Using Chlorine & Salt Pool Water on Plants

Using pool water on your landscape

Sometimes it’s necessary to drain your pool. The best place to drain water is on your landscape. If that’s not possible, you must follow the city requirements on pool drainage. Because any chlorine in the water is rapidly inactivated by sunlight, it’s usually safe and beneficial to discharge pool water onto your landscape. It’s also a great way to reuse water you already paid for.

Most desert adapted plants can tolerate an occasional soaking with water from the pool while others may be more sensitive to salts, chemicals used to control microorganisms and the pH level of the water. Watering the same area repeatedly with pool water could build-up an excessive salt level in the soil. To avoid salt build up, be sure to move the discharge hose to different areas of the yard each time.

Tips for using pool water on your landscape:

  • Observe soil for symptoms of salt accumulation like dry or dense soil with a cracked appearance or a grayish-white color.
  • Check plants for dry, dead areas or a blotched appearance on the edges and tips of plant leaves.
  • To prevent yellowing/browning of leaves and leaf fall, avoid spraying pool water directly onto leaves.
  • Drain the water slowly to avoid runoff and to allow water to soak deeply into the soil. Make sure pool water doesn’t drain onto your neighbor’s property.

Plants Sensitive to Salt

Do NOT use backwash water

  • Algerian Ivy
  • Chinese Hibiscus
  • Fraser's Photinia
  • Fruit Trees
  • Hopbush
  • Jojoba
  • Queen Palm
  • Roses
  • Star Jasmine
  • Willow

Moderately Sensitive to Salt

Limited use of backwash water

  • Acacia - Most Species
  • Baja Fairy Duster
  • Bird of Paradise - Red
  • Bottlebrush
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Citrus
  • Creosote
  • Eucalyptus
  • Glossy Privet
  • Juniper
  • Lantana
  • Palo Verde
  • Pyracantha
  • Sissoo
  • Vitex (Monks Pepper)
  • Xylosma
  • Yucca

Salt-tolerant Plants

CAN use backwash water

  • Aloe
  • Bear Grass
  • Bermuda Grass
  • Bougainvillea
  • Date Palm
  • Deer Grass
  • Desert Broom
  • Evergreen Euonymus
  • Ice Plant
  • Japanese Honeysuckle
  • Mesquite
  • Natal Plum
  • Native Mesquite
  • Oleander
  • Olive
  • Red Erempophila
  • Rosemary
  • Saltbush
  • Texas Ranger (Texas Sage)
  • Yellow Bells


The list of sensitive, moderately sensitive, and salt tolerant plants provided is derived from various publications provided by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service.