How Close To A Septic Tank Can I Plant Vegetables? (Correct answer)

While there are no specific distance mandates on vegetable gardens and septic fields, staying 10 to 20 feet outside the perimeter of your septic system’s drainage field is a safe bet for clean veggies and an effective septic system.

  • According to the University of California Small Farm Program, fruits and vegetables should be planted at least 10 feet from a septic system or leach field to avoid bacterial contamination.

Is it safe to grow vegetables near a septic tank?

Septic tank vegetable gardens are not recommended. Although a properly functioning septic system should not cause any problems, it is very hard to tell when the system is working 100 percent efficiently. Vegetable plant roots grow down in search of nutrients and water, and they can easily meet wastewater.

How close can you plant to septic?

Any trees planted in your yard should be at least as far away from the septic tank as the tree is tall. For example, a 20-foot-tall tree should be planted at least 20 feet away from the septic tank. Some trees need to be located even further from a septic tank.

What plants are safe to plant near septic systems?

Here are some example of trees and shrubs with shallow root systems that are safe to plant near your septic system:

  • Japanese Maple Trees.
  • Holly Shrubs.
  • Dogwood Trees.
  • Cherry Trees.
  • Boxwood Shrubs.
  • Eastern Redbud Trees.
  • Azalea Shrubs.

Is it OK to plant a garden over a septic field?

The most important reason you should not install a vegetable garden on top of, or right next to, a septic system disposal field is because the plants can become contaminated by wastewater that has not yet been renovated by the field. Plants on disposal fields can absorb wastewater pathogens.

How far should garden be from septic tank?

While there are no specific distance mandates on vegetable gardens and septic fields, staying 10 to 20 feet outside the perimeter of your septic system’s drainage field is a safe bet for clean veggies and an effective septic system.

Can you put a raised garden over a septic field?

Tip. A raised garden can interfere with the functioning of a septic or drain field. Installing a raised garden bed over the leach lines is not recommended.

Can you put a greenhouse over a septic field?

A greenhouse can be erected on a septic field to grow certain types of plants. The greenhouse should not have permanent foundations, which could easily damage the septic system. Do not plant directly into the ground over a septic field, as the plants could absorb contaminants released by the system.

Can you plant arborvitae near septic tank?

A common hedging plant for narrow spaces is pyramidal arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata,’ or its greener cultivar ‘Emerald Green’). From my observation, it forms a dense root mass that would run into the septic field unless contained, but could provide a decent screen with a confined root run.

Can you put a deck over a septic tank?

You should never build a deck over a septic field; doing so will prevent the natural draining and dissipation of the effluent. This can ruin the septic system, not to mention releasing foul smells into the air all around your deck. The dissipating effluent can also rot the deck from underneath.

What can you plant near sewer pipes?

The best trees to plant around your sewerage system include shallow-rooted trees and shrubs:

  • Cherry trees.
  • Japanese maple trees are among one of the few maple trees that are likely to cause less damage.
  • Eastern redbud trees.
  • Dogwood trees.
  • Holly shrubs.
  • Boxwood shrubs.

What can you put over a septic field?

Put plastic sheets, bark, gravel or other fill over the drainfield. Reshape or fill the ground surface over the drainfield and reserve area. However, just adding topsoil is generally OK if it isn’t more than a couple of inches. Make ponds on or near the septic system and the reserve area.

How to Plant a Garden in Relation to a Septic System Drain Field

For many individuals, living in the country represents a new way of life. Gardening and orchard planning are important aspects of country living, but so are other aspects of country life. A septic system is required for the majority of country residences, for example, to dispose of sewage. In spite of the fact that septic systems are generally effective, the leach field is a critical component in the treatment and dispersion of waste water. Because of the risk of bacteria in the soil, only grass, shallow-rooted flowers, bulbs, and meadow grasses are planted immediately over a septic system to prevent bacterial contamination.

In accordance with the septic plot plan submitted with the local building department, identify the location of the septic tank and leach lines on the property.

While a plot plan is required for new construction, older properties may not have any records accessible that specify the placement of the septic tank and leach pipes.

Septic tank site can be identified by the presence of a clean-out, risers, or a manhole cover on the ground surface.

  • To identify the gravel drain field, use a metal rod and gently press it into the earth to probe the area around it.
  • Make your way out of the home and away from the house.
  • Take a 10-foot measurement from the outside boundary of the leach field.
  • To minimize bacterial contamination, according to the University of California Small Farm Program, fruits and vegetables should be grown at least 10 feet away from a septic system or leach field to ensure proper drainage.
  • In order to ensure that non-aggressive shrubs and trees thrive, they should be planted at a distance equivalent to their maturity height.

