Healthy Yard Happy Tank

Did you know that maintaining a healthy yard also helps your septic system?  Conserving water and preventing erosion are some of the ways to prevent pollution.

Here are some simple tips on how to landscape around your home better:

  • The best time to water outdoors is in the morning, both to reduce water waste and to promote healthy flora. Morning air is cooler, so less water is lost to evaporation than during the middle of the day. If you water in the evening, you run the risk of promoting fungi and bacterial diseases.
  • Encourage the right plants.
    * Grow grass or ground cover over the septic system to prevent soil erosion.
    * Plant beneficial evergreens, such as pines, near the leachfield to absorb water.Preserve existing trees, and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil.
    * Avoid planting water-loving trees such as willow, poplar, swamp maple, or cypress
  • When landscaping your yard, select plants that have low requirements for water, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Cultivate plants that discourage pests. Minimize grassed areas, which require high maintenance.
  • Preserve existing trees, and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil.
  • Use landscaping techniques, such as grass swales (low areas in the lawn) or porous walkways, to increase infiltration and decrease runoff.
  • Leave lawn clippings on your lawn so that nutrients in the clippings are recycled and less yard waste goes to landfills.
  • If you elect to use a professional lawn care service, select a company that employs trained technicians and follows practices designed to minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Compost your yard trimmings. Compost is a valuable soil conditioner that gradually releases nutrients to your lawn and garden. (Using compost will also decrease the amount of fertilizer you need to apply.) In addition, compost retains moisture in the soil and thus helps you conserve water.
  • Spread mulch on bare ground to help prevent erosion and runoff.
  • Test your soil before applying fertilizers. Over-fertilization is a common problem, and the excess can leach into ground water or contaminate rivers or lakes. Also, avoid using fertilizers near surface waters. Use slow-release fertilizers on areas where the potential for water contamination is high, such as sandy soils, steep slopes, compacted soils and verges of waterbodies. Select the proper season to apply fertilizers—incorrect timing could encourage weeds or stress grasses. Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers before or during rain because of the strong likelihood of runoff.
  • Calibrate your applicator before applying pesticides or fertilizers. As equipment ages, annual adjustments might be needed.
  • Keep storm gutters and drains clean of leaves and yard trimmings. (Decomposing vegetative matter leaches nutrients and can clog storm systems and result in flooding.)

Other landscaping tips:

  • Install wood decking, bricks or interlocking stones instead of impervious cement walkways.
  • Install gravel trenches along driveways or patios to collect water and allow it to filter into the ground.
  • Restore bare patches in your lawn as soon as possible to avoid erosion.
  • Grade all areas away from your house at a slope of one percent or more.

information found at: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/dosdont.cfm