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Does Pool Chlorine Damage Lawns?

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Most pools contain chlorine to help kill bacteria, but some homeowners may wonder about the effect of the chlorine on their lawn. In most cases, this minor nutrient occurs in the soil naturally, so you don't have to worry about it. But can you have too much of a good thing?

Chlorine is an extremely popular pool sanitizer because it effectively kills most microorganisms that can contaminate your pool and create an unsafe environment for you and your family. But lawns and pools can be a tricky combination. The good news is that your pool chlorine levels aren't high enough to do real damage to your lawn. But that doesn't mean there aren't any concerns. Here are a couple of chlorine considerations every pool owner should keep in mind.
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Consideration #1 - Fertilizers and Chlorine

While you may be concerned for your lawn, it's probably better to be concerned for your pool. The nitrogen in lawn fertilizer can combine with pool chlorine to create chlorine compounds, which interfere with the chlorine's ability to sanitize your pool. So be extra vigilant about keeping fertilizer on the lawn and away from the pool. Keeping foot traffic off the lawn until fertilizer is absorbed will help.

Consideration #2 - Chlorine Spills

While diluted pool chlorine isn't a problem, concentrated chlorine can kill some of the bacteria that are essential to plants' ability to get nutrients from the soil. Be careful when adding chlorine to your pool, as spills at concentrated levels could damage the grass in your yard.

As long as you're careful with the chemicals you use to care for your lawns and your pool, there shouldn't be much to worry about. It's definitely possible for pools and lawns to coexist happily.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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