Bulletin #2442, Vegetable Gardens and Septic Fields Don’t Mix

Visit extension.umaine.edu for more information on the University of Maine Extension programs and services. More information about our publications and books may be found here. atextension.umaine.edu/publications/. According to data from the United States Census Bureau, Maine is the most rural state in the US, with around 61 percent of our people living in rural regions.

1 Due to the fact that many rural-area properties are not linked to municipal sewer systems, many Mainers rely on septic systems to dispose of their household wastes instead.

Planning Around Your Septic System

In addition to an underground tank, a septic system also includes a soil absorption field, which is sometimes known as a septic system disposal field and is also referred to as a “leach field.” Through filtration and the work of microorganisms in the soil, the wastewater treatment field cleans the wastewater, preventing polluting water from entering nearby bodies of water such as lakes, streams, and groundwater.

Because of the presence of a septic system on your property, you may need to adjust your land use to accommodate the system.

This is especially true in the case of vegetable gardens.

What if You Don’t Know Where Your Septic System Is?

The challenge of locating your system is not always straightforward. Even if you are able to locate your septic tank, the disposal field may be several hundred feet distant. Refer to your septic system design form for assistance in locating your system (known as the HHE-200 form). Whether you are unable to locate a copy, you should inquire with your local plumbing inspector to see if he or she has a copy on file. Maine Subsurface Wastewater Program may be reached through the Maine Subsurface Wastewater Team page on the Division of Environmental and Community Health (Maine.gov) website, or by phone at (207) 287-5689.

If no record of your system can be discovered, you can contact a Site Evaluator to assist you in locating it.

How Septic System Wastewater Can Contaminate Your Garden

Untreated wastewater, commonly known as sewage, can be a health issue since it contains pathogens. Septic system disposal fields are intended to treat or refurbish the wastewater produced by septic systems. Because plants can become polluted by wastewater that has not yet been refurbished by a septic system disposal field, it is imperative that you do not grow a vegetable garden on top of, or immediately close to, a septic system disposal field. Plants growing on disposal fields have the ability to absorb pathogens from wastewater.

What You Should Know About Disposal — Field Design

Since 1974, the majority of septic system disposal fields have been designed to be built partially or entirely above the original ground surface. This is due to the fact that the majority of Maine’s soils are hardpan, bedrock, and/or have a shallow seasonal groundwater table. A sufficient elevation above any of these limiting constraints is required to allow wastewater to flow into and be rejuvenated by the soil underneath the disposal field’s bottom layer of soil. How a disposal field is built is explained in detail.

  1. The upper layer is made up of components such as plastic or concrete chambers, fabric-wrapped pipe, geo-textile sand filters, or stone.
  2. A layer of compressed hay or filter fabric is placed just above the stone or other disposal-field components to prevent fine soil particles from entering the crevices between the stones or in other devices in the disposal field.
  3. A layer of fill material is placed above the compressed hay or filter fabric, which is typically eight to twelve inches deep.
  4. This is done in order to allow for the open flow of air into the disposal field, which will allow bacteria to immediately attack and refurbish the wastewater as fast as possible.

In most cases, just the top four or five inches of this fill material contains silt or clay, as well as organic debris and other contaminants. The reasons why septic system disposal fields are undesirable for gardening purposes

