About Trees & Septic Systems

How Do Trees Affect the Septic Tank?

septic tankThe problem with many trees is that their roots are simply too aggressive to be considered safe. The faster these roots grow in their quest for moisture, the more likely they are to puncture the septic tank or the pipes attached to the system. Since roots are naturally inclined to go in search of the closest source of water, they’ll grow in the direction of the septic system. If roots affect the pipes, you may notice that drains are slow and toilets don’t flush efficiently. The drainfield may also show signs of a leak in the form of fresh, bright green grass, the result of too much moisture and too many plant nutrients seeping into the area.

Which Trees Should You Avoid?

In general, large trees are very likely to pose a threat if they’re planted in the vicinity of the tank. Some to avoid include elm, birch, cypress, and walnut trees, all of which have fast-growing roots that soak up nearby moisture. Moreover, they also depend on many of the nutrients that are found in the drainfield’s soil, which will affect the septic system’s ability to properly treat effluent. If you’re interested in larger trees like these, it’s best to plant them 50 to 100 feet away from the tank, depending on the variety.

Are There Trees That Are Safe to Plant?

Seek out trees that don’t have complex root systems. Think in terms of mature tree height; arborists can help you select those that won’t grow much higher than 25 feet. Dogwood, cherry, and Japanese maple trees may be safe to plant depending on the size of your yard. No matter the type of tree, you never want to plant it in the immediate vicinity of the septic tank. Keep it some distance away to prevent even shallow roots from leaching moisture or reaching pipes.


Proper septic tank care will keep your plumbing system running smoothly for years. You can trust in the professionals at Cox’s Septic Service of Corbin, KY, for everything from sludge removal to basic maintenance. If you happen to have trees in the tank’s vicinity, these experts will help you ensure the plants aren’t threatening the integrity of the system. You can visit them online to find out more about these and other services, or give them a call at (606) 528-4782 to schedule an appointment.

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