Messages posted to thread:

Darryl Ann Donald16-Feb-00 12:57 PM EST   
Phil Myre29-Feb-00 06:53 AM EST   
Sharon29-Feb-00 09:51 AM EST   
Kim07-Mar-00 11:28 AM EST   
Darryl Ann Donald21-Mar-00 10:03 AM EST   

Subject: Wildflowers over a septic bed?
From: Darryl Ann Donald
Date: 16-Feb-00 12:57 PM EST

We just moved into our first house and have what looks like a scrubby attempt at a lawn in the front yard (the septic bed). I want to rip out every blade of grass and plant native wildflowers. In selecting appropriate (Eastern Ontario) species, I noted some have long taproots. Will this be a problem for the septic system? Anyone have experience with planting over a large septic bed area? Thanks.

Subject: RE: Wildflowers over a septic bed?
From: Phil Myre
Date: 29-Feb-00 06:53 AM EST

Hi Darryl I have been living here in the country for 28yrs and have had the use of a septic bed all these years and you have to realise that all I am saying is better to keep it free of anything but grass #1 the layer of soil on a bed is not that deep and by it being that way the bed works by the sun drawing up moisture and the wind also has its job to do and the pipes that are under the soil are trying to do their job they have a very busy job and if you impede the flow, well roots grow and the pipes like the roots and it goes on and first thing you know there is a contractor at your place saying your bed needs replacing and at todays prices WOW if your bed is doing its job be gratefull and keep it free from all roots but grass ones,you will thank me in the long run and this is from experiance have a good year Darryl

Subject: RE: Wildflowers over a septic bed?
From: Sharon
Date: 29-Feb-00 09:51 AM EST

I totally agree with you, Phil. As another long time septic user, I would not do anything except fertilize the lawn and overseed it to improve the quality of the lawn area. Even ripping your old grass out can cause problems. If your field is working properly, don't do anything to disturb it and with wildflowers you don't know what kind of plants you are seeding. You might want to keep in mind, too, if you're not used to a septic tank and field, that part of why it works is microbial. If you kill off the microbes and such, things don't work as well. No detergents with phosphates, no bleach, no harsh chemicals. I use sudsy ammonia and baking soda for cleaning. Also remember that any chemicals that you flush are going into your property not just some treatment plant on the other side of the city.

Subject: RE: Wildflowers over a septic bed?
From: Kim
Date: 07-Mar-00 11:28 AM EST

I've tried it both ways. First I seeded grass over our septic hill. The thistle was so bad that I consulted a local county extension agent for ideas.

They suggested wildflowers so I killed off all the grass, tilled it under, did Round Up again and planted wildflower seed.

All I can say is, unless you plan to spend most of your summer keeping on top of the horrendous Johnson Grass and Thistle that enevitable competes with the wildflowers and wins, stick with grass.

I've now killed off all but a corner of the wildflowers and am reseeding with grass. It's much easier to control the weeds at 3" than at 5 feet!

Subject: RE: Wildflowers over a septic bed?
From: Darryl Ann Donald
Date: 21-Mar-00 10:03 AM EST

Thanks Phil, Sharon, & Kim. Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. I really appreciate the info on septic beds. As an environmental studies student, I am quite diligent about what comes into our house (and down the drain). I think I will try the wildflowers on a small patch elsewhere. I ordered the seeds for the Wildflower Farm, so I know just what I'm getting. It was suggested that I mix in the annual Canadian Rye to act as a nurse plant - to outcompete the weeds in the disturbed soil while the wildflowers grow. I expect any wildflowers I put in to take 2-4 years to really bloom (cutting them back in the first year or two to strengthen their roots), so I am definitely in this for the long haul! I think the septic bed will be getting a break with the two of us - water conservation is a high priority for us, especially since what leaves our septic bed works it way down into our well. Thanks for the great info and words of caution. I respect your opinions.

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