creeping raspberry and septic drain fields

Asked April 13, 2017, 12:52 PM EDT

LOCATION: old sandy cutbank on Oregon coast; last disturbed ~5 yrs ago. Septic drain field at base of cutbank (gravel below sandy soil cap). CURRENT CONDITION: 6' cutbank very slowly revegetating naturally with evergreen huckleberry, Pacific rhododendron, various mosses, conifers (Sitka spruce, w. redcedar, etc.). Septic field topped by lawn. PROPOSAL: plant creeping raspberry on cut bank, as low maintenance ground cover. 1) Is there any concern with creeping raspberry roots impacting drain field? 2) Regular raspberries are quite aggressive in taking over new areas- how much of a concern would there be with creeping raspberry invading lawn? 3) Other recommendations for alternative ground cover that would be low maintenance and not spread into nearby forest/climb trees like ivy? Thanks - Von

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Hello:
I assume the creeping raspberry you mean is Rubus calycinoides, which is described in more detail in the link to the OSU Landscape Plant website below:

http://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/rubus-calycinoides

I can't say how much of an impact this would have on a drain field. It's a pretty shallow-rooted plant but it does spread. I would talk to a drain field contractor to see if there are limitations on the type of plant and root system to use around a drain field. That said I think it would be pretty easy to keep out of a lawn, and may not take much more than a mowing or two to knock it back. And if you are so inclined it would be a broadleaved weed growing in a grass lawn and there are lots of herbicides to take care of that. As for other groundcovers how about Salal (Gautheria shallon)? It's native and because it is also evergreen but far taller as well as being native would never become a weed in the forest.