Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 02, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Native groundcover plants for septic drain field
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

I'd like to plant wildflowers over my newly installed septic drain field, but am told they should not have deep root systems. What would you suggest?

ANSWER:

The best kinds of plants that perform well over a septic drain field are a mix of native grasses, annual wildflowers and a limited number of perennial herbaceous plants with shallow root structures. For an initial planting, I suggest warm season perennial grasses that will establish fairly quickly, providing cover that will compete with invasive primary successional plants, as well as aid in erosion prevention. Sow a mix of regionally appropriate annual/perennial wildflower seed in mid-Fall for Spring blooms. Also, try sowing late successional native plant seed that will attain height when in bloom to add texture and color variety as your native grasses grow long during the summer.
 

More Septic Systems Questions

Desert Willow Roots from Lubbock, TX
September 18, 2014 - I have a very, very happy Desert Willow that has grown larger than we expected and is probably too close to the house. Do I need to worry about a cracked foundation or pipe problems? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Texas mountain laurel roots and septic systems
February 12, 2009 - I want to plant a Texas Mountain Laurel tree in our RV Resort. The park must approve new plantings, and they are concerned about any root system that might endanger their septic systems or pipes. They...
view the full question and answer

Tree roots vs. leach field in Heber Springs AR
February 03, 2010 - We need shade in front of our west facing house; however, our septic system and leach field are there also. What kind of fast growing trees can we plant that won't ruin our septic system?
view the full question and answer

Will a 10-ft. yaupon damage my septic lines in Texas Hill Country?
July 18, 2009 - A 10 foot yaupon is growing in my Texas hill country septic field. The field pipe is 5 feet below the surface. Should I be concerned about the roots invading the pipes? What would be the best way to r...
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress knees in leachfield from Ventura CA
March 20, 2013 - Hey, I planted a seedling 20+ years ago which has turned out to be a 40'bald cypress that's now 40'. I'm a native southerner and would hate to cut it down but it's putting up knees in my septic s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.