How Far From A Septic Tank Should You Have A Garden? (Solved)

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.

How far should a vegetable garden be from a septic field?

  • 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.

How far from the septic tank can you plant a garden?

Mark the garden’s borders with stakes. 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.

Is it safe to put a garden over a septic field?

Planting over a septic leach field (drain field) is possible if it is done with care. If you have limited space on your property where you can garden, the leach field may be the only spot for landscaping. Vegetable gardening over a leach field is not recommended.

How close can you plant next to a septic field?

These estimates should be considered a bare minimum, and to reduce the risk, the trees should be planted even further away from the drain field. Shrubs with less aggressive root systems should never be planted any closer than 10 feet and small less aggressive trees no closer than 20 feet from the drain field.

Can you put a garden near a leach 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.

What plants can you grow near your septic system?

If you must grow trees and shrubs, shallow-rooted kinds are better to grow around septic tank drain fields. Shallow-rooted trees and shrubs include:

  • Dogwood trees.
  • Japanese maple trees.
  • Eastern redbud trees.
  • Cherry trees.
  • Azalea shrubs.
  • Boxwood shrubs.
  • Holly shrubs.
  • Dwarf tree varieties.

Can you build 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 put a raised garden bed over a septic tank?

Watch out: do not plant a raised-bed garden over the septic drainfield. Constructing a “raised bed” garden which requires the addition of soil above surrounding ground levels can damage the system or can reduce soil transpiration thus preventing the drainfield from functioning properly.

What can you do on top of 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.

What can you not plant near a septic tank?

You definitely shouldn’t plant large shrubbery or trees anywhere near your septic tank. 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.

Can you grow grass over septic tank?

Grass Benefits Grass planted over a septic drain field prevents soil erosion and improves the exchange of oxygen and the removal of soil moisture. Turfgrass is ideal for planting over a septic drain field because its roots aren’t likely to clog or damage the drain lines.

Can I build a deck over my 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.

How Far Can I Plant My Vegetable Garden From My Septic Lines?

Make sure you have an accurate schematic of your home’s septic system before you start digging in your backyard for a vegetable garden. Septic field contamination or damage might happen from planting a vegetable garden on top of a septic field, which is a costly and vital aspect of your home’s infrastructure. When it comes to vegetable gardens and septic fields, there are no set distance requirements. However, keeping your vegetable garden 10 to 20 feet beyond the boundary of your sewage system’s drainage field is a good bet for clean vegetables and an efficient septic system.

Get the Dirt on Septic Systems

The majority of septic systems are comprised of an underground tank that collects solids and perforated drainage pipes – generally four – that are placed from six to eighteen inches deep in gravel-filled trenches to aid in the disbursement of wastewater into the soil. The trenches can be 18 to 36 inches wide, 8 to 10 feet apart, and up to 100 feet long. They can also be 18 to 36 inches deep. The quantity and duration of these depend on the number of individuals that live in your family. The depth of the water might vary depending on the geology and terrain of the area.

Waste Not, Want Not

Agricultural waste that seeps into the soil in your drainage field has the potential to be drawn up into the roots of vegetable crops. Among the contaminants are infections that are transmitted through humans, such as viruses and bacteria such as E. coli, which you may consume. When it comes to root crops and low-growing greens, transfer is particularly dangerous since dirt can get on the leaves and spray up after watering or raining.

Digging In

In order to place plants and add soil amendments into vegetable gardens, constant foot movement, digging, and rototilling are required, all of which might cause disturbance to the septic field and potentially damage the pipes. Some vegetable plants have roots that can reach into drainage trenches, particularly those that are less than 1 foot below the soil surface, and cause the pipes to become clogged and ineffective.

Reducing Danger

In order to put plants and integrate soil amendments into vegetable gardens, they require constant foot traffic, digging, and rototilling, all of which can cause disruption to the septic field and even damage the pipes. Drainage trenches, particularly those that are less than 1 foot below the soil surface, can be clogged by the roots of various vegetable plants, causing the pipes to fail to operate properly.

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?

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 occasionally 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 underground water sources.

It is possible that you may have to design your land use around the presence of a septic system on your property.

This is especially true in the case of veggie gardens.

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:  How To Install A Septic Tank And Drain Field In Sand? (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.

