General Guides

Will Salt Water Kill Grass?

If you are using water softeners that use salt as the softening medium, it is quite common to be worried about whether salt water can kill grass. Apart from the water softener, the salt can also get into your grass in several other ways. So, are you worried or wondering if salt water can kill grass? Let us find answers to that query. 

Saltwater can kill the grass. It will kill grass if there is a high amount of salt water. Even with a lower amount of water, if the salt content is high, you are most likely to find your grass killed. Salt dehydrates the grass and plants by drawing water out from their cells. This will cause their desiccation and eventual death. 

What Is Salt Water?

By definition, salt water is the water that has a higher concentration of salt. Saltwater is also called saline water or seawater. Typically, water that consists of around 2.5% of salt concentration is referred to as salt water. The most prominent component of salt water is Sodium chloride. 

It should be noted that salt water or salt is an essential evil. That would mean that salt is required by humans and every living being, including plants. However, a higher concentration of salt can cause issues and result in cell damage. This is true in the case of animals and plants alike. 

does saltwater kill grass

Will Salt Water Kill Grass? 

Yes, salt water can kill grass or any other plants as such. This would perhaps explain why salt is specifically used to remove unwanted grass. It is typically used to kill weeds and grass. Saltwater can kill turf grass if it gets into the plant in a higher level of concentration. So, can salt kill grass? Yes, it can kill grass. 

However, there are a few varieties of grass that are not very sensitive to salt water. Some of these varieties would include St. Augustine, Bermudagrass, and zoysia grass. The high quantity of salt can also damage the soil in the long run. 

How Does Salt Water Harm Grass?

The primary way that salt water can kill your grass is by dehydrating it by drawing water from its cells. Apart from that, salt water can cause nutrient deficiency, burn the blades, and make it difficult to draw up water. 

Some of the ways saltwater can harm grass include 

Salt water burns the grass blades 

The significant damage that salt water can cause to grass is to burn the leaves or blades of the grass. When the grass injests a lot of salt water, the blades begin developing brown patches all over and begin losing the chlorophyll. If there is a huge number of blades that get burned, eventually, the plant will fail to make food for itself and die. 

Saltwater dehydrates the grass

If you water the soil with salt water consistently, it will end up causing a high salt accumulation. This high concentration of salt can result in preventing the roots of the grass from absorbing water. Ultimately, this will dehydrate the plant. Apart from that, salt may also draw the water from the cells of grass back into the soil. This can eventually kill the grass. No amount of lawn care or watering can help revive the grass because it cannot absorb the water at all. 

Salt water causes sodium toxicity

Salt water is also known to cause sodium toxicity in the grass or even in the soil. The roots take the chloride ions to the blades, where they interfere with photosynthesis. The chloride may break the chlorophyll and turn the blades yellow and brown. 

Meanwhile, the sodium ions cause sodium toxicity in the grass and the soil. This will stop the water from entering the roots. 

Salt water can reduce the oxygen in the soil

The saltwater can significantly reduce the amount of oxygen in the soil. It has been observed that almost 20