The Q&A Archives: Trees / Shrubs You Can Plant Over A Leach Field?

Question: I have recently purchased property (4+ acres) between Showlow and Holbrook in Northern Az. My property is mostly covered with Shaggy Bark Cedars. When my septic and leach field was installed, the only place they could get thru the rocky ground was in front of the house... I have a large open baren area now. I would like to plant a few trees and shrubs.. but have been afraid of the roots causing problems. Can you suggest what plants
would be good for this area? How tall do these cedars get anyway? If I water them will it hurt them?

Answer: How about a wildflower "meadow" over your leach field? These plants would have shallow root structures and you can have something blooming from spring through fall. Wild Seed offers a Mogollon Rim mix. (PO Box 27751, Tempe, AZ 85285, 480-276-3526) I suggest you check with your contractor if it's feasible to plant anything larger over the leach field.

The texture of the bark on those cedars is really interesting, but they don't get terribly tall. You won't hurt them by watering, but they have adapted to the fairly harsh, dry conditions of the Rim area, so it isn't really necessary, unless there is a specimen that you want to encourage. Good luck!

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