  • The wastewater level in a new septic system disposal field is often fairly low, especially in the early stages of the system’s operation. Over time, however, as the disposal field grows, it is possible that effluent will accumulate in ponds. A partial obstruction of the soil pores by particles escaping from the septic tank as well as the live and dead bodies of microorganisms is the cause of this. The greater the thickness of this clogging layer, the higher the level of wastewater in the disposal field will grow. The amount of wastewater produced will also increase over time as the number of family members grows and matures, as well as as a result of high-volume events. Water (including wastewater) will wick up into soil as a result of capillary attraction, and eventually the levels of wastewater in a disposal field will be high enough for even shallowly rooted plants to come into touch with it
  • Even shallowly rooted plants will come into contact with it. The capillary pull of the wastewater might lead it to wick up to a height of 18 inches in the disposal field if it rises high enough in the disposal field to come into touch with the fill material on top of it. This could happen depending on the texture of the fill material. Consequently, it is not recommended to plant a vegetable garden next to a landfill fill expansion, especially if it is located close to the landfill. However, even though there may be no wicking up to the top of the disposal field or fill extension material at first, it is possible that it will occur as the disposal field matures. Generally speaking, the soil over the top of a septic system disposal field is very permeable, particularly in the early stages of the system’s installation. As a result, in order for the plants to thrive in a garden that has been planted on top of a septic system disposal field, irrigation will be required. Addition of water to the top of a disposal field, particularly if the disposal field is only moderately functioning, has the potential to cause it to collapse. Turning the top of a disposal field might cause harm to the compacted hay or filter fabric on top of the field. if the compressed hay or filter fabric is damaged, it could allow soil particles to migrate down into the stone or other devices in the disposal field, reducing the wastewater holding capacity
  • If the compressed hay or filter fabric is damaged, it could allow soil particles to migrate down into the stone or other devices in the disposal field
  • In order to provide a safe growing environment for vegetable plants on top of a waste field, it is not recommended to place extra fill on top of the field. The addition of fill material has the potential to choke the disposal field by interfering with the free flow of air in the area. It is significantly more probable for an anaerobic (oxygen-free) disposal field to become clogged and fail than it is for a well-oxygenated disposal field. Additionally, adding more fill material to the disposal system may result in damage to the components of the disposal field. It is expected that any plants put on top of the disposal field would shoot roots down in search of water and nutrients, which will not be found in the gravelly sand fill material used for the disposal field. After everything is said and done, septic system disposal fields are unsuited for gardening because roots that come into touch with wastewater might absorb infections such as viruses, which can subsequently infect anybody who consumes the plants.
See also:  Which Tank Septic Put Chlorine? (Correct answer)

Better Choices for Covering Disposal Fields

Grass is the most appropriate plant to grow on top of septic system disposal fields and fill extensions since it is drought resistant. Flowers may also be effective, but only if you avoid rototilling the soil and excessively watering the plants, as described above. It is not recommended to grow woody-rooted plants on disposal fields or fill expansions because the roots of these plants may choke pipes and other equipment in the disposal field, causing them to fail. The use of bark mulch to cover the bare soil of your disposal field is a suitable choice if you do not want vegetation to grow over your disposal site.

  • Your Septic System, by John M.
  • (Orono: University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 2002, 2010).
  • There is no responsibility taken for any difficulties that may arise as a result of the usage of the products or services listed.
  • 2012Call 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 207.581.3188 (outside of Maine) for information on publications and program offerings from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu for more information.
  • Concerning non-discrimination policies, the following individual has been appointed to respond to inquiries: Sarah E.

Septic System Gardening Info: Planting Gardens On Septic Drain Fields

Susan Patterson, Master Gardener, contributed to this article. A common source of concern for many homeowners is the planting of gardens on septic drain fields. This is especially true when it comes to planting a vegetable garden over a septic tank area. Continue reading to find out more about septic system gardening and whether or not it is advised to grow over septic tanks.

Can a Garden be Planted Over a Septic Tank?

Gardens over septic tanks are not only permitted, but they may be helpful in some circumstances. Septic drain fields benefit from the addition of attractive plants because they promote oxygen exchange and aid in the removal of moisture from the drain field region. Plants also aid in the control of erosion. Often, it is advised that leach fields be covered with meadow grass or turf grass, such as perennial rye, to improve the overall appearance. Furthermore, ornamental grasses with shallow roots can have a very pleasing appearance.

In either case, planting on a sewage bed is permissible as long as the plants you choose are neither invasive or deeply established.

Best Plants for Septic Field Garden

A septic field garden should be planted with herbaceous, shallow-rooted plants such as the grasses indicated above, as well as other perennials and annuals that will not damage or clog the sewage lines. Planting trees and shrubs over a septic field is more challenging than planting shallow-rooted plants over a septic field. It is possible that tree or shrub roots may cause damage to pipelines at some point in time. Small boxwoods and hollybushes are preferable than woody shrubs or huge trees in this situation.

Vegetable Garden Over Septic Tank Areas

It is not suggested to grow vegetables in a septic tank. Although a fully functioning septic system should not create any difficulties, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the system is operating at peak performance. As vegetable plant roots grow downward in search of nutrients and water, they may come into contact with sewage or other liquid waste. People who consume the plants may become infected with pathogens such as viruses. Whenever feasible, it’s a good idea to reserve the space above and near the septic field for decorative plants and to locate your vegetable garden someplace else on the property.

Septic System Gardening Info

It is generally a good idea to obtain as much information as possible about your specific septic system before you begin planting. Consult with the house builder or the person who built the septic system to see which option would be the most appropriate for your unique scenario. Learn more about General Vegetable Garden Care in this article. This content was last modified on

Is it okay to plant a garden over a leach field?

