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Septic System Example

Q: How far away from my septic tank should trees be located?

Q:  My septic tank is being moved to the side of my house where I have fruit trees and other plants.  How far away from my septic tank should these trees be located?

A:  Out in cyber-world there is plenty of information regarding the question of the distance between trees and septic systems.  I have seen as few as 20 feet (University of Minnesota) to as much as 100 feet (North Carolina State University).  If it is possible, consider keeping the distance between the septic system and fruit trees somewhere in the middle of those numbers.

It is important to remember, tree roots grow 2 to 3 times the drip line. The drip line is at the tips of the tree branches.  Let’s say one of the fruit tree branches was 10 feet long, which is not atypical for fruit trees.  The roots could be growing 20 to 60 feet out.  Those roots could easily disrupt the natural processes of the septic tank and cause serious damage.  It is already costing you quite a bit of money to relocate your system; no need to allow potential problems in the future.

If you need to move the fruit trees, do so then transplant them elsewhere.  Be sure the trees are irrigated well for 3-4 months to help get them established.  Get as much of the root ball as you can when you move them.   Do not add amendments to the new hole where the tree will be planted – just keep the trees irrigated well.   Transplanting them during dormant season is best for the tree and future fruit production.