Planting trees next to a septic system can cause a lot of damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. Certain types of trees have deep-growing roots that can grow into your system, causing cracks in its tank or pipes. But if you’re careful, there are certain trees you can plant near it without causing damage. You just have to know which ones to use and where to put them.
How can tree roots damage a septic system?
A septic system is composed of two main parts: the septic tank, the drainfield, and the soil. The septic tank itself (or the holding tank) is usually made of heavy and durable materials that are hard for anything to penetrate. But tree roots are a much bigger threat in the drainfield, or leach field, as it is often called. The leach field is made up of PVC pipes laid out in trenches filled with crushed rocks or gravel. This is where tree roots tend to go to look for moisture, and it’s possible for roots to crack, crush, or clog these pipes.
How to plant trees near a septic system
How close you can plant a tree to a septic system depends on the types of tree. Some trees grow strong and deep, while others are shallow and thin. However, a good rule of thumb is to plant the tree as many feet away from your septic system as the height it should reach when it matures. And it’s best to add even a few feet on after that. Tree roots tend to grow in direct proportion with the tree’s height. So, if you’re not sure about how tall it should get, talk to your local greenhouse for advice.
What types of trees can you plant near septic systems?
If you follow the general guidelines and plant them far enough away, almost any tree is safe to plant. However, if the only place you can plant them is closer to the system, then you need to stick to some of the safest choices. This means planting trees and other plants with shallow roots. Some examples of these are weeping willows, maple trees, oak trees, and ash trees.
What trees are unsafe for septic systems?
In order to keep from damaging your septic system, you should avoid large trees that grow quickly, or shrubs with complicated root systems. Some examples of these include elm trees, Japanese willow shrubs, poplar trees, aspens, walnut trees, and birch trees. You should also avoid planting anything near a septic system that you plan to consume. Any vegetation grown around the drainfield of a septic system will likely contain harmful bacteria.
What other plants are safe to plant near septic systems?
Some plants are actually good for septic systems and the area around them. They can absorb some of the excess moisture from the ground that might cause erosion in the tank. Most species of grasses are good to plant there, as it’s not good to have bare ground above the tank. You can also plant perennials and groundcovers, which don’t have deep root systems that can easily clog any of the pipes.
Most importantly, check with a professional plumbing company like Jim Dandy Sewer before planting anything too closely to your septic system. This is especially advisable if you’re not sure exactly where the components of your system are located. An expert can help you decide which areas to avoid and how far away you need to plant your trees. You’ll also need to contact them immediately if you suspect some mature tree roots have found their way into your system’s drain field. Septic system damage is not a situation that can wait.