  1. Your Septic System, by John M.
  2. (Orono: University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 2002, 2010).
  3. There is no responsibility taken for any difficulties that may arise as a result of the usage of the products or services listed.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Greenery such as grass is the most appropriate plant to grow on top of septic system disposal fields and fill expansions. Flowers may also be effective, but only if you avoid rototilling the soil and excessively watering the plants throughout the growing season. Aerial plantings such as trees and shrubs with woody roots should not be used on disposal fields or fill expansions because the roots might choke pipes and other equipment on the disposal site. Using bark mulch to cover the bare soil of your disposal field is an appropriate choice if you do not want flora to develop on top of your field.

  1. Your Septic System, Bulletin 7080, by John M.
  2. (Orono: University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 2002, 2010).
  3. Originally published in the Bangor Daily News on March 26, 2012 by Matt Wickenheiser The information contained in this publication is solely intended for educational purposes only.
  4. Nothing in this article is an endorsement of any products or companies, and nothing in this article is a critique of any products or companies that are not specifically mentioned.
  5. Concerning non-discrimination regulations, the following individual has been appointed to respond to questions: University of Maine Equal Opportunity Director Sarah E.

Harebo, 101 North Stevens Hall, Orono, ME04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711, University of Maine Equal Opportunity Director Sarah E. Harebo, University of Maine Equal Opportunity Director (Maine Relay System).

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. It is not suggested to grow vegetables over a leach field.

About Septic Systems

A septic leach field (drainfield) can be planted over if the process is carried out properly. It is possible that the leach field will be your sole option for landscaping if you have little garden area on your home. Short-rooted plants should be planted over the drainage region to assist in removing excess moisture and nutrients from the soil and to prevent erosion from taking place. A range of different herbaceous perennials, annuals, and groundcovers can be safely and efficiently planted in place of turf grass, which is the most common choice.

Planting Considerations

A septic leach field (drainfield) can be planted over if the process is done with care. If you just have a little amount of ground on which to cultivate, the leach field may be the only option for you. It is advisable to grow shallow-rooted plants over the drainage region since they assist in removing excess moisture and nutrients from the soil as well as reducing erosion. In addition to turf grass, a variety of herbaceous perennials, annuals, and ground coverings can be planted in a safe and effective manner.

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

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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.
See also:  What Kills The Bacteria In A Septic Tank? (Solution)

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

Planting huge, rapidly growing trees is often discouraged. However, some of the greatest offenders are trees and shrubs with root systems that are aggressively seeking out sources of water, which makes them particularly difficult to control. They are not picky about the water source from which they draw their water, which means the pipes in your septic tank drain field are completely fair game. Weeping willow trees are a well-known example of this. There are several trees and bushes to avoid, however the following are only a few examples:

  • 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.

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.

  • Root crops should not be planted over drain lines. It is possible that leafy vegetables will be polluted by rain splashing soil onto the plant
  • Thus, either mulch them to prevent splashing or avoid growing them. Fruit-bearing crops are most likely safe
  • Vegetables that grow on vines, such as cucumbers or tomatoes, should be trained onto a support so that the fruit is not on the ground. Before consuming any garden produce, be sure it has been well cleaned. It is not recommended to build raised beds over the field because they may interfere with the evaporation of moisture.

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.

Gardening tips for septic tank owners

Planting a kitchen garden or landscaping your yard is one of the most straightforward methods to improve the appearance of your home’s curb appeal. However, if you possess a septic tank, you are not permitted to engage in any type of gardening. Some plants have root systems that are invasive and can cause significant harm to the septic system. Septic tank and drain field roots can penetrate and cause catastrophic damage to the system if they are not properly maintained. Because of this, you must create a landscape plan that is compatible with the septic tank and drain field.

Plan any future gardening ahead of time if you have a septic tank

Probably the most essential gardening advice is to plan ahead of time. Preparing for any future gardening endeavors ahead of time will save you a great deal of time and frustration in the long run. Consider any future building projects you may have in mind — for example, do you want to build a shed, a deck, or a patio? In addition to altering the shape of your garden, any future building might have far-reaching effects for the operation of your septic tank. Septic tanks and drain field areas should be clear of sprinkler lines, concrete patios, sheds, sandboxes, and swing sets, among other things.

  1. Also, keep in mind that you must have a designated space set aside in case you need to repair your septic tank or drain field in the future for whatever reason.
  2. Planning ahead also requires labeling components in order to make them more accessible in the future.
  3. You may use a tiered planter box to conceal these ports because they are lightweight and can be moved quickly to get access to the ports.
  4. Use birdbaths and feeders, potted plants, sundials, lawn decorations, and sculptures to make it simpler to find the ports when it’s time to do routine maintenance or when it’s time to pump the water.
  5. The risers can be disguised in the manner described above after they have been placed.

