What Can I Plant Over My Septic Tank and Leech Field

What Can I Plant Over My Septic Tank and Leach Field?

“I absolutely LOVE how my septic system looks!” said no one ever. Just because a septic system is a necessity for many homeowners, it doesn’t mean the patch over yours has to look like a barren wasteland. Yes, you can plant items over your septic system, but they have to be the right plants. Plant the wrong thing, and you’ll soon discover you may be causing damage to your system. Here are some ideas for what you can plant over your septic system.

Shallow Root Perennials

The first thing to remember before planting anything over your septic system or leach field is to ensure the plants you choose have shallow root systems. You want to make certain the root system will not grow toward and interfere with the system or drainage. If this occurs, you will face a serious problem requiring repair. Good choices include:

  • Ornamental grasses. Some choices include maiden hair grass, purple fountain grass, or blue fescue.
  • Hardy perennials. Good choices include ornamental onions, yarrow, cardinal flower, and foxglove.

Shade-Loving Plants

If your septic tank is located in a shady location, some choices include:

  • Groundcovers. Choose ones that are not overly aggressive, like creeping phlox, sweet woodruff, and spotted dead nettle.
  • Ornamentals. There are a number of options available such as lady’s mantle, coral bells, and bleeding heart.

Small Shrubs & Dwarf Trees

Generally, it’s best to avoid planting any kind of tree or shrub near your septic system. As noted earlier, roots pose a real danger to your septic tank and leach field. There are, however, some shallow-root shrubs to consider, are low-maintenance azaleas or English boxwoods.

Plants That Don’t Mind Wet Conditions

Drainage fields tend to be more prone to standing water. Because of this, plants that can handle damp conditions will do well there. Just avoid plants that love water so much that the roots grow deep. A terrible choice would be willows. You’re probably tired of hearing this but shallow roots are the key! Wet-loving plants include toad lilies, stream orchids, and bearded iris.  

Good Old-fashioned Lawn

Of course, the easiest options to cover a barren yard is conventional grass. Grass can quickly turn a poor looking area green and lush. Just make sure you choose the proper grass variety for your planting area: full sun, partial sun, or full shade.

Growing a shorter perennial grass or lawn over a septic tank is one of the easiest ways to cover a patch of a barren yard with something green and lush. Just choose your grass variety based on the light conditions: full sun, partial sun, or full shade.

What Not to Plant

Avoid anything that grows fast or tall and tends to have aggressive root systems. This includes any kind of bamboo, raspberry and blackberry bushes, and any tree like willow, birch or elms. Also, do not plant edible plants or place your vegetable garden over a septic area. Most importantly do not plant anything over or near the tank that could restrict access. These would also include rose buses and holly bushes that attract bees and make for an interesting pumping session!

If you are looking for a trusted, local septic system expert, call us! AJ McDonald Company, Inc; has a history of satisfied customers for over 40 years. From routine tank pump outs to septic repairs, we want to be your go-to source. Contact us today to get set up on a regular pumping schedule!