How Far From Septic Tank For Garden? (Best solution)

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 much distance should be between a septic tank and well?

  • Common guidelines require at least 50′ clearance distance between a well and a septic system tank or 150′ between a well and a septic drainfield or leaching bed but you will see that different authorities may recommend different distances.

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

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 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.

Can you put raised garden beds over 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.

How close can you plant next to a septic field?

A good rule of thumb is to use the ultimate mature height of the selected tree as the minimum planting distance from the septic drainfield, then increase the distance. For example, if you are planting a crabapple, plant the tree at least 25 feet from the nearest drain line; 50 to 75 feet would be even better.

What can you plant on top of a septic tank?

Herbaceous plants, such as annuals, perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses are generally the best choices for use on a septic drain field. Ornamental grasses also offer the advantages of having a fibrous root system that holds soil in place, and providing year-round cover.

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.

How close to a septic field can you plant fruit trees?

Inspectapedia recommends planting trees at least as far away from a septic system as the maximum height of the mature tree. However, the nutrients from the septic leakage could influence tree roots to grow farther than you’d expect. To get around this, add 25 percent more distance.

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.

How deep is a leach field?

A standard leach line is considered to be three (3) feet wide and three (3) feet deep with a length as required.

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.

  1. To identify the gravel drain field, use a metal rod and gently press it into the earth to probe the area around it.
  2. Make your way out of the home and away from the house.
  3. Take a 10-foot measurement from the outside boundary of the leach field.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 for more information on the University of Maine Extension programs and services. More information about our publications and books may be found here. 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 ( 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:  How To Find County Records Of Septic Tank? (Solution found)

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).
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  • 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 for more information.
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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

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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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

How far should a garden be from a septic tank?

Fruits and vegetables should be planted at least 10 feet away from an aseptic system or leach field, according to the University of California Small Farm Program, in order to minimize bacterial contamination of the crop. Planting yoursepticfield is typically seen as a nice idea, but it is not the best location for a vegetable garden. Planting root crops above drain lines is not recommended. It is possible that leafy vegetables will be polluted by rain splashing soil onto the plant; thus, either mulch them to prevent splashing or don’t grow them.

Listed below are some useful “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to gardening in a septic tank friendly manner:

  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

Also, how near can a garden be to a leach field before it becomes a problem? a distance of 10 feet When it comes to a septic tank, how much earth should be on top of it? level of soil backfill above the septic tank lid or the depth of the septic tank The height of the riser lid can vary from 0″ (which indicates that you should notice it) to a few inches (which indicates that the grass in this region may be dead) to 6-12″ or even more.

safe distance for garden from septic field

If anything in my initial response came off as condescending, please accept my apologies; nevertheless, please be assured that this was not my aim. Although human waste is used as fertilizer, it is most commonly found in Asian countries, as well as in the United States of America, where it is found in the form of processed sludge from sewage treatment plants (although the latter is still somewhat controversial, partly due to concerns about the very real health risks if it is not done correctly, and partly due to the “Ohhhh, gross!” factor).

According to the Institute of Natural Resources, the standard distance minimum for separation of any portion of a septic system from a private water well is 100 feet (may vary by locale; probably does).

I can’t imagine that a similar separation between the lines of a garden and the roots of plants would cause a problem (I have heard of instances where the separation was significantly less, with no apparent ill effects), but you might want to check with your local health department to see what they say.

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. The following are some crucial gardening suggestions to keep in mind when gardening as an owner of a septic tank.

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.

  • 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.
  • Planning ahead also requires labeling components in order to make them more accessible in the future.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The risers can be disguised in the manner described above after they have been placed.
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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

The placement of mulch, landscaping fabric, bark, or plastic over the septic system is a gardening advice that is sometimes forgotten. While doing so, you’ll be helping to limit air exchange while simultaneously retaining any surplus moisture. Compaction can happen from the addition of just a couple of inches extra soil across the drain field area, as a result of the loss in air circulation. As a result, you should avoid planting any plants that would need the use of a raised garden bed. In order to maintain a kitchen garden, it will be necessary to till the soil and water it frequently.

Hydraulic overload might also occur as a result of the watering of the garden.

The root vegetables have the potential to penetrate the soil into the drain field, where they will get polluted, whereas the leaf vegetables have the potential to become contaminated from the soil when it splashes on the leaves when watering is taking place.

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

Generally speaking, any plant that is thirsty or that has deep roots should not be planted near a septic system as a rule of thumb. In fact, if you are unsure about the plants you are considering utilizing, it is best to stick to the tried and true grass. Some plants, such as pachysandra and periwinkle, form a dense ground cover that is aggressive and can obstruct the evaporation process. Such plants should be avoided in the vicinity of a septic system. A cautious list of plants that should be avoided at all costs due to their invasive root systems is provided below.

