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Saturday - August 29, 2015

From: Austin, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Septic Systems, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Wildflowers for an Indiana septic drain field
Answered by: Guy Thompson


We just had to have a septic system replaced due to our state highway consuming some of our front yard along with our original septic. Since this has happened, our lateral lines now lie in our back yard. Without sounding like a "bad neighbor", we are wanting to plant something there to keep our neighbors from using our backyard as they're crossing the field on a regular basis (the area I'm speaking of is approximately 1/2 acre). We have neighbors to each side of us that visit one another by riding their atvs/four wheelers/Gators/golf carts to one another's home. And, one of the neighbors has taken it upon himself to mow a path for them to use when they don't feel we've mowed quickly enough4 days). This wasn't that big of a deal before, but since having the new septic put in, the fill dirt has rocks in it which need to settle before being mowed. Our installer recommended up to a year.The installers did plant grass seed, that also contained flower seeds (neither we nor they knew this) and has since made a pretty little "wildflower" type garden in the area - in which we vastly enjoyed. That is, until the "mowing" neighbor decided to mow his path again. A fence would be idea, but we have a total of 25 acres, which would not make fencing affordable. We are now thinking to keep traffic off our lateral lines, we will plant wildflowers native to Indiana on that half acre. Would you recommend doing so? Would they clog up the lateral lines? If we can plant, what do you suggest? We're trying to do something that will discourage the neighbors from using the property while trying to stay kind about it. :)


Planting a wlldflower meadow sounds like a good idea.  You could rope it off to protect germinating plants and use that as a legitimate excuse to block access.  This list of species suitable for your area is from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database.  Here are a few species from that list that should show up nicely from your back window.  Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)Argemone polyanthemos (Annual pricklepoppy)Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)Callirhoe digitata (Finger poppy-mallow)Coreopsis major (Greater tickseed)Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel)Helianthus occidentalis (Fewleaf sunflower)Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine)Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose), and Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan).  Seeds for these plants should be available from plant nurseries in your area or from online sources such as Native American Seed.

Check the Plant Database for propagation tips concerning the species you choose.  Propagation of wildflower seeds is often most successful when the seeds are planted in the Fall.  And it is important that the seeds be in contact with the mineral soil to achieve germination.  A general guide to planting wildflower meadows is given here.


From the Image Gallery

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Crested pricklypoppy
Argemone polyanthemos

Asclepias tuberosa

Finger poppy-mallow
Callirhoe digitata

Greater tickseed
Coreopsis major

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Fewleaf sunflower
Helianthus occidentalis

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Fringed puccoon
Lithospermum incisum

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

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