Chlorine And Chill: Pool Salt And Its Threat To Your Plants

Swimming pools are a popular feature in many backyards, providing a refreshing escape from the heat and a place to relax and spend time with family and friends.

However, many pool owners are unaware of the potential harm that the salt used in saltwater pools can have on nearby trees and plants. The high concentration of salt in pool water can affect the health of vegetation, leading to wilting, yellowing, and eventually death.

If you’re a pool owner or worry about how your landscaping and gardening are affected by pool salt, then this article is for you! I’m delving deep into the effects of salt on trees and plants, as well as what action to take to reduce these impacts. Let’s dive in!

Will Salt Water From A Pool Kill Trees

Generally, salt water from a pool can be harmful to trees and other vegetation if it’s not managed properly. The high salt content in the water can damage the roots and foliage of trees, causing them to become dry, yellow, and eventually die.

Since salt isn’t easily absorbed by the soil and can accumulate in the root zone, causing osmotic stress and reducing the tree’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. When trees are repeatedly exposed to high levels of salt, the salt can build up in the soil, leading to long-term damage.

This is particularly true for trees planted near a pool, where they are susceptible to regular watering with salt water. The damage can also spread to surrounding plants, shrubs, and flowers, which can become affected by the salt in the groundwater.

To prevent damage to trees from pool salt water, keep salt levels in the pool water balanced. Pool owners should consider adjusting the location of trees and other vegetation, or installing barriers between the pool and the plants to limit their exposure to salt.

Additionally, regular watering with fresh water can help flush salt from the soil, and mulching the soil around trees can also help reduce the impact of salt on the root system.

To stay up with the safety of trees and vegetation, it is critical to keep salt levels balanced in pool water. Additionally, adjusting the location of trees near the pool, erecting barriers for protection, as well as providing fresh water and mulching are all essential steps that can be taken to prevent damage from saltwater pools.

Does Salt Water From A Pool Kill Plants

High concentrations of salt found in pool water is capable of harming both the roots and leaves of plants leading them to become dry and wither before dying. Since soil can’t absorb salt water properly it accumulates around the roots, starving the plant of nutrients.

Salt buildup in the soil can cause terrible long-term destruction to plants and flowers, particularly when they are placed close to a pool. Salt can even travel through groundwater and harm surrounding plant life.

Will Salt Water From A Swimming Pool Kill Grass

Grass that is exposed to salt from a swimming pool runs the risk of developing dry patches and dying due to the high salt levels. The pool water can also cause a build-up of salt in the soil, which starves the grass of nutrients and moisture.

Even the most durable of grass, such as Bermuda grass, can be badly affected by pool salt so it’s very important to manage the salt levels in your pool properly.

Some experts even recommend keeping a wide pool deck barrier to prevent salty pool water from splashing over onto your lawn. Another option is to use astroturf or other fake grass, not only will fake grass not yellow and die, but it also helps reduce your backyard maintenance…win-win!

Can Pool Salt Be Used To Kill Weeds

While pool salt can be used to kill weeds, it’s not a recommended method of weed control. The high salt content can kill surrounding trees and plants by accumulating around the roots. This accumulation prevents plants from absorbing water and chokes off vital nutrients.

Using pool salt to kill weeds can also lead to environmental issues. If the salt content builds up in the soil it can affect its health, making it difficult for plants to grow and thrive. Additionally, the salt can leach into the groundwater, affecting nearby wells and streams.

If you need to control weeds, many alternative methods are safer and more effective. For example, hand-pulling weeds, using mulch to smother weeds, and applying organic herbicides or vinegar are all effective methods of weed control that are less harmful to the environment.

What Is The Long-Term Impact Of Pool Salt On The Surrounding Landscape

The long-term impact of pool salt on the surrounding landscape can be significant, particularly if proper precautions are not taken. The high concentration of salt in pool water can affect the health of nearby trees, plants, and grass, leading to their death. Over time, the salt can accumulate in the soil, reducing its ability to support healthy vegetation.

In addition, the salt can also leach into the groundwater, affecting nearby wells and streams. This can have a significant impact on the surrounding environment, including the health of aquatic life and the quality of the water supply.

To minimize the long-term impact of pool salt on the surrounding landscape, it’s important to take steps to reduce the amount of salt in the pool water. This can be achieved through proper pool maintenance, such as regular testing and adjusting the salt levels and using salt-reducing products. Additionally, avoiding the overuse of salt-based products and planting salt-tolerant vegetation can also help reduce the impact of pool salt on the surrounding landscape.

What Are Some Plants That Have A High Tolerance For Salty Conditions

While many plants can happily thrive in low-water areas, finding ones that can equally thrive in areas where they are exposed to salt water or salty soil is more difficult. However, a few do exist such as:

  • Sedum – This succulent can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including salty water and soil.
  • Sea Thrift – This hardy perennial is tolerant to salty winds and storm spray.
  • Saltgrass – As its name suggests, saltgrass can tolerate very high levels of salt in the ground.
  • Beach Grass – This grass is incredibly resilient against wind and salt spray, making it a great choice for poolside gardens.
  • Lamb’s Ear – This fuzzy perennial thrives in salty, windy conditions and requires very little maintenance.
  • Yucca – This drought-tolerant plant can also tolerate salty soils and winds.
  • Stonecrop – This succulent can handle salty pool water and poolside conditions.
  • Daylilies – Daylilies are very resilient and can tolerate salty poolside conditions.

These plants are all relatively easy to care for and can help you create a beautiful landscape even with pool salt exposure.

What Is The Proper Way To Drain A Salt Water Pool

Draining a saltwater pool can be a necessary step in maintaining and repairing the pool’s filtration system. However, improper draining can cause significant damage to the pool and surrounding area.

Here’s the proper way to drain a saltwater pool:

  1. Turn Off the Pool’s Filtration System – Before draining the pool, make sure to turn off the pool’s filtration system to prevent damage to the pump, filter, and other components.
  2. Test the Pool Water – Before draining the pool, it’s essential to test the water to determine its salt level. This will help you determine how much water needs to be drained and how much salt will remain in the pool.
  3. Locate the Drain Valve – The drain valve is typically located near the bottom of the pool, near the filtration system. Make sure to locate it before beginning the draining process.
  4. Drain the Pool – Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and direct the water to an appropriate location, such as a drainage ditch or the street. Make sure to drain the water slowly to prevent damage to the pool or surrounding area.
  5. Refill the Pool – After the pool has been drained, refill it with fresh water. Be sure to add enough water to cover the salt cell, which is typically located near the pool’s filtration system.
  6. Turn on The Pool’s Filtration System – After the pool has been refilled, turn on the pool’s filtration system to begin the process of filtering the fresh water and returning the salt levels to normal.

Final Thoughts

Most of us love a cool, crisp swimming pool on a hot summer day but we must be mindful of the surrounding plant life that can be harmed by the salt content in them. To minimize its impact, it’s important to take steps such as proper pool maintenance and using the proper amount of salt…or possibly looking into alternatives to salt.

Additionally, planting salt-tolerant vegetation like sedum or beach grass around your pool will help protect the environment from pool salinity levels that are too high.

When draining a saltwater pool, make sure you test the water for its salinity content before beginning so you know how much needs to be drained off and how much remains in the pool afterward.

Following these tips should ensure that your pool is safe for everyone who uses it while also protecting your plants and other nearby ecosystems from harm caused by excessive pool salts.


Hi, I'm Chris. Who knew there could be so many interesting things about salt?!

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