My wife and I read your column every month in the Electric Consumer. Our problem is that we would like to plant a couple of deciduous trees for shade on the south side of our house. The problem is that we have a sewer line from the house to the collection box about 75 feet down the slope. What kind of trees would best serve our purpose?
— MARK MCINTYRE, HARDINSBURG, IND.
Trees are not well suited to planting near septic or sewer lines. Roots will eventually grow well beyond the canopy dripline and can invade openings in the pipes to reach the moisture and nutrients. If space permits, you could plant trees farther away from the sewer line to provide some shade and consider smaller shrubs and/or perennials closer to the house.
Purdue Extension has a publication on Landscaping Near Septic Systems with Native Plants.
Rosie Lerner is the Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist and a consumer of Tipmont REMC. Questions about gardening issues may be sent to: “Ask Rosie,” Electric Consumer, P.O. Box 24517, Indianapolis, IN 46224, or ec@ElectricConsumer.org.