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#1 MattyB

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 09:40 PM

Ok, I've searched the new and old forums and can't find any threads about planting around septic systems.  I'm looking at a house (Dictionary Hill, Helix St. & Montemar St.) and there's no sewer line in the area so everyone uses septic systems.  From what I've read, you shouldn't plant trees above or near your tank or drain field.  They suggest only grass and shallow rooted flowers and shrubery.   Whopidy do...shubery my favorite.  So, what do you guys do who have septic systems?  Also, I read that this adds salts to the soil too, which I don't want either.  So what can anyone tell me about plants damaging septic systems and septic systems damaging plants?  This is 1 acre on a west slope with no neighbors at the top of Dictionary Hill so I'm seriously thinking about it. Help!
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Matt Bradford
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Spring Valley, CA (8.5 miles inland from San Diego Bay)
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9B in the canyon (520 ft. elevation)

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#2 Kamipalms

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 09:51 PM


(MattyB @ Feb. 03 2007,12:40)
QUOTE
This is 1 acre on a west slope with no neighbors at the top of Dictionary Hill so I'm seriously thinking about it. Help![/quote]
with 1 acre who cares about planting near the septic's ?
Build your potting shed over it and plan your new gardens around it.
I think the main reason the advise not to plant too close to it is soley for the reason of roots damaging the tank.
The other option if your loaded with cash is to re-locate and install a bio-system instead of the traditional septic system.
The advantage is that a lot of the "black water" is converted to gray so theres some more water for your garden.
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#3 MattyB

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 09:57 PM

Thanks for the encouragement Jay.  I'm not loaded and will be house poor if we do get this place the any new fancy shmancy bio gliken hymen slicker thingy is out of the question.  I was under the impression that the leach lines are spread out over a very large area though.  Anyone know about how much space a leach field takes up?
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Matt Bradford
"Manambe Lavaka"
Spring Valley, CA (8.5 miles inland from San Diego Bay)
10B on the hill (635 ft. elevation)
9B in the canyon (520 ft. elevation)

#4 Neofolis

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 10:05 PM

I don't know about regulations and what is avialable in the US, but here many people are switching from septic tanks to sewerage treatment plants.  The SWP's use media plates that allow the bacteria in the waste to multiply and carry out the aerobic treatment of the waste.  The non-toxic, odorless waste can then be discharged without harming plants.  Unfortunately they do still require annual sludge removal, so would need to be situated to allow for this, so roots could still pose a problem, although I would think it is more of a problem with dicots, as I doubt palms and the like would damage the tank or pipework.
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#5 bgl

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 12:27 AM

Matt,
Since there's already a house on the property, the leach lines must already be in place. I would assume you should be able to find out exactly where on the property they are, and how much space they're taking up. When we were planning to build a house out on Artesian Road, east of Rancho Santa Fe, we had a meeting with someone at the county office, and they outlined on a map of the property EXACTLY what size area we needed for the leach lines. This would be crucial information for anyone buying a house that's not connected to the sewer system. And the size of the leach field is determined by how many bedrooms you have in the house, BTW. Or I should say, how many rooms the county (or city) guy considers can be USED as bedrooms!
Bo-Göran
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#6 Neofolis

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 03:13 AM

I know some places in the US have records at county hall of all service pipes, etc. to and from properties, so if that is the case in your area, the information should be freely available to you.
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Corey Lucas-Divers
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#7 amazon exotics

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 04:17 AM

One of the fastest bismarkia I've ever seen grow was planted on top of a septic tank. 5 years from 3 gallon - 3 feet of clear trunk and about 15' o.a. Grew faster than a weed.
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#8 Bushnell-Dave

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 05:15 AM

You wouldnt want to plant anything too close to the tank.Periodically,the tank will have to be pumped out.It has a removable cover on top for access.
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#9 amazon exotics

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 05:38 AM

Matt, Dave is right about the septic lid. I should have stated that the biz I'm talking about I had to transplant it for a customer. They were clueless when they planted it. I was just saying the soil is real good.
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#10 palmblues

