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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - November 18, 2010

From: Raymond, ME
Region: Northeast
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Wildflowers and grasses for a septic field in Maine
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

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 will be mowed only very occasionally, preferably annually. Part of the area has full sun, part is shaded. There is no irrigation, as it is not recommended for drain fields (tho I can water after seeding. Or if you can direct me to a website or reference book would be helpful.

ANSWER:

One of our Associates in Ontario, Wildflower Farm, has developed a wildflower seed mix especially for that purpose.  Their mix of 18 different perennial wildflowers and grasses are all North American native plants and will thrive in your environment.  They provide images and information about all the plants in the mix, but if you want more, you can "copy and paste" the plant names into our Native Plant Database.

They have a warehouse in Buffalo, NY and will ship anywhere in the US.

The wildflowers and grasses in their mix that are mostly native to the tallgrass prairie.  That means they are drought tolerant and relatively deep rooted, but not to the extent that they will negatively affect the effectiveness of your system. They will perform well under the conditions you describe.

 

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