Keeping Your Septic Field from Harm


It is tempting, with all the space that the septic field takes up, and how it could be better used for. Resist that urge. Your septic system is handling all the waste your home turns out and that is a big enough job without making it work harder. What’s worse, is that if gardening or landscaping choices do get it the way of the septic or the drain field, it may not work as well, and no one wants that.

What not to plant near your septic field:

Trees with encroaching roots - Those roots can invade the drain field and it is possible for them to crack the tank itself. Trees need to be planted well away from the septic system either at the property line or 20 feet away.  Shallowly rooted trees like the dogwood or holly shrubs are better but still need to be 10 feet away.

Trees with roots that seek water - The roots of water-craving plants grow down to the pipes and have a better likelihood of interfering with the pipes to find water.

Vegetable gardens - Nutrient-absorbing plants, like root vegetables and other vegetables, will likely take in bacteria if placed too close. While it is true that vegetable gardens do well in manure, human waste doesn’t have the same properties. It is not safe to eat food crops grown in the ground around a drain field because eating them might entail ingesting harmful bacteria.

Plants that can be planted on a septic field include:

  • Ornamental grasses
  • Regular lawn grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Jewelweed plants

These plants will multiply and cover a septic space nicely.​ The shallow root systems are unlikely to invade the underground system and cause damage. These plants will also prevent erosion by holding onto the soil and suck up some of the excess moisture from the drain field.

Another way of keeping your septic drain field safe is not using it as a parking area or a play area. The weight of vehicles will damage the pipework supporting your septic tank. Limiting the amount of foot traffic near your septic will prevent damage to the system. The professionals at Tri-County Septic will be able to give you help in deciding how best to protect the septic system and drain field, so it gives your family years of comfort with a well-maintained system.