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David Beaulieu

Plants Safer to Grow Around Septic Tanks

By February 4, 2013

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When we plant-lovers think about what's going on under our feet out in the yard, we tend to focus on plant roots and the soil that helps them thrive. It's a rather inconvenient truth, however, that septic tanks, water lines, etc. often also dwell down there, too. Sometimes, they live in a happy coexistence underground, but other times, tree root damage becomes an issue -- and who wants to have to deal with ruptured water lines or septic tank damage?

Discretion is the better part of valor (although I don't think that making unwise plant choices even counts as "valor," does it?). Learn what choices you have when it comes to plants for septic tank drain fields, so that you can plant wisely.

Steve Nix tackles this challenge in a couple of different ways. In his article on trees to avoid planting near water lines and septic tanks, he takes the more typical approach. On Page 2 of this article by About's Forestry Guide, some trees that are safer to plant near water lines and septic tanks are mentioned.

But in one of Steve's other pieces on the subject, he mentions another approach, pointing out that planting small, slow-growing trees near water lines and septic tanks is preferable to installing their larger, faster-growing counterparts. Pretty straightforward, right?

But Steve adds an alternative to this suggestion that one doesn't hear as frequently, counseling us to get used to the idea that we will simply have to remove the trees -- eventually. It's a notion that many would find odd at first glance, since we're not trained to think of trees as disposable. And while -- besides going against the grain -- the idea may sound expensive, I guarantee it's not as expensive as replacing a septic tank!

Related resource: Dwarf Trees

More: Review of Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations

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