Planting over a septic leach field (drain field) is possible, but it must be done with caution to avoid contamination. If you just have a little amount of garden area on your home, the leach field may be the only place you can plant flowers or vegetables. Growing shallow-rooted plants over the drainage region is advised since they aid in the removal of surplus moisture and nutrients from the soil as well as the reduction of soil erosion. A range of different herbaceous perennials, annuals, and groundcovers can be safely and efficiently planted in addition to turf grass, which is the most common choice.

About Septic Systems

The majority of residences in rural regions, where city sewer connections are not readily available, have their own septic systems, which are comprised of a septic tank and a leach field. The septic tank decomposes organic matter and removes oil, grease, and particles from the waste water generated by a home. Septic tank effluent is released to an underground network of perforated pipes, which allow the liquid to gently flow back into the surrounding soil. Water that percolates through the soil and into the water table in a well working septic system is free of hazardous bacteria and nutrients before it reaches the water table.

Planting Considerations

Planting over a leach field requires special care since plant roots can block drain pipes and cause damage to the drain field, which can be a costly problem to repair after it has occurred. Several herbaceous perennials are relatively risk-free choices since their roots will not grow deep enough to reach the sewer lines. Because they require less irrigation and because their roots will not seek to penetrate the continually moist soil around the drain pipes, drought resistant plants are favored.

  • Additional considerations include minimizing the quantity of water supplied over the leach field, since saturated soil can inhibit effluent evaporation and increase the likelihood of groundwater pollution.
  • Solid woody plants have deeper roots that have the potential to clog drain lines in a very short period of time.
  • Planting a tree towards the end of the drainage line, where there is less water to attract the roots in the direction of the leach field, is an option if you absolutely must.
  • The roots of a tree will normally reach at least as far from the trunk as the tree’s height from the ground.
  • The detergents and cleaning chemicals that are flushed down the toilet are often alkaline, and this can cause the pH of the soil to rise over time.
  • Furthermore, residential effluent typically contains significant quantities of sodium, particularly if you use a water softener.
  • It is not a good idea to plant vegetables over a leach field.
  • A further consideration is that many vegetable gardeners are apprehensive about growing their food plants on soil that is regularly contaminated with household pollutants.

Unfortunately, building raised beds over the drainage region is also not a viable option. The increased soil depth created by the beds may reduce evaporation and reduce the effectiveness of the septic system’s efficacy.

Suggested Perennials

Astilbe Astilibespecies
Barrenwort Epimediumspecies
Barren strawberry Waldsteinia ternata
Beardtongue Penstemon digitalis
Black-eyed-Susan Rudbeckia hirta
Blanket flower Gaillardiaspecies
Blazing star Liatrisspecies
Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa
Catmint Nepeta racemosa
Columbine Aquilegiaspecies
Cranesbill Geraniumspecies
Daylily Hemerocallisspecies
Dianthus Dianthusspecies
Globe thistle Echinops ritro
Goldenrod Solidagospecies
Hens and chicks Sempervivumspecies
Hosta Hostaspecies
Knautia Knautia macedonica
Lamb’s ears Stachys byzantina
Lupine Lupinusspecies
Moss phlox Phlox subulata
Mullein Verbascum species
Poppy Papaverspecies
Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Russian sage Perovskia atriplicifolia
Spurge Euphorbiaspecies
Stonecrop Sedumspecies
Tickseed Coreopsis species
Wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa
Woodland sage Salvia nemerosa
Yarrow Achilleaspecies

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Planting Vegetables Over a Septic Leach Field

It it OK for me to establish a vegetable garden on the drain field of my septic tank. – Eric et al. The drain field of a septic tank makes for an attractive location for a vegetable garden since it is vast, flat, and typically sunny. However, it is typically not suggested to grow vegetables in this location for a variety of reasons, including the following:

There is a risk of contamination:

  • As septic tank effluent drains out into the lines, it is gently filtered through the soil, where helpful soil microorganisms digest dangerous bacteria and viruses, allowing the effluent to return to the tank. This indicates that there is some level of contamination around the lines, and the extent of the contamination is dependent on the kind of soil, the rate of absorption, and the overall quality of the system. Septic systems are intended to prevent disease-causing soil pollution, but there is no simple method to determine whether or not your system is working correctly. Consider all of the home chemicals that are flushed down your drains on a daily basis, in addition to bacteria. In general, plants benefit the environment by absorbing and digesting chemicals – some of which may wind up in your food. Root crops are more susceptible to contamination, and their roots can become entangled in drainage systems. Leaves and vegetables might be polluted by water that has splashed up from the soil surface. Higher-growing or fruiting plants (such as tomatoes and cucumbers) are less likely to be infected
  • But, there is no way to know what kinds (or how much) bacteria are present on them. It is possible that you have a water-softener system that may release brine (salt) into the system, which will hurt salt-sensitive veggies such as peppers and beans
  • Nevertheless, it is not recommended.

