En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Windbreak for Eastern Kansas

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

Sunday - July 17, 2011

From: Vassar, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Septic Systems, Trees
Title: Windbreak for Eastern Kansas
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I need to plant a fast growing windbreak near my lateral lines for a septic tank. We obviously can't have anything that would interfere with the laterals but I desperately need a North wind break. We are on a hill in eastern Kansas.

ANSWER:

I hope you have space to work with upwind from your laterals!    First of all, let me reference a previous Mr Smarty Plants answer that has some great references for the “what, when, where, and why” of windbreaks. These cover the basic reasons for planting windbreaks, their design, and plant selection.

 I also found some similar information directly from the Kansas Forest Service.  This publication covers windbreak evergreens and this one is a larger scale publication that covers a lot of design and also recommends trees. 

Mr Smarty Plants also has a set of recommended plants for Kansas.  This can be sorted, so you can choose trees of a good size and/or tall shrubs and get a list of plants to consider.  I’d be looking for plants that the Wildflower Center recommends which are also on the Kansas Forest Service list.   Reasonable choices that do appear on both lists include Populus deltoides (Eastern cottonwood), Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash) and Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry).  Pay attention to the range and characteristics of the species; that will help you make choices that will do well on your property.

Now, you also noted that these will be close to your septic system.  If you have enough space to plant them a reasonable distance away, then you will be just fine.  I found discussions of root systems on  Wikipedia and in a publication from Colorado State.  They give that roots can extend 3-4 times the width of the drip line of a tree and can be near 7 feet in depth.  That sounds uncomfortably close to where a lateral may be to me.  Consider this in your design of your windbreak and have larger trees farther out and small trees or shrubs closer in and hopefully your design will be OK!

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Green ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

More Septic Systems Questions

Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
May 20, 2013 - Our church has 5year old blue rug juniper, a crape myrtle and two shrubs I can't identify planted over the septic tank which is surrounded with concrete and asphalt. I am afraid these will cause a pr...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to replace St. Augustine over septic area
November 02, 2009 - Hi. We're new to Orlando, FL and need some help with plants that would be suitable to grow over our septic field. It's on the west side of the house, full sun. We live in a subdivision that r...
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

Wildflowers and grasses for a septic field in Maine
November 18, 2010 - 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 ...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly plants for area over septic system drainfield
July 22, 2010 - I live in Michigan and have purchased a house with a septic system. I hate to mow grass AND to waste all that area over the drain field with mere turf. I also enjoy attracting butterflies. what are...
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