How Fertilizer and Insecticides Can Wreak Havoc on Your Pool

Posted by Blue Haven Pools on 09/22/2021

green murky pool

Pool season and lawn maintenance season coincide, so it’s likely that your lawn will receive the most care right at the height of your pool usage. This may not seem like an issue to you, but did you know that your lawn care can have an impact on your pool? From grass clippings to chemicals, the way you manage your yard can make a big difference in the condition of your pool. The worst offenders in messing up your pool’s equilibrium? The chemicals you use on your lawn. Fertilizers and insecticides can have a serious impact on your pool water, and the result can be expensive to fix. How do you prevent your lawn care from interfering with your pool care? We’ve got some information that you may find helpful.  

Tips for Pool and Yard Maintenance 

  • First, let’s address one of the simplest problems to fix: lawn clippings. Some people mow the lawn and then just blow the cuttings around, which can be disastrous for a pool. Organic material blowing into the pool can cause trouble with your filter and your chemical balance. Grass that sinks to the bottom of a pool will start to oxidize and decompose and if it’s been recently fertilized, that will mean phosphates and other chemicals from fertilizer in the pool water. All of this can result in hazy water, algae growth, and serious imbalance of your pools chemicals. Frequent cleaning of your filter can help, but the simplest solution is to use a bagging mower, or ask your landscaper to do so, and refrain from using a blower. Skim any stray grass clippings from the pool with a net and run the pool skimmer for several hours after lawncare.  
  • Creating a buffer between your lawn and your pool can be helpful. You can keep your grass two to three feet away from the pool by creating a physical boundary. This could be a walkway, flowerbeds, or a pool deck, perhaps made with cool decking for comfortable use even in the heat of summer. Low-maintenance ground cover or a hedge or flower garden next to a walkway around the perimeter of the pool helps keep grass clippings from blowing into the water or being tracked in on swimmers’ feet. If you’re planning to create a flower garden, opt for native plants that won’t require much maintenance.  
  • Interestingly, pool water isn’t bad for your grass. Chlorine doesn’t damage your grass and using excess pool water to hydrate your lawn can save water. Of course, you never want to flood your yard, so large amounts of pool water should be drained appropriately.  
  • Lawn chemicals, however, are terrible for your pool. Excess fertilizer is a big problem because fertilizers contain phosphorous and nitrates. Phosphorous promotes algae growth and can leave you with a big, blooming mess. Nitrates naturally occur in swimming pools but when they get out of control, they’re extremely difficult to remove. In fact, there are no chemicals that can remove nitrates, so the only option in the case of a serious nitrate problem is to drain the pool and refill it. Nitrates get into your pool when the plants near your pool are fertilized, and the fertilizer either blows into the pool or gets washed into the pool in rainwater. If your dog gets into your pool, nitrates can get into the pool from the dog’s hair. Bird droppings in or near your pool, human sweat, and residue from products like make-up, sunscreen, and lotion can all raise the level nitrates in your pool. To keep from getting nitrogen fertilizer in pool water, spread granular fertilizers by hand near the pool, instead of using a spreader.   
  • Is insecticide safe to use around pool water? It’s not as large of a problem as you might think. After all, chlorine is actually a pesticide, used to kill germs that cause illness. Of course, too much chlorine can cause rashes, coughing, nose or throat pain, eye irritation, and can exacerbate asthma. As to insecticides, most of what ends up in your pool water become diluted to the extent of not being harmful. Still, if you’re concerned, it doesn’t hurt to use granules instead of spray or ask your pest control company to do so. You can also have your pool water tested to make sure it doesn’t contain harmful levels of pesticides.  
  • If fertilizer does get into your pool, it can cause stains. That’s because fertilizer contains iron, which reacts with chlorine in the pool. This causes reddish brown stains that look like rust or red dirt. Granular fertilizers cause stains that look like a drop and then a smear. These stains can be cleaned out of the pool, but that can get expensive and may require a lot of elbow grease. Follow these tips on how to remove fertilizer stains from pool surfaces:  
    • Don’t use pumice to clean your pool service because that can damage it.  
    • Instead, use a tool with scrub pads to apply an acidic cleaner to the stain. Many experts recommend ascorbic acid for this task.  
    • Using pressure, move the tool back and forth to scrub the stain.  
    • Be mindful not to use too much force or too much cleaner, to avoid lightening the stain too much. It should lighten quickly, and you don’t want to bleach it too severely.  

Contact Blue Haven Pools Today 

Whether you want to install your dream pool or you need help maintaining the pool you already have, you can depend on Blue Haven Pools to help with all your swimming pool needs. We’re Oklahoma’s premier provider of custom inground pool designs, and we even offer features like sun shelves, rock waterfalls, pool fountains, beach entries, pool mosaics, and much more. We’ll install your decking and pool, and help you find the right supplies and chemicals to keep it beautiful and clear. With over 30 years of experience, we’ve got resources and knowledge to provide a pool you’ll enjoy for years to come. Contact Blue Haven for more information or call 405-817-1946 today!