Also, the proper functioning of your septic system can be harmed by:

  • The use of raised beds that hinder the evaporation of moisture
  • Tilling, excavating, and foot traffic are all activities that might cause damage to septic lines. It is irrigation that causes the delicate process of filtration and evaporation to be disrupted.
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Instead of vegetables, you should plant your septic drain field with decorative plants, grasses, or ground coverings that have shallow roots and are drought resistant. For further information and plant recommendations, please see:

  • Planting on your septic drain field (Virginia Tech)
  • Planting on your septic leach field (University of Nevada)
  • Planting on your septic drain field (Virginia Tech)
  • Planting on your septic leach field (Virginia Tech)

Is it Dangerous to Plant on a Septic Field? – Ask Dr. Weil

Planting your septic field is typically considered a good idea, but it is not the best location for a vegetable garden. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), shallow-rooting plants can aid in the proper operation of a septic drain system by removing moisture and nutrients from the soil; they can also help to decrease soil erosion. When it comes to planting vegetables, the VCE materials state that the soil’s ability to filter viruses and bacteria is dependent on the soil’s ability to filter viruses and bacteria: clay soils can eliminate bacteria within a few inches of the drain trenches, whereas sandy soils may allow bacterial movement for several feet.

The VCE recommends that you use your septic field for decorative plants and that you move your veggie garden somewhere else.

  • Planting your septic field is typically seen as a good idea, but it is not the best location for a vegetable garden. In accordance with the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), shallow-rooted plants can aid in the proper operation of a septic drain system by removing moisture and nutrients from the soil and by reducing soil erosion. The VCE materials state that when planting vegetables, the soil’s ability to filter viruses and bacteria is dependent on the soil’s ability to filter viruses and bacteria: clay soils can eliminate bacteria within a few inches of the drain trenches, whereas sandy soils may allow bacterial movement for several feet. Even while a properly functional sewer system would not pollute the soil, the VCE cautions that it is difficult for home gardeners to identify whether or not a system is performing as it should in some cases. VCE recommends that attractive plants be grown on the septic field and that your veggie garden be located somewhere else on your property. The agency suggests the following measures if you don’t have access to another location:

The VCE recommends that at a bare minimum, the septic field be planted with a thick cover of grass to prevent erosion. The septic field of my vacation residence in coastal British Columbia, Canada, was covered with lilies, which I planted. They have shallow roots and are very appealing. When planting on septic fields, VCE suggests shallow-rooted herbaceous plants that do not require a lot of water to establish. The pipes in a leach field are buried at least six inches below the surface of the ground, allowing septic tank effluent to flow across a vast surface area.

The removal of surplus moisture and nutrients by plant roots can assist to improve the efficiency with which the residual effluent is purified.

As a result, the issue of leach field gardening is to locate plants that will suit your landscape requirements while avoiding clogging the drain pipes.

The Virginia experts also advise against being overly excited when tilling the soil when laying out your plants, and to always use gardening gloves to avoid direct contact with any hazardous organisms that may be present in the soil during the planting process.

Dr. Andrew Weil is a medical doctor who practices in New York City.

Can vegetable gardens be planted near or over septic fields?

Our vegetable garden is built on top of a portion of our sewage system. This is the only portion of our yard that receives sufficient sunlight. Is it possible that there will be a problem with probable contamination? Contamination can be an issue in several situations. Because septic tanks are not totally self-contained and do not seep into the soil, there are health risks associated with them. To preserve Michigan’s groundwater from pollution, the majority of governmental entities have forced that homeowners switch to self-contained water treatment systems.

  • The behavior of a septic system is influenced by the kind of soil present.
  • Clay, on the other hand, does not percolate or drain well, making it an unsuitable material for a septic site in general.
  • Contaminants have the ability to traverse longer distances in this situation.
  • Plants that grow above ground, such as lettuce or broccoli, may be infected by pathogens that are washed up from the soil surface during irrigation or a rainstorm.
  • Homes with “hard” water and that employ a salt-based water softening system are more likely to have significant volumes of brine flowing into the septic drain field than other types of homes.
  • Septic effluent pours out into the pipes and is progressively filtered via the earth as it travels through it.
  • Even though septic systems are intended to prevent disease-causing soil pollution, there is currently no reliable technique to determine whether or not your system is operating effectively.
  • Plants are, by their very nature, absorbing and digesting “factories,” and as a result, they clean up the environment.

Can You Plant A Garden Over A Septic Field?