  • 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.


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.

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

Septic systems are used to treat wastewater in rural regions that do not have access to sewer systems. An underground, waterproof container, the septic tank is where wastewater from your toilets, showers, sinks, and clothes washer is stored after it has been removed from your home via a pipe. Solids (sludge) and scum are separated from liquids in a septic tank, which is intended to do this. Solids sink to the bottom of the container. The slime rises to the top of the heap. The liquids create an intermediate layer between the scum and the sludge, separating them from the other two layers.

  • The introduction of more wastewater from the residence serves as a stimulus for their expulsion.
  • Upon discharge, liquids are channeled into a much bigger portion of the septic system known as the “drain field,” “leach field,” or “leach pit.” Typically, a drain field is composed of a number of perforated PVC pipes that are installed in subterranean trenches.
  • Drain field cloth can be used to protect dirt from getting into the holes.
  • “Percolation” is the term used to describe how wastewater moves through the earth.
  • The evaporation of excess moisture from the soil will take care of any excess moisture unless you (inadvertently) do something to hinder it.
  • The Spruce / written by 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.

See also:  What Size Should Septic Tank Be? (Question)

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

Contamination and Distance from Garden (homestead forum at permies)

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I might be able to assist you with this. For the avoidance of doubt, the septic tank is less of a worry than the leach field, which is where human waste should be exiting the system. However, as you point out, pipes might leak from time to time, so I would keep an eye out for both. I’m aware that a septic tank or leach field can be no more than 100 feet away from a well in this area. That is quite close, but drilled wells are also protected from ground run-off in the same way. Gardens, on the other hand, are not.

As a bigger farmer, I am required to have what is known as a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), which is a fancy term for indicating that I must plan where I will spread my animal feces and manure.

While you may surely move further away to be on the safe side, I ASSUME the authorities that generated these guidelines conducted some testing and were qualified to establish these as the bare minimal criteria for public safety.

If my response was helpful, I’m not sure if it was, but with animal manure at the very least, it is the USDA standard for set-back lengths.

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

6 Things to Know About Landscaping Around Your Septic Tank

You’re undoubtedly already aware that dumping some items into your sewage system, such as paint or grease, can cause harm to your septic tank. However, you may not be aware that certain gardening methods can actually cause harm to your septic system. In order to avoid unwittingly causing difficulties or damage to your septic tank, here are six things you should know regarding landscaping around your septic tank. 1. The location of the access point. It is OK to use landscaping to conceal the entry port to your septic tank; however, you must not totally conceal it.

  1. One option to conceal your access port without totally concealing it is to use a landscaping element such as a birdbath or any other fixed lawn decoration to mark out its position on the property.
  2. Characteristics of Vegetation that is Safe It is possible for some species of vegetation to grow above and around a septic tank without the risk of septic tank damage rising.
  3. You should also limit the vegetation that grows above your tank to plants that do not require a lot of water.
  4. In order to grow anything other than grass over your sewage tank, use perennials that are drought-resistant to the elements.
  5. Characteristics of Trees that Have the Potential to Be Destructive Large bushes or trees should not be planted anywhere near your septic tank under any circumstances.
  6. In the case of a 20-foot-tall tree, it is recommended that it be placed at least 20 feet away from the septic tank.
  7. Trees with actively growing roots can cause damage to septic tanks and pipelines, even if they are located a long distance away.


Grazing animals consume the protective vegetation that covers your drain field, exposing the components of your septic system to the elements.

There are a lot of methods you may use to keep livestock from grazing on your septic tank.

You may also apply animal repellents around your drain field, which deter animals by emitting unpleasant sounds or odors that they find uncomfortable.

Preventing vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Your landscaping should be planned and your yard should be put out in such a way that cars do not drive over the area where your septic tank is positioned.

Foot traffic, in addition to car traffic, can cause damage to a septic tank.

As an alternative, if possible, direct foot traffic away from the area.

The Positioning of Architectural Elements You could choose to include architectural elements into your landscaping, such as retaining walls, stone paths, or fire pits.

If you plan to incorporate architectural elements into your landscaping, be certain that these elements are located far away from your septic tank. Get in contact with Walters Environmental Services if you want to learn more about maintaining your septic tank in excellent working order.

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.


After persuading you to keep your garden away from the septic field, you’re probably wondering how close you can get to the edge without falling off. Keeping your fruit and vegetable plants at least 10 feet away from the outer perimeter septic system or leach field is the safest chance for avoiding contamination and avoiding damage to the septic system itself, which can be quite costly.

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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