Landscaping And Your Septic System

Keeping your septic tank healthy means taking your landscaping in consideration. Different varieties of plant life may look great but get in the way of proper septic tank function. To avoid these issues, you need to plan your planting carefully.

Tree Roots

Your trees may have been in place long before your current septic tank was installed. Of course, trees keep growing, and tree roots that were no problem ten years ago may be a big problem now. The walls of your septic tank are hard to pierce, but tree roots are drawn to water. They will seek out the sewer pipes and may find their way inside if there is a weak spot. Once they are in your pipes, they can have a disastrous effect on your entire system, causing leaks and clogs. Once this happens, you will have to have serious plumbing repairs and possible pipe replacement.

You can help prevent this problem by planting new trees far from the pipe and drainage area. Also, you can thoroughly water and fertilize right by each tree. That way, the trees roots will be less likely to go in search of water and nutrition elsewhere.


Proper drainage of greywater requires that your drainfield remain uncompacted. You should never add soil to the area since your septic tank professionals carefully calculated the soil levels when they installed your tank. You can certainly grow plants above the drainfield, but you need to keep several things in mind. The plants' roots should be shallow so as not to interfere with the system. Some people choose natural, decorative grasses for this purpose. You can also find perennials that will function well in this area, including some bulbs. If you want low-maintenance color, sow some wildflower seeds. Experts say you should never attempt to plant a vegetable garden in that area. You should also direct the flow of yard traffic away from the tank and the drainfield.

Before you add plants of any kind to your yard, you need to consider the health of your septic system. A new tree might look great in your yard, but if it's too close to the septic area, you are just asking for root trouble. Anything that can clog up your pipes or tramp down the soil there should be avoided. Fortunately, you can still make this area look appealing if you choose the right kind of plants. If your trees or plants do damage your septic tank, call a professional to help you figure out the best fix for the problem.