The rear corner of my land is where I’m planning to develop my garden, but while I was talking about my plans with a buddy, he said that his home is equipped with a septic tank, which made gardening a bit more difficult. It’s not something I have to be concerned about, but it’s something I would be concerned about if I lived in a property that relied on a septic tank for waste disposal. I recall that my sister had a septic system installed on her property some years ago, and she also had a flower garden on her land.

  • Despite the fact that you are cautious about what you are growing and are aware of the hazards associated with probable contamination and damage to the septic system, you should not plant a garden over a septic field.
  • These are the start of two very distinct inquiries.
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Gardens flourish over septic fields for the same reason they flourish when manure is incorporated into the soil: there are an abundance of nutrients available for your plants to absorb and use.
  • However, vegetable gardens and flower gardens are two whole different things.
  • A little manure on my garden soil is fine with me, but having bacteria contaminates splashed all over my food is not something I am interested in.

For me, it’s a question of not knowing whether or not the septic system is properly functioning or whether or not I’ve caused harm to it, and I don’t want to take any chances with my health or with the septic system’s functionality.

If you’re dead set on starting a vegetable garden, but your only option is to dig up a septic field, you’ll want to think twice before proceeding.

If at all possible, avoid planting root vegetables immediately over drainage lines because if there is contamination, the root vegetables will absorb it and this will be detrimental to your health.

Planting tomato and cucumber vine crops in cages and trellises will keep the plants off the ground and prevent as much splashing from water impacting the soil as is feasible.

Raised garden beds should not be used because they make it harder for your septic system to drain correctly since they hold too much water in the soil.

Oh, and please, please, please do not place your garden next to a septic field.

In reality, growing over your septic field is not a significant concern for most garden plants (with the exception of root vegetables), but it might cause problems for your sewage system and lead to the contamination of your food supply.

Apart from this, you should also think about keeping some other objects away from your septic field.

Some of the drainage lines are rather close to the surface, and even tiny machines such as 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and riding mowers might cause an issue and break the drainage lines as a result of the weight of the vehicle.

You should also avoid hardscaping or planting raised beds directly over the septic field.

RELATED QUESTIONS

The rear corner of my land is where I’m planning to develop my garden, but while I was talking about my plans with a buddy, he said that his home is equipped with a septic tank, which makes gardening a bit more challenging. Even while it isn’t something I have to be concerned about, it is something I would be concerned about if I were to live in a home that relied on septic tanks. Back in the day, my sister had a septic system on her home, as well as a flower garden, which I recall. So, is it possible to grow a garden on top of a septic tank?

  1. How can you create a garden over a leach drain field, and whether or not you should, are the start of two very distinct questions.
  2. Yes.
  3. No.
  4. Gardens flourish over septic fields for the same reason they flourish when manure is incorporated into the soil: there are an abundance of nutrients available for your plants to absorb and utilize.
  5. There is a distinction between vegetable and flower gardens.
  6. A little manure in my garden soil is fine with me, but having bacteria contaminates splashed all over my food is not something I’m interested in at all!
  7. Because I have no way of knowing if the septic system is correctly operating or whether I have caused damage, I do not want to accept the health risk of doing so or the chance of causing more harm to the septic system, which is why I have chosen not to do so.

If you’re dead set on starting a vegetable garden, but your only option is to dig up a septic field, you’ll want to think twice before proceeding.

You should avoid planting root vegetables directly over drainage lines if at all possible; otherwise, the root vegetables will absorb any contaminants, which is not good for your health.

Cages and trellises should be used for vine crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers to keep them off the ground and to reduce as much splashing as possible when water strikes the soil.

Raised garden beds should be avoided because they make it harder for your septic system to drain correctly since they hold too much water in the soil.

Just remember not to place your garden next to a septic field, yet again.

Although growing your garden veggies (save for root vegetables) over your septic field is not a major concern for most of your garden vegetables, it may become a problem for your septic system, which could result in tainted food.

Grass is, on the other hand, the best option.

Driven vehicles, trucks, and other heavy equipment will cause damage to the drainage lines if they are allowed to drive on the field.

The weight of the machine could cause the drainage lines to break and cause flooding.

Generally speaking, if you plant your garden over an existing septic field, you run a lot of risks, both to your health if there is any soil contamination and to your bank account if your septic system is harmed by your gardening (regular foot traffic, raised garden bed plantings, digging, tilling, irrigation, and regular watering are all things that can damage a septic system).

Can I place a raised bed over a septic field?

Placing a raised garden bed on top of a septic field might be fatal. Don’t even think about it! However, while this may assist to protect your plants from a higher danger of pollution since it effectively shifts the plants and roots further away from the septic system, it will cause problems with the septic system itself. Septic systems and leach fields must be able to drain moisture from the system. Placing a raised garden bed on top of your septic system or leach field keeps rainwater from escaping and can cause harm to the system and surrounding area.

