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

Thursday - November 18, 2010

From: Raymond, ME
Region: Northeast
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Wildflowers and grasses for a septic field in Maine
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Pants: I want to know the length of root systems for native Maine wildflowers that will be planted over a septic system drain field in Maine. Also any grasses you can think of. This area will be mowed only very occasionally, preferably annually. Part of the area has full sun, part is shaded. There is no irrigation, as it is not recommended for drain fields (tho I can water after seeding. Or if you can direct me to a website or reference book would be helpful.

ANSWER:

One of our Associates in Ontario, Wildflower Farm, has developed a wildflower seed mix especially for that purpose.  Their mix of 18 different perennial wildflowers and grasses are all North American native plants and will thrive in your environment.  They provide images and information about all the plants in the mix, but if you want more, you can "copy and paste" the plant names into our Native Plant Database.

They have a warehouse in Buffalo, NY and will ship anywhere in the US.

The wildflowers and grasses in their mix that are mostly native to the tallgrass prairie.  That means they are drought tolerant and relatively deep rooted, but not to the extent that they will negatively affect the effectiveness of your system. They will perform well under the conditions you describe.

 

More Septic Systems Questions

Using bamboo as a filter for odoras from a wastewater treatmen plant in College Station, TX
November 16, 2014 - My wastewater treatment plant is considering planting bamboo to create a filter for odors between it and the neighborhood. Are there any native plant alternatives that would function as well (if not b...
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 in sewer from Paragould AR
September 30, 2012 - I have beautiful pecan trees, an apple in the back yard, a pine on the west side of the house and pecan trees in the front yard. Two trees are interrupting my sewer systems (at least one in the back y...
view the full question and answer

Native groundcover plants for septic drain field
July 02, 2004 - 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?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for septic field
April 10, 2008 - We have a new Septic tank and field and I want to plant native seeds on the field instead of grass. Are there particular packages of seed that I can purchase or what else would you recommend?
view the full question and answer

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