planting on a drainfield

Asked July 22, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT

What is allowed/beneficial to plant on a septic mound system?

Sussex County Delaware

1 Response

Hi. Thank you for your question. Careful consideration should be given when considering plants near or on a septic system. Understanding how your own septic system works will help you as you consider what you would like to do in your yard. Factors you should think about include: depth of soil on the top of a septic system as well as the drain field, plants used should be tolerant of dry conditions, are low maintenance and do not have deep root systems, do not plant trees or shrubs (woody species) over soil treatment areas where roots can reach it (typical setback should be 20-50 feet for trees, 10 feet for shrubs), and never use plants that will be eaten in this area. Annuals will require planting and disturbance of the soil each year. This is not a practice encouraged with septic systems. You will want to minimize watering and fertilizer applications over the soil treatment area to maintain the soil’s ability to treat wastewater. Refer to these fact sheets for guidance in making your decision: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG6986.html http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-617/426-617.html Good luck.