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Everything from paths and pavers to firepits and raised garden beds should be avoided over your septic system since it will prevent rainwater from evaporating.

How far should a garden be from a septic tank?

A raised garden bed over a septic field might spell doom for your garden. No way! Do not use this route. However, while this may assist to protect your plants from a higher danger of pollution since it effectively shifts the plants and roots further away from the septic system, it will pose problems for the septic system itself. Moisture must be allowed to escape from septic tanks and leach fields. A raised garden bed placed on top of your septic system or leach field keeps rainwater from escaping and can cause damage to the system and leach field.

Any hardscapes, such as paths and pavers, firepits, and raised garden beds, should not be placed over your septic system since they will prevent rainwater from evaporating.

  1. DO keep your plantings shallow
  2. DON’T plant trees too near to your septic system
  3. DO use shrubs that don’t demand a lot of water or are drought resistant
  4. DON’T plant trees too close to your septic system
  5. DO NOT grow vegetables in close proximity to your sewage tank
  6. DO prepare ahead

It is also possible to wonder how near a garden may be to a leach field. a distance of 10 feet When it comes to a septic tank, how much earth should be on top of it? the level of soil backfill over the septic tank lid or septic tankriser lid, which can range from 0″ (which implies you should be able to see it) to only a few inches (which indicates that the grass in the region may be dead) to 6-12″ or even more.

West Coast Gardener: Gardening Around Your Septic System

NEWater SepticDrainage Ltd.’s John Langard contributed to this article. Incorporating gardens and establishing a landscape plan for newly constructed homes or older homes with onsite sewage systems (septic systems) may be both gratifying and demanding endeavors. There are several different types of septic systems, each with a distinctive appearance in your yard. These range from an in-ground gravity system with a single tank to a raised sand mound with a treatment plant and up to three tanks, among others.

  • The following are some general guidelines to consider while landscaping over a septic system drain field: Keep all irrigation lines at least 10 feet away from one other.
  • On or near your drain field and septic tank, keep plants and shrubs with aggressive root systems out of the way, such as cedar, willow, maple, bamboo and aspen.
  • Do not plant anything near your septic field that will interfere with water drainage.
  • However, a blend of wildflowers and other grasses may be used to produce a low-maintenance, meadow-like look that is low in care.
  • If you are going to plant flower gardens, annuals and perennials with shallow root systems are suitable selections for your planting needs.
  • A well built and operating drain field can help support the growth of vegetable gardens, albeit it is not suggested for use with an old-fashioned gravity system.
  • Planting root vegetables over your septic field is not recommended.
  • Now is an excellent time to think about any new landscape ideas you may have.

Any landscaping or garden features, as well as the construction of any retaining walls within 25 feet of your drain field, should be discussed with your maintenance provider or landscape designer before beginning work.

Landscaping Around a Septic System: Do’s and Don’ts

• by NEWater SepticDrainage Ltd.’s John Langard • The integration of gardens and the development of a landscape plan may be both gratifying and demanding for newly constructed residences or older homes with onsite sewage systems (septic systems). The look of your yard will vary depending on the type of septic system you choose, ranging from an in-ground gravity system with a single tank to a raised sand mound with a treatment plant and up to three tanks (see illustration). By planning ahead of time and following a few simple guidelines, septic systems may be integrated into the landscape and become a seamless part of the overall design.

  1. Over the drain field and septic tank sites, avoid deep tilling (rototilling).
  2. Establish a minimum of 10 feet between your drain field and septic tank when planting all trees and plants.
  3. In order to decrease soil erosion and surplus rainwater in a drain field, vegetation cover is essential.
  4. When aiming to create a natural, low-maintenance vibe, native plants such as sword ferns and Oregon grape are wonderful alternatives.
  5. Tank lids and raised beds can be blended in with the surrounding environment if they are planted directly over most drain fields.
  6. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peas are good choices, but make sure the veggies are not allowed to touch the ground!
  7. Considering new landscape ideas for your mature property while planning to build a new septic system?
  8. Discuss your plans with a landscape designer as early as possible, and work together with the septic system installer/designer to get the greatest potential landscaping outcomes.

Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts

  • Plants that do not require a lot of water should be used. This stops plant roots from looking for water and interfering with your system’s functionality. Make use of herbaceous plants with shallow roots, such as flowers and ground cover. When planting quarts, gallons, or plugs, make sure to keep your plants somewhat near to one another to prevent erosion. This will help restrict the growth of weeds. If you have any trees or shrubs growing in your yard in the future, consider how their development may impede access to the septic tank lids, leach field, and sprinkler system. Using a potted plant, riser cover, or lawn ornament just above your access hatch, you may mark the position of your access hatch. When it comes time to dig it up, it will be much simpler to do so. Allow tall Kentucky bluegrass or another type of lawn to grow over the plot of ground that serves as a septic tank cover. Consider the benefits of growing perennials. Because both grasses and perennials have a shallow root structure, they should have no negative impact on your tank or drain field. Make use of tiny, non-woody groundcovers to disguise weeds. Think about planting shallow-rooted trees and vegetation (such as cherry trees, dogwood trees, holly bushes, azalea shrubs, and boxwood shrubs) in the area around your septic system, but make sure they are at least 10-15 feet away from the tank.
  • Get so concerned about plants and grasses hurting your septic tank that you completely demolish the surrounding region. Some grasses and plants are particularly effective at collecting excess rainwater surrounding the drain field, hence reducing the likelihood of drainage problems. Overwatering your lawn may encourage freshly planted plants to flourish more quickly. Overwatering can cause soil to contract over your leach field, which can cause your septic system to get clogged. Root vegetables can be grown in the vicinity of your system. If these nutrient-absorbing plants are planted too near together, they may cause problems with microorganisms.
  • Install plastic sheeting or ponds to keep the water out. These characteristics obstruct effective drainage from the tank to the leach field. Overlook the septic tank or leach field and construct walkways and high-traffic routes
  • Don’t forget that the placement of fencing and gates might have an impact on septic pumper truck access. The hoses on the truck are quite heavy, and we do not recommend that you use them to cross fences. The majority of pumpers like to have access within 50 feet of their vehicle. Planting plants or trees around the septic system is a good idea. Forestry professionals recommend planting trees 20 feet or more away from water, but trees that are known to hunt for water should be planted 50 feet or more away from water. Planting shrubs near the system is a good idea. Vegetables that are nutrient-rich can be grown on a septic system. However, contamination is a worry depending on how efficiently your soil filters microorganisms, even if it appears to be excellent for a garden. Susan Day, an expert on urban forestry at Virginia Tech, advocates planting aboveground veggies rather than root vegetables in close proximity as a safeguard. Disrupt the drainage system by constructing ponds, using plastic sheeting, or planting plants that require a lot of upkeep. Increase foot traffic in regions that are already established. The greater the amount of foot traffic, the more compacted the earth gets.

Plants Safe to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields

As long as you choose the landscaping for the region around your septic system with care, you won’t have to be so concerned about the possibility of septic system damage caused by roots that you refrain from planting in these places entirely. It is not only permissible, but really desirable, to cultivate the appropriate kind of plants in this location. Plants will help to prevent erosion and will also help to absorb some of the surplus rainwater from the drainage system. The ideal plants to use around your septic tank and drain field are perennials and grasses (including decorative grasses).

Small, non-woody ground coverings are a wonderful choice for the same reason: they are low maintenance.

It is not safe to consume food crops that have been planted in the ground near a drain field since doing so may result in the consumption of hazardous microorganisms.

It is preferable to plant shallow-rooted plants and bushes in the vicinity of septic tank drain fields if you really must. The following are examples of shallow-rooted plants and shrubs:

  • Dogwood trees, Japanese maple trees, Eastern redbud trees, cherry trees, azalea shrubs, boxwood shrubs, and holly shrubs are examples of ornamental trees and shrubs.

The Worst Plants to Grow Over Septic Systems

Flowering dogwoods, Japanese maples, Eastern redbuds, cherry blossoms, Azalea shrubs, Boxwood shrubs, and Holly shrubs are all examples of ornamental plants.

  • The following are examples of plants and trees: Pussywillow bushes, Japanese willow shrubs, Weeping willow trees, Aspen trees, Lombardy poplar trees, Birch trees, Beech trees, and Elm trees The majority of maple trees, with the exception of Japanese maples
  • American sweetgum trees
  • Ash trees
  • Tulip trees

It is advised that a layer of vegetation, such as a lawn, be placed over the drain field to help hold the dirt in place and boost the effectiveness of the system. Certain principles, on the other hand, should be followed in order to avoid costly and unpleasant situations. Perhaps the greatest piece of advise would be to keep trees and bushes out of the landscaping surrounding this location. The most important factor should be the best possible functioning of your septic system, but each homeowner will need to do a cost/benefit analysis of the plants they choose on an individual basis.

If you suspect that encroaching tree roots are causing damage to your system, please contact us at (951) 780-5922 as soon as possible.

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