Planting Over a Septic System

Q: Any suggestions what we might plant over septic field to add some interest to the blank area? It gets filtered sun.

A: Trees and shrubs are risky to plant over or near a drain field. Their roots penetrate more deeply than grasses and flowers. Once their roots find the constant source of moisture and nutrients that a septic pipe affords, the roots will invade the pipe.

The best place to plant a tree is near the end of a line, where it is drier and less attractive to root growth. If you insist on planting a shrub over the drain field, the ones that have fibrous roots, such as holly, boxwood, azalea and rhododendron would not be likely to invade pipes. Even a small tree, such as dogwood or dwarf Japanese maple could be considered. Here are other choices to think about:

NOT RECOMMENDED NEAR DRAIN FIELDS

Beech
Elm
Poplar
Red maple
Silver maple
Willow
Pine
Oak

BETTER CHOICES TO PLANT NEAR DRAIN FIELDS

Flowering cherry
Crabapple
Dogwood
Hemlock
Sourwood
Crape myrtle
Black gum
Goldenrain tree

ALL FLOWERS WOULD BE FINE TO PLANT.

See Plantings For Septic Fields