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

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 Shrubs Questions

Plants for shelter for butterflies
July 04, 2010 - I understand that butterflies need certain plants for food, but are there specific plants that butterflies prefer to use as shelter in central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs with berries for birds and growing small red oak tree
September 16, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Recently, I saw a short article about attracting birds to one's yard. The article said to plant "berry-bearing" shrubs, but didn't name any specific shrubs. Could you tell...
view the full question and answer

Is slow growth of young Tx mountain laurel normal?
July 02, 2012 - My Texas mountain laurel is 2 or 3 years old and is about 4 feet tall. It seems quite healthy but has grown very little, if any, and has never bloomed. Is this normal? Although I don't want it to gro...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Kentucky
June 12, 2010 - We live in central Kentucky and have a backyard pool that desperately needs some landscaping. I would like plants that don't drop a lot of leaves or "trash". I'd like a list of great poolside pl...
view the full question and answer

Native climbing rose for Austin
April 25, 2010 - Is there such a thing as a native climbing rose that would do well in Austin?
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