Drainage Field Care - Planting Grass Seed Over The Site

If you have recently had a new septic system installed on your property, then you probably want to do everything you possibly can to make sure that the system functions well for many years. A single septic system can last about 20 years, and this means that both the tank and drainage field will work well during the 20 year period. Unfortunately, a drainage field can fail well before the septic tank needs to be replaced. This can lead to the buildup of water pressure in the septic tank itself, as well as the pooling of water across your property. There are several things you can do immediately after the septic system is installed to prevent drainage field failure issues, and planting grass is one of these things. 

Why You Should Plant Grass Seed

The typical drainage field will be formed out of several different trenches that hold pipes so that water from the septic tank can be released in the earth. These pipes are secured between 6 and 36 inches deep in the ground depending on the location of the water table in your area. Specifically, the pipes are placed as deep as possible without coming into contact with the water table. As water is released from the pipes, it is absorbed by the soil. The drainage field relies on aerated and loose soil to drain properly. Otherwise, the water may move up towards the surface of your lawn or it may flow back into the septic tank.

Keeping heavy machinery and vehicles off the septic leach field can help to keep the soil loose. You can also plant grass over the area. The roots of the grass are shallow enough that they will not interfere with drainage field pipes, and the roots will help to keep the soil loose and aerated. The grass will also help to remove some of the water released from the drainage lines so pooling is not an issue. 

Good Planting Practices

If you decide to plant grass over the drainage field, then think about doing so immediately after installation so you can see the area where the soil has been dug up. You should also till the soil slightly, but do so with a hand tiller so you do not disturb the drainage pipes underneath. Also, you can add topsoil, but only add and an inch or two so that drainage water can still make it to the surface of your property. You typically do not need topsoil, fertilizer, or compost though, since the wastewater will provide your grass with all the nitrogen it needs to grow properly.

Once the area is ready, go to your local home store and purchase a type of grass seed that will grow well under wet conditions. St. Augustine, centipede grass, and Kentucky bluegrass are three good options to choose from. Use a seed spreader to add the seeds to your lawn and gently till the soil. Do not water your lawn or you may wash the grass seeds away or cause the seed to grow mold. The septic drainage field should provide enough fluid to help the seeds sprout fairly quickly.

Once the grass starts growing, wait until all seeds have germinated and the grass is several inches long before mowing it. It may take up to two months before the grass needs to be mowed. Mowing is best completed with a push mower. This way, the new grass roots will not be stressed by the weight of the riding mower and the ground will not be compressed either.

Your septic drainage field is an important part of your overall septic system. You can keep this field in great shape by helping to keep the soil loose, aerated, and free of excess water. Planting grass can help with this, but if you have any questions about the field or your septic tank, then make sure to contact a septic service professional. You can also click here to learn more about caring for your septic system.