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5 Septic Friendly Plants


As you may already know, maintaining a healthy septic system is an important part of property ownership. To keep a septic system running smoothly and to avoid unwanted costs, it needs to be inspected regularly, tank lids need to be closed and secured, and water from land and roof drains should be directed away from the drain field. But, have you thought about landscaping? Landscape with love and use septic-friendly plants. Your septic system will thank you!

Septic Safe Plants

Whether or not your plants of choice are safe for your septic system may be the last thing on your mind when trying to curate a well-manicured property. Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of plants that are both beautiful and safe for your septic system.

  • Grass

    • Having a lawn over the drain field is actually recommended. This will help hold soil in place and increase the efficiency of your septic system. The lawn will also help manage excess moisture. The shallow roots of the grass will never grow deep enough or strong enough to cause disruptions to pipes or the tank below the surface.
  • Flowers

    • In general, flowers are safe to plant over septic systems. Their shallow roots will not disrupt the underground operation and can help reduce erosion and flooding in the drain field. Tulips, pansies, and lavender are great examples. These are all beautiful flowers that will get this job done. Check out this handy guide on how to start a flower garden if you are a beginner.
  • Herbaceous Plants

    • These plants are vascular and have no persistent woody stems that could cause damage to a septic system. Herbaceous plants come in colorful varieties that can take on the look of a field of wildflowers! (Wildflowers can have tremendously deep roots so be sure to opt for the Herbaceous alternative). This includes Hardy mums, Oriental poppies, and peonies. The list goes on!
  • Perennials

    • Similar to other flowers, perennials don’t typically have deep enough roots to disrupt pipes. Many perennials will thrive in the drain field especially if your septic system is in a very sunny spot. Some perennials to consider for sunny areas are Montauk daisies, Delphinium, and Coneflower and for a more shrub-type look, try Chocolate Drop Sedum.
    • Tip: If you want to attract butterflies, use red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple blossoms!
  • Shallow Rooted Trees/Shrubs

    • While it is not recommended to grow these large plants near septic systems, if you must, be sure they are shallow-rooted. This means Dogwood trees, Cherry trees, and Japanese maple trees are among the best options. As a general rule, trees should be planted 20 to 50 feet away from your septic system especially if they are water-searching! Proceed with caution when landscaping with trees and shrubs. Check out this guide for some additional tips when planting shrubs.

What to avoid

Water-loving and water-searching plants are the ones to avoid. This includes, but is not limited to Birch trees, Aspen trees, Weeping willow trees, Japanese willow shrubs, and Elm trees. These types of plants will root themselves deeper and deeper to find moisture which makes the risk of disrupting a septic system very high.

Additionally, remember to never plant vegetables above or around a septic system. These plants will absorb the bacteria from the ground and will be unsafe for consumption. Also, avoid creating walkways or other high-traffic areas around your septic system. This will cause the soil to become increasingly compact and put excess pressure on the system. For more tips on springtime preparation for your yard, home, and septic, check out these tips.

Don’t let your septic system stop you from creating the lawn of your dreams. Leaving the drain field barren is simply unnecessary, especially for property owners who love gardening and have an eye for outdoor enhancement. Still nervous about landscaping around your septic system? Think your plants may already be affecting your septic system? No worries! Call us and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions and help keep your septic system in good shape!

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