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Best Plants in relation to their Root Habits for over Septic Drain Fields  RSS feed

 
Matt Powers
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I have weeds over the drainfields, but I want something productive that won't clog the pipes.

Any ideas?
 
Nicole Alderman
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
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I've been wondering the same thing, except in regards to my septic's sand field. I currently have my duck enclosure over it, and would love to add some edible plants for the ducks that won't destroy the sand field.
 
Robert Kourik
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Hi Matt (again!) Since most roots go easily to 4 to >10 feet deep, a septic field (are you pipes deeper than 4 feet?) is not really protected. Even grasses can go much deeper than the standard leachfield. Vegies like lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and many more can have at least some roots to go to 4 feet. Don't forget tree roots grow .5 to 3 times wider than the canopy, so many leachfields are prone to root intrusion from nearby trees. At least out in the woods where I live.
 
Matt Powers
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So leach fields are in general bad because they're no safe roots near it?
 
Robert Kourik
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Leachfileds are a troublesome necessity for many. Roots will eventually find the leach pipes. May take many decades for the pipe to be filled by roots.
 
Matt Powers
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Thank you so much Robert! I really appreciate your time, expertise and comments on the forums!!

Will you be a PermaVoices this March? I'd love to hear more!
 
Matt Powers
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Or a podcast with Diego, Jack or Paul?
 
Robert Kourik
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I have no idea what PermaVoices is. No plans for a podcast. Nobody has asked me to do a podcast recently. I don't set them up myself.
 
Matt Powers
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Well! I think you'd be great for any of those shows and that conference.

Here's that conference:
http://www.peramculturevoices.com

 
Josh Ritchey
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What is a good way to determine what kind of roots certain plants/trees have, without getting too far into botany. For instance, what might I want to plant near a sidewalk that goes straight down instead of trash my driveway. Or what has softer roots that will follow my foundation rather than pushing it it?

How accurate is Paul theory of the tap root being destroyed by transplanting.
 
Robert Kourik
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Hi Josh, Since you can not tell what a root system is like by looking at the foliage, you need experiments or root maps to tell what is going on. I have a whole chapter in my book discussing trees that heave hardscape and trees that don't. No roots go straight down at the base of the plant (if this is what you mean). In fact most spread sideways far more than down. Yes taproots are usually destroyed by all types of transplanting.
 
Josh Ritchey
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Can you mitigate the taproot destruction with anything except planting from seed.
 
Robert Kourik
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Only if you grow the plant in very long tubes & transplant before the taproot gets air pruned by the hole at the bottom. Don't forget when oaks have their first true leaves the roots can be 18-24" deep. Seed is usually the best - for a patient person!
 
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