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 06:24 AM

Mattyb,
  our place was built in '59 ... the septic has a 2'x2' concrete
cover on it and should be cleaned every 3-5 yrs ... the leach field cover is right behind that, ours is round concrete ... the field is 3 separate 'arms' that run 50-60' from that point ... they spread in a triangle shape at first and then run straight out ... you can find them with a straight rod, poking the ground, probably shouldn't poke too hard, but i've seen the septic guys do it ... the grass is always greener there  :)  ... we're in fla and the new septic fields are built up about 2" above the ground and i havn't seen anyone plant on them, most likely from large roots as previously posted  ... not sure what material the old septic arms are made of ...
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#11 freekypalmguy

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 08:15 AM

I'm on septic here as well.  We had a guy come out and core the cement lids on our septic, then we added up pipes to the surface with caps. When it comes time for a sludge clean out, he does not have to rip up my landscaping to clean my tank. Now I can plant around it without any troubles.
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#12 edbrown_III

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 10:43 AM

I planted a large Allagoptera near the leach field.. It suddenly died. I thought it had a disease or something. It was right above the bypass from the old field to the new field. I had installed a new field about 20 years ago as the builder had installed the old field sloping up so it didnt work.  I had planted the Allagoptera about 15 years latter so didnt remember exactly where the by pass was.

I think we had dumped bleach down the drain as we had to do some serious cleaning. The chlorides I think were pretty concentrated and the plant roots saw this .  This is a consider.

Best regards,


Ed
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#13 Fred Zone 10A

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 02:26 PM

Matt,

When I bought my house in 1993 it had a cess pool (it was built before septic tanks were required).  Within two years it failed and I had to spend a lot of money (I think it was $12K to $15K) to have another one dug.  That one failed two years ago and even though we are water wise, I have to have both pumped every month at $270 a pop.  To dig another pit would cost over $25K, but meanwhile our area voted to build a sewer system.  My share of the sewer bonds is $18K.  In December they laid the line in my street and I'm anxiously waiting to hook up.  That will cost me another $10K.

The moral to the story is, you are much better off buying where there are sewers.

That said, a palm-growing friend in Vista lives on a hill and has leach lines.  The palms in the leach field grow faster than those outside of it.  But you have to be very careful what goes down the toilet (e.g., chemicals).
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Fred Zone 10A

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#14 Mats

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 06:47 PM

The moral to the story is, you are much better off buying where there are sewers.

That may be true, but Matt might have a real gem in the works.  I'm not familiar with Lemon Grove or Spring Valley, but I looked up Helix & Montemar on Google Maps and from the satellite shot, that area looks fabulous.  Positively rural.  

Nice find Matt, hope the deal goes through.
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#15 MattyB

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 08:45 PM

Thanks all for your input, I'll consider it all.  The place does have a rural feeling but drive down the hill and your back in the hood.  It's perfect for a city boy like me.  If anyone knows where Bob Hastings lives it's two properties away to the north.  Both properties or either side are undeveloped which is nice for now.  The wierd thing is that it's basically the width of a regular property but it just goes down the hill to the gully and back up the other hill for about 500 feet.  It's a trip.  I guess if the neighbors do decide to build next to us it's time to break out the bamboo screens.  We went back w/ our GPS to spot the property lines today and we're going back to look at the house again tomorrow.  I hope we like the 70's because that's the interior decor we're gonna be living with for a long time.......if we get the house......stay tuned......
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Matt Bradford
"Manambe Lavaka"
Spring Valley, CA (8.5 miles inland from San Diego Bay)
10B on the hill (635 ft. elevation)
9B in the canyon (520 ft. elevation)

#16 DoomsDave

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 06:48 AM

MattyB

Sounds like a heckuva place!

If you have a reasonable prospect of increasing income over time, it's not too bad to get a bigger house.  If not, be careful . . . .

dave
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Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.


#17 Alicehunter2000

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 01:05 PM

Fairly familiar with septic systems here in North Florida. As was stated previously plants grow like crazy near them. You can always tell where the septic is by where the tallest and greenest grass is (often making interesting patterns). Just don't flush any herbicides or plant harming chemicals.

Yes they do need service every few years (I wouldn't want to build on top anything permanent)

Whatever you do, don't drive over the top of them (spoken by someone with experience :) )
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David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a 

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil





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