If you want extra space to show your lawn a little landscaping TLC, the area near your drain field might seem perfect. Drain field landscaping is possible. However, it can be challenging and problematic without proper preparation. Here’s everything you need to know about landscaping near your drain field.
What is the purpose of a septic drain field?
First things first: what does your septic drain field do? Your drain field performs the final treatment of your household wastewater and is crucial to the process.
When you use water, it goes down the drain and into your septic tank. There, liquids separate from the solids and are treated using natural bacteria. The treated fluid flows from the tank through drain lines in the ground. This wastewater gradually works out of the lines and into the drain field’s soil. The soil acts as a filter and second treatment of the wastewater.
For this reason, it is essential to keep the area near the field open, clean, and free from heavy traffic. It is also critical that the underground pipes are accessible and safe from roots and other intrusions. However, if you are adamant about planting a garden over your drain field, here’s what you need to know!
Can you landscape near a drain field?
As mentioned, it is dangerous to landscape over and near your drain field, but there are preventative measures you can take to ensure the process runs smoothly. For example, if you are planting new trees, avoid planting them too close or planting species with fast-growing roots (such as willow and birch trees).
The key to planting trees near a drain field is to avoid the route of the pipes strategically. If you are still determining the layout, you can have a plumber map it for you. Using a little foresight can save you a lot of regrets.
Is it safe to plant a garden near the drain field?
Landscaping plants with shallow roots are one thing, but most experts advise using something other than your septic field for your food garden. Fruits and vegetables grown from septic water are less safe than those produced from untreated water. Heavy clay soil has fewer problems, but sandy soils can sometimes let bacterial contaminants leach into the surrounding area.
If you have no other place for your garden, then you can plant as long as you keep these things in mind:
- Avoid planting root crops like potatoes or carrots over the drain lines.
- Leafy vegetables such as lettuce or spinach can become contaminated by runoff or splashing during a rainstorm.
- Grow fruiting crops like tomatoes and cucumbers on a trellis so the fruit does not touch the ground.
- Thoroughly wash everything before you eat it.
- Refrain from growing your vegetables in raised beds over the field. Raised beds prevent the evaporation needed to keep the drain field working correctly.
How to Eliminate Roots in Your Septic System
If something goes wrong with your landscaping and roots infiltrate your system, you must address it ASAP! Experts debate the use of root killers. For example, while root killers can temporarily kill or inhibit the growth of existing roots within the pipes, they do not prevent new roots from growing in the future. Regular maintenance and preventive measures such as pruning may be necessary to address the underlying cause of root intrusion.
Manual mechanical removal is likely necessary if the roots have already penetrated your septic pipes. The plumber will insert a bladed, rotating “root clearing tool” into the lines and shear the roots away from the pipes. This process is followed by chemical treatment and is very effective in unblocking your pipes.
Again, the possibility remains that the roots will eventually rework themselves back into the pipes. Trees and septic systems cannot stay close neighbors indefinitely.
Who should you call for septic issues?
Norway Septic Inc. is a service-oriented company that provides excellent septic tank cleaning and pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area. We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. Call us if you suspect problems with your septic system or need septic replacement parts like septic filters. With over 40 years of experience, we know septic systems and can handle just about any septic emergency.