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

Wednesday - March 20, 2013

From: Great Bend , KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Groundcovers, Septic Systems
Title: Dog wallowing in damp area in garden from Great Bend KS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I Have a wet area in my back yard that is close to my house. and off my patio there is a water hydrant,gas meter, electrical for my hot tub, my sprinkler valves and pump all there. My dog digs through the mulch in the summer to cool down; it drives me nuts. I need an idea for a ground cover that will stop his digging plus something that won't take over everything or a root that will grow though my gas line, electrical lines, water pump or valves.

ANSWER:

You apparently have two distinct problems to address.

1. Dog wallowing in damp spot and ruining plants.

2. Multiple utility systems that need protection from roots.

Much as we hate to admit it, plants are not the solution to every problem, not even native plants, which is all Mr. Smarty Plants will recommend. We are sure you don't want to get rid of the dog, or you would have already done so. There are no plants that can resist being dug up and wallowed in on a daily basis. If you could transplant something like a cactus or other succulent (of which there are 18 native to Kansas), they would not like that damp soil as they are all desert plants. And it would have to be large enough at the time of transplant to really discourage the dog, and therefore really tough to transplant. You could try putting in some large shrubs, again, large plants are not easy to transplant, and that would immediately complicate your utility line problem.

Now assuming the dog can find somewhere else in not quite as delicate a situation for the dog's cool down, we would suggest covering the area around the pipes with river rock. Not gravel, because the dog could dig that out and spread it around in a heart beat. The rock would be attractive, allow ventilation of the soil beneath it, and at least minimize weeds. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on using river rock where growing anything is a problem.

 

 

More Septic Systems Questions

Windbreak for Eastern Kansas
July 17, 2011 - 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. ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for septic field in Austin
March 14, 2011 - Do you have guidance for west Austin residents regarding landscaping a septic field with native plants?
view the full question and answer

Plants for septic fields in Austin
November 10, 2008 - We are building a house in Austin and the site requires a septic system. I need advice on how to landscape with native plants over the septic fields. The side yard and the front yard will contain the ...
view the full question and answer

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 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

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