book3 600x120 5

by Victoria Ottenberg
(Land O Lakes, pasco county, Florida)


Tree in a Field

hi there! We live in Florida, zone 9, I believe. We are landscaping our front yard and looking for an option with regards to a tree or large shrub. Our Septic tank/drain field is in our front yard, takes up most of it but we have marked off only the areas that are not directly over this for planting. We need something quite full in the front, off the corner of the house. Problem is – we need to know WHAT we can consider with VERY LITTLE root structure so that it does not grow into the septic and destroy/crush/intrude upon the tanks.

We are considering a screw pine and a Dogwood tree so far. Might you have ANY suggestions for us?


Apr 01, 2022

by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

I wish you had put a picture of the area in your question. There is no way for my imagination to fill in the gaps on this one. Of all of your choices, don’t pick willows! These are renowned for breaking clay pipes, and clogging plastic ones if they can get into the field drain.

There are so many options depending on the way the site lays and how much sun or shade the area receives, as well as what will grow in your zone. You didn’t mention if you want to maintain the area closely, as in the pruning and watering, or if you prefer a low maintenance area.

I suggest you ask at your local garden center or nursery, where you will be purchasing your plants. They will have the best idea of plants that do well in your area.

Write down the dimensions of the area you want help with, and the criteria of the plants, such as drought tolerant, non-shedding, non-invasive roots, height restrictions and so on. They are your most reliable source of information.