En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 10, 2009

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Grass for septic drainfield in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently had a new septic drainfield installed. It is raised approximately 2-3 ft above ground level. I would like to plant it with a native grass/grasses that would attract wildlife yet still be attractive to look at since it is in our back yard. Would buffalo grass grow here or would it be too wet? I found a native mix for drainfields, but it grows to 5 feet and I really don't want anything that tall. It is currently planted with Cereal Rye, but soon will need something more permanent planted. Any suggestions? I really don't want to put St Augustine grass like our county recommends. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Thank you for not putting in St. Augustine, a non-native grass that is water and fertilizer greedy. On our Plant Database, Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is listed as having a "medium" water use, but drought tolerant. We know that it turns brown and becomes dormant when it is too dry. It does need well drained soil, but if your drainfields are raised, that should take care of that problem. We think that not only will the buffalograss survive the extra moisture, but it will thrive on it.  It ordinarily only grows about 5" tall, and can be mowed once or twice a year for appearance, if you so desire. Your only problem will be that, while the buffalograss is becoming established, you will have to be vigilant about weeds. And please don't use herbicides; pulling out weeds, especially before they go to seed, is the best procedure. Once established, buffalograss can hold its own and should be an excellent choice for your yard. You will get more information on planting and caring for buffalograss from our How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Septic Systems Questions

Plants for a Septic Field in NC
August 14, 2013 - What kinds of low water plants can I plant over a new septic field in North Carolina? The area is part sun so I am concerned about having trouble getting grass started.
view the full question and answer

Plants for aerobic septic system in Houston
February 03, 2011 - My husband and I would like to plants some trees and shrubs, but we have an aerobic system taking up most of the yard :( Can you recommend any trees that won't hurt that? Also shrubs for our weath...
view the full question and answer

Appropriate plants for septic field from Raymore MO
September 15, 2011 - Is it practical to plant coneflower, garden phlox, etc. on a septic drain field?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for leach field in Maine
October 31, 2010 - I am looking for a wildflower mix that would suitable to plant over a leach field. What plants should I look to avoid?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a septic field in Rogers AR
June 13, 2011 - I live in Rogers Arkansas (northwest corner of the state). My home sits in a holler. My back and side yard is almost totally lateral lines for a septic system. One section of my yard (it's fenced an...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center