Planting a septic drain field is generally a good idea. The landscaping will improve the aesthetics of your compound and reduce soil erosion. However, you shouldn't just plant anything near the septic system. There are health concerns to think about, and the wrong plants may also damage the system. With those concerns in mind, here are four precautions to take before planting in a septic drain field:

Plants That Require Too Much Water

All plants need water, but some more than others. Avoid those that require too much water when choosing plants for your septic mound. As a rule, exotic plants require more water than native species. Annual plants also tend to require much water because they have to bloom within a short time. Such plants may extend their roots into your septic system, which may cause damage or leakage of the system.

Also, plants that require too much water may require irrigation to thrive on your septic mound. Unfortunately, irrigating the mound is a bad idea since you may waterlog it and interfere with its function of removing contaminants from the septic wastes.


The best plants to use on the septic mound are those that don't have extensive or deep roots. Deep roots may damage your septic system. This requirement rules out most trees. The best plants to use are short shrubs, flowers, and grasses whose roots barely extend into the ground.

Edible Plants

Sewer effluent contains dangerous disease-causing microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Planting edible plants, such as vegetables, on the mound is, therefore, a bad idea. The plants leaves, roots or fruits may become contaminated with the germs and cause diseases. It's best to restrict yourself to aesthetic plants for this section of your landscape.

Plants That Require Extensive Maintenance

Lastly, you should also avoid plants that require constant or extensive maintenance practices. You should not have to prune, weed, or mow the plants regularly. Such maintenance practices compact the soil on or around the septic system, which is bad. For example, regularly operating machinery such as mowers over the mound can compact the soils. Compacted soils don't filter liquid wastes as effectively as well-aerated soils.

Are you having problems with your septic drain field? Do you think the landscaping is to blame? Whatever is causing your septic drain field issues, you need professional diagnosis and repair before your system fails. Contact a service like B & B Drain Tech Inc for more help.