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Looking around their yards, many homeowners wonder whether they can plant a garden over their septic drainfield. After all, it’s a wide-open space that often gets full sun throughout the day. But unfortunately, as tempting as it may be, gardening over your septic drainfield is not a good idea. In fact, septic owners need to be pretty careful about what they plant over the drainfield, gardening aside. Read on to discover the reasons gardening over a drainfield is not recommended and to discover what can—and can’t—be planted safely instead. 

Garden over Drainfield?

We understand the appeal of transforming the lawn above your drainfield into a lush garden, but unfortunately, growing food over the drainfield is never a good idea for a handful of reasons. While a properly functioning septic system won’t necessarily contaminate the crops grown above the drainfield, there is no way to guarantee the soil (and your garden) is not contaminated. Unfortunately, with septic systems—even properly maintained septic systems—you don’t know there’s a problem until you know there’s a problem. Something breaks or malfunctions, and you don’t really notice until wastewater is backing up into your house or the drainfield is saturated with effluent. You don’t want illness from eating contaminated produce to be your signal that your septic system isn’t functioning correctly. 

In addition to the potential contamination from pathogens, crops grown above your drainfield may also be exposed to household chemicals that are still present in effluent before it filters through the drainfield. Many of these are not safe for your septic system, let alone safe for human consumption. 

What Can You Plant Over the Drainfield?

Here’s the good news: landscaping with certain types of plants over your drainfield is safe and can actually help your septic system. Shallow-rooted plants, like perennials and some grasses, remove excess moisture and nutrients from the soil (especially phosphate and nitrate, both of which are commonly found in effluent and which contribute to algae growth in freshwater bodies). Their shallow roots also hold the soil in place during heavy rains, which helps guard against erosion. Turf grasses are the standard choice. Be careful not to plant tall grasses above your drainfield, as these have exceptionally deep and invasive roots. Perennials, annuals, and groundcover can safely be planted above your drainfield. 

Got-a-Go  is Your Trusted Service Provider!

When it comes time to service your septic system, you can rely on Got-a-Go  to deliver exceptional customer service as we perform routine or emergency septic care. We are Northern Kentucky’s septic pumping and service company. Contact us today to schedule your next service visit! 

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