When you have a septic system in your backyard, there are certain steps you must take to protect the structure from damage. This includes being careful about the types of plants you add near or over this area. Use this guide to determine which ones are safe to plant and if there are any you need to remove to prevent them from invading the system.
What Can You Plant Near Septic Systems?
1. Shallow-Rooted Annuals & Perennials
Plants with soft, green stems and shallow roots — like bulbs, weeds, and groundcovers — are well-suited for the areas around and over your system. However, pick those that are adapted to your region’s average rainfall, soil type, and available sunlight. This prevents or minimizes the need for future fertilizing and watering.
2. Shallow-Rooted Trees
While you shouldn’t plant them over the septic system, some trees can grow near the setup. Cherry, crabapple, dogwood, hemlock, and Olneya trees have shallow, non-invasive root systems, so you can add them to the backyard safely. Just leave a distance equal to the height of the tree at its maturity. For instance, a 20-foot tree should be at least 20 feet away from your system. Also, avoid trees with woody, fast-growing roots, like pine, willow, and maple, as these seek out the water in the pipes.
3. Fibrous-Root Plants
Some trees and shrubs have fibrous-root systems that grow primarily close to the soil surface. This allows them to harvest large quantities of water and soil. When placed over your septic system, plants like ornamental grasses reduce soil erosion and suck up excess moisture, which helps to reduce flooding after heavy rains. They also optimize the exchange of oxygen in the drain field needed to filter the remaining bacteria in the wastewater.
If invasive trees and plants have damaged to your septic system, contact the professionals at Tim Frank Septic Tank Cleaning. For over 50 years, this family-owned and -operated company has provided residential and commercial septic services to Geauga County, OH, and parts of Lake Trumbull and Ashtabula. They are certified members of the National Association of Wastewater Technicians® and have operators with Class 1 and Class A wastewater licenses. Call them today at (440) 636-5111 to schedule septic repair or cleaning, and visit their website to learn more about their services.