En Español

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

Monday - May 20, 2013

From: Killen, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Septic Systems, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 problem with the septic system. Should I recommend we remove them and plant something else?

ANSWER:

This is really a plumbing problem, not a plant problem. We will tell you what we know about the plants you know the name of and then see if we can find some information on the septic tank issue.

'Blue Rug' Juniper is apparently a trade name for Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper), which is native to North America but, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map is not native in any of the southern or western states, including Alabama. Lagerstroemia indica (Crape Myrtle) is native to Korea, China and Japan.

Now, on to the septic tank:

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

"This article from InspectAPedia.com Guide to Planting Trees or Shrubs Over or Near Septic System Components has a lot of information on planting trees and shrubs over septic fields (don't) or distances from those fields to plant trees (you don't have that much space).

Beyond that information, about all we can tell you is what we have told others who wanted to know what they could plant over septic systems and let you go from there. These are all Mr. Smarty Plants answers to previous questions and some have more links for information. These involve different areas of the country and different plants but all are applicable to your question.

June 28, 2010 Planting over septic tank in California

September 2, 2009 Native flowers from Door County WI

January 25, 2009 Plants that will not clog lateral lines with roots from Bulverde, TX

April 10, 2008 Native plants for septic field from Austin, TX"

Please follow any additional links in any of those linked answers. We would suggest you have someone who specializes in septic tank installation visit the site and make recommendations. Damage may already have been done and the sooner you find out about it, the sooner it can be fixed and the less damage will be done.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Vine Choices Scarce in Beaverton Oregon
June 08, 2012 - Hi, I am looking for a hearty vine that we could use to cling to and cover a cement wall that is about 8 feet tall and 30 feet long. It is on the south side of our house but never gets direct sunli...
view the full question and answer

Possible non-native squash and gourd cross from Kyle TX
June 10, 2012 - Last year I gathered seeds from the yellow squash plants that were grown from a seed packet (hybrid, I assume). Well, now the fruit produced by those plants seems to be a cross between a yellow squash...
view the full question and answer

Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
view the full question and answer

Caring for non-native African violet
September 05, 2006 - How do you care for the African violet?
view the full question and answer

Invasive non-native mulberry and groundcover in Jacksonville FL
October 02, 2011 - Northeast Florida (Jacksonville) inland. My mulberry tree provides dense shade in the summer and filtered light the other seasons, leaving sand in its growing area. What fast growing ground cover woul...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center