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3 Types of Plants to Place Over Your Septic System

Septic Tanks
If you have just installed a new septic system, you may wonder what the landscaping potential of the area is. Although you don't necessarily have to restrict yourself to the sod that was installed after filling back in around the tank, your options are still fairly limited.

When considering the options, think about whether the plants have invasive roots, whether they can survive in both a wet environment and without regular watering, and whether they're great at erosion control.

Learn about three categories of plants that tend to get along well with septic systems.

1. Grasses

Grasses, with their fibrous root systems, are a great landscaping choice for any area prone to erosion.  This makes them ideal for septic mounds. Another benefit is that grasses grow densely, taking up lots of water and allowing for lots of evaporation.

Evaporation is an important part of leachfield health because all the water your household uses has to be dispersed in this one area. If the ground becomes too waterlogged, septic function will slow down. The moisture in the leachfield is why you're not supposed to water plants in this area.

You can choose a typical lawn grass or a more decorative option such as fountain grass or blue oat grass. 

2. Wildflowers

Wildflowers are often a carefree option for an area with limited landscaping options, such as a septic system. They are low-maintenance and often don't need to be mowed, meaning you can all but eliminate foot traffic and lawnmower traffic over the area throughout the growing season. Just make sure none of the varieties you choose have deep, aggressive roots.

Commonly sold wildflower seed mixes often have low water requirements, in which case they may do better over a septic tank or mound rather than a traditional leachfield, which is watered from beneath on a daily basis and can get quite soggy. Don't let the wildflowers grow too near the house, though, in case of pests; keep them back a few feet.

3. Non-Woody Perennials

Choose a plant with shallow roots that won't intrude on the pipes and septic tank. Perennials that keep coming back are better than annuals for septic mounds because they don't require replanting and their roots still control erosion during the winter.

As a rule, look for non-woody plants that die back each year, rather than bushes or trees. Trees are a big no-no and need to be kept far away from the septic system. Otherwise, their roots may travel across the yard and cause damage even if the tree wasn't planted above any septic component.

Some positive examples of popular, non-woody perennials that come back year after year include echinacea, ferns, and daylilies. 

These three categories will give you a little more to choose from than just grass. Don't do anything too fancy with landscaping, though. Keeping it basic and relatively hands-free is the best option both for your budget and schedule and for the septic system itself.

That is because you need to avoid too much traffic over the system (including foot traffic), and you need to avoid blocking evaporation with components like landscape fabric, mulch, or plastic. You also want septic contractors to be able to reach and unearth any component of the septic system easily without undoing too much landscaping work.

Whether you are looking for help caring for your septic system or whether you have current septic problems that need repairs, give our team at Allen's Septic Tank Service a call today. We provide cleaning and pumping and installation for septic systems, and we can solve problems such as clogged septic lines.