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Things to Know Before Planting Over Septic


New septic system owners and even seasoned ones are sometimes surprised to hear that what you plant in your yard has the potential to negatively affect your septic. While the septic tank is located a few inches to a few feet underground, seemingly surface-level changes need careful preparation if above a septic tank or septic lines. Depending on the type of roots and proximity to key components of your septic system, adding the wrong plant to your yard creates unnecessary trouble.

Before planting over or near a septic system, keep these tips in mind to keep everything safe and reduce potential damage.

Stay Away from (Most) Trees

One of the first things you may have heard when buying a home with a septic system or installing one at your property is that tree roots are bad news. In many ways, that’s true. Trees with fast-growing roots have a tendency to grow through pipes and the tank itself. This damage can be costly to fix and can temporarily shut down your septic system for repairs.

The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure any new trees planted in your yard are far enough away from your septic system. New trees should be at least 50-feet away from your system, if not further. It’s also important to research which trees are considered septic safe. These types of trees typically have less invasive roots.

Look for Shallow Roots

When researching septic-safe plants, look for ones that don’t have long roots. Certain shrubs that seem safe at first end up being aggressive when their roots look for water. The same goes for certain types of plants. If you’re feeling nervous, ask your local septic service provider or home and garden expert what you should stay away from. 

Pay Attention to Your Drain Field

Plants don’t just affect the pipes and septic tank. Your drain field is a crucial component in completing the septic process. There are some restrictions on what to plant over your drain field, but there are many safe ways to brighten up this area of your yard.

Firstly, you should avoid similar plants to the ones listed above. The same roots that have a tendency to harm piping will grow into your drain field. Another common garden feature to avoid planting over a drain field are root vegetables. While they most likely won’t harm your septic system, they often absorb some of the bacteria found in the soil.

Lilies and Tulips are popular choices, as their roots won’t threaten the drain field found deeper into the ground. Perennials and other herbaceous plants are safe when compared to plants with woody stems that cause more trouble with septic systems. If you’re struggling to find the right septic-safe plant, there are many types of grasses that look great and prevent soil erosion, too.

Gardening and landscaping don’t have to be a challenge when working with a septic system. A full-service provider like Wind River Environmental offers the perfect array of services to keep your septic system safe and healthy. Preventative maintenance ensures that everything is working correctly and Wind River Environmental also offers pipelining, which stops leaks and prevents root intrusion.

Sign up on our website to schedule septic, grease, drain cleaning, or pipelining services – or call us at 1-800-499-1682 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any questions about changing liquid waste disposal services for your business, don’t hesitate to contact WRE today!