The septic system comprises the septic tank and drain field. It’s important to know where on the property the system lies so that you can be cautious around these areas. It’s also prudent to know which plants are best to grow over the system; some can cause damage when their roots dig too deeply. The following list details plants that are safe to grow over the septic tank and drain field.

Plants to Grow Over a Septic System

1. Perennial Flowers

If you prefer decorative landscaping around the septic system area, consider flowering perennials such as bee balm or wild violet. These plants typically have shallow root systems and won’t require redigging for new plantings each year, since they come back each season. If deer frequent your area, plant deer-resistant varieties such as lavender, peony, sage, and poppies. 

2. Grassseptic system

The soil around a septic system tends to be wetter than the surrounding area. Grass can be beneficial because it absorbs excess moisture and its shallow roots won’t interfere with the septic tank or pipes. Ornamental grasses, fescue, or Kentucky bluegrass all self-seed and will likely flourish in the area above the drain field and tank. Avoid prairie grasses, such as bluestem or wild rye, as their root systems are penetrative.

3. Slow-Growing Trees

Trees aren’t the best choice for over a septic tank and drain field as the roots may eventually interfere with the system. But slow-growing, shallow-rooted trees are a possibility. Azalea, dogwood, cherry, and Japanese maple are all varieties that fit this description. Avoid large trees such as poplars, birch, willow, aspen, beech, or elm as their roots grow laterally and the trees become large and heavy. Also, avoid bamboo because the roots will spread and potentially damage the underlying system.


The septic tank and drain field don’t have to be devoid of plants. Great Bear Septic Service, in Mahopac, NY, is an award-winning, full-service septic system company for Putnam, Westchester, and Southern Dutchess counties. This business is locally owned and operated, offering quick turnaround times and experienced service. Call (845) 621-0250 to schedule a pump-out or visit the website to see the full range of offerings.