What type hedge or something would you suggest for an area that would be running above and close to a septic tank? I want to cover the area where I ran my downspouts for my guttering. The soil is sandy and the area gets sun most of the day.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Ronald: There are many factors to consider when deciding what to plant above a buried septic tank. I am assuming that the space in question does not include your drainfield. The main consideration is going to be the root system of the plants and how deep they are expected to grow in comparison with the depth of the tank/lines. Any plant material that has an extensive root system should be avoided. Shallow-rooted herbaceous plants that will not invade the lines of the septic tank are essential in preventing damage. This means you do not want to plant any large trees, especially maples, willows, or poplars. Native grasses and wildflowers would be a good choice since you are dealing with a space that gets a good amount of sunlight. Shooting Star Nursery has a wet grassland seed mix or a wet prairie mix that has grasses as well as native wildflowers that would be a good choice. For more information, visit www.shootingstarnursery.com/grasseed.html. Groundcovers such as ivy or vinca would also work, but it sounds like you want something a bit taller. Boxwoods and smaller hollies are evergreens that do not have an extensive root system. Do not use a tiller when planting in this space. Hand digging would be best, or if you want to plant seed and wait for it to grow this would be ideal. Otherwise, be very careful when digging. Do not plant any edible crops in this space.