Soil and water management tips

This gardening advice will assist you in preventing your system from being hydraulically overloaded. When planning your garden, keep in mind that any downspouts or surface water runoff should be directed away from the septic tank or drain field. The septic system is designed to handle just the wastewater generated by the residence, and any surplus water can produce hydraulic overload, which is one of the leading reasons of septic system failure. It is important to remember to install an irrigation system on your property at least 10 feet away from the border of your septic system when you are installing one.

Moving as little as possible over the septic system will assist to lessen the likelihood of soil compaction.

The efficacy of aerobic bacteria, which aid in the treatment of wastewater in the drainfield, is reduced as a result of this.

If transporting heavy machinery is unavoidable, make sure to utilize a tracking board to ensure that the weight is distributed properly throughout the unit.

Large animals, in addition to heavy machinery and human activity, can contribute to soil compaction by burying themselves in the ground. As a result, you should not allow animals to graze on the drainfield.

Gardening tips for the kitchen garden

Use this gardening trick to keep your system from being overloaded hydraulically. Make a point of directing any downspout or surface water runoff away from the septic tank or drain field location while planning your garden layout. The septic system is designed to manage just the wastewater generated by the residence, and any surplus water might result in hydraulic overload, which is one of the leading reasons of septic system malfunction. It is important to remember to install an irrigation system on your property at least 10 feet away from the border of your septic system when you are constructing one.

  • Moving as little as possible over the septic system will assist to lessen the likelihood of soil compaction in the surrounding area.
  • The efficacy of aerobic bacteria, which aid in the treatment of wastewater in the drainfield, is reduced as a result of this reduction in their activity.
  • The use of a tracking board to spread the weight of heavy machinery is recommended if moving heavy gear cannot be avoided at all costs.
  • Animals should not be allowed to graze on the drainfield as a result.

Landscaping tips for septic tank owners

It is recommended that grass be the sole plant to grow over the drainfield or over the septic tank to avoid clogging the system. This is due to the fact that grass has a shallow root structure and that its roots are not as invasive as the roots of certain plants. Because it helps to absorb any surplus moisture and nutrients from the soil, grass is actually beneficial to the septic system. This helps to increase the efficiency of the septic system overall. Grass is extremely durable and will, as a result, provide excellent cover throughout the year.

The unmowed meadow is a natural-looking option that may be achieved by utilizing a meadow mix that includes native grasses and some shallow-rooting flowers, for example.

What to avoid planting in your garden if you have a septic tank

In order to avoid clogging drainfields or septic tanks, it is recommended that only grass be grown over them. Due to the fact that grass has a shallow root structure, its roots are not as invasive as the roots of certain plants. Because it helps to absorb any surplus moisture and nutrients from the soil, grass is really beneficial to the septic system. This helps to enhance the efficiency of the septic system, which is good for everyone! In addition, because grass is extremely durable, it may be used to offer excellent cover throughout the year.

Decorative grasses can also be planted. If you prefer a more natural appearance, go for an unmowed meadow, which you can create by choosing a meadow mix that includes native grasses and some shallow-rooted flowers.

  • Plants such as vines (including wisteria), morning glory, bittersweet, hops, campsie, woody vines, native clematis, and large-scale pond grasses that thrive in water Anything that has a complex roots structure, such as cedars or even shrubs, is considered a cedar.

Planting trees in close proximity to the sewage tank is not recommended. This is due to the fact that trees have the ability to quickly extend their roots underground. However, if your property is large enough, you may be able to plant some trees away from the septic tank location, but only trees with a vertical root system should be used in this situation. Also, avoid trees that are water-loving, such as the birch, silver Marple, willows, beech, elm, linden, and walnut, as well as other conifers.

Conclusion

You may easily destroy your septic system by practicing bad landscaping habits and making other irresponsible land-use decisions, for example. To be sure, some of the difficulty stems from the fact that landscape designers frequently arrive on the scene too late in the game. Working with what you have, on the other hand, may help you create beautiful landscaping results without causing any damage to your septic system. Simply following the above-mentioned gardening advice will ensure that your system remains healthy for a longer period of time while simultaneously improving the appearance of your house.

See also:  How To Find My Septic Tank Leech Field System? (Question)

Safe Plants to Grow Over Septic Tanks & Drain Fields

When some trees and bushes are planted near septic tanks and drain fields, their vigorous roots can cause harm to the tanks and drain fields. Find out which plants are the most dangerous to cultivate near a septic system and which ones are the safest.

Plants Safe to Grow Over Septic Tanks and Drain Fields

Keep in mind that you should not become so concerned about the possibility of root damage to septic systems that you avoid planting in these places completely. 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. Growing tall fescue grass, Kentucky bluegrass, or other lawn grass over that section of earth should be the bare minimum solution to the problem.

Plants such as creeping Charlie, stonecrop, and jewelweed will proliferate and cover a septic area effectively.

Because of their thin root systems, they are less prone to infiltrate and destroy the subsurface infrastructure.

It goes without saying that there are several instances of such plants, so you will want to limit down your options.

  • If the location is sunny, try planting one of these 10 great perennials for sunny locations: However, if the location does not receive much sunlight, you will most likely be pleased with these shadow garden plants. Septic tank drain fields have soil that is sometimes wetter than usual, sometimes saltier than average, and sometimes a combination of the two. Make sure to cover both bases with perennials that can withstand both damp soils and salt, such as bee balm, hollyhocks, and wild violets. When it comes to plants growing over septic systems, deer will not turn their noses up at them
  • Therefore, if you have a problem with this large pest eating your plants in your area, you will want to consider deer-resistant perennials and deer-resistant ground covers, as well as spring bulbs and ornamental grasses that deer do not eat

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 trees and bushes around septic tank drain fields if you must plant trees and plants. The Spruce is an example of a shallow-rooted tree or shrub. K. Dave’s / K. Dave

The Worst Plants to Grow Over Septic Systems

Planting huge, fast-growing trees is often discouraged. However, some of the greatest offenders are trees and shrubs with root systems that are aggressively seeking out sources of water, which makes them particularly difficult to control. They are not picky about the water source from which they draw their water, which means the pipes in your septic tank drain field are completely fair game. Weeping willow trees are a well-known example of this. There are several trees and bushes to avoid, however the following are only a few examples: If you have avoided planting any of the most dangerous plants right over your septic tank drain field, you should still be concerned about the consequences.

Any huge, mature trees that may be growing in close proximity to your septic system continue to pose a threat.

As a result, a mature specimen 50 feet tall should be at least 50 feet distant from the viewer.

In the event that this is not practicable, root barriers can be installed to try to prevent tree roots from accessing your septic drain field (similar to the bamboo barriers used incontrolling invasive bamboo). The Spruce Tree K. Dave’s / K. Dave

The Basics of How Septic Systems Work

In general, avoid planting huge, fast-growing trees in your landscape. Aside from that, trees and shrubs with active root systems are among the greatest offenders, since they seek out and use water at an alarming rate. Their preference for the water supply they use means that the pipes in your septic tank’s drain field are completely fair game for them. Among the most well-known examples are weeping willow trees. Many trees and bushes should be avoided, however the following are only a few examples: No matter how careful you are with your landscaping, you should avoid planting any of the most troublesome plants immediately over your septic tank’s drain field.

Existing huge and mature trees that may be growing anywhere near your septic system continue to pose a threat.

To put it another way, a mature specimen that is 50 feet tall should be at least 50 feet away from you.

An example of this would be the Spruce K.

Planning a Septic Field Garden

When it comes to planting near septic tanks, the drain field pipes are the most important thing to consider. If roots penetrate the perforations and clog the system, it is best to remove them immediately. All of the components of this meticulously calibrated system must be in good working order, or else the consequence is a complete disaster (and a costly one). While annual flowers such as impatiens are shallow-rooted enough to be used as septic-field plants, the fact that they must be replanted every year makes them less than ideal for this purpose.

If you are digging in a drain field, you should always wear gloves to protect your hands.

All of the following are terrible ideas because they may interfere with the regular evaporation process, which is responsible for removing excess moisture from the environment:

  • Increasing the amount of soil in the region Using excessive amounts of mulch
  • Providing more water to the plants than is strictly necessary

safe distance for garden from septic field

Increasing the amount of soil available; Excessive use of mulching exceeding the very minimum watering requirements for the plants

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.

  1. 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.
  2. These are the start of two very distinct inquiries.
  3. Yes.
  4. No.
  5. 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.
  6. However, vegetable gardens and flower gardens are two whole different things.
  7. 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?

  • 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.
  • 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 utilize.
  • There is a distinction between vegetable and flower gardens.
  • 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!
  • 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.

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.

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