What can you plant on top of and around the septic system?


This fall we had to replace our septic system. We’re left with a dramatically different backyard and a gardening challenge. What can I plant on top of and around this system? The sun exposure is at times in direct sun for several hours.


Lynne M. Holland, Horticulture and Social Media Professional

What can be planted on a septic field is a question that you should ask from different perspectives.

First, what do you like to look at?  Although trees and vegetables should not be planted on a septic field,  you could have a very nice ornamental garden including shallow-rooted sub-shrubs, ornamental grasses, annuals and perennials.  This article from the Clemson South Carolina Extension has really good information.  They are in a different zone than we are but the principles remain the same.

One last suggestion, if you are going plant over the tank are as well, keep it very light planting and always mark the tank cover in some way (like an ornament rock or garden gnome) so it is easy to find.  If work has to be done in the future on the tank it is best if that area is lightly planted and mulched so the disturbance isn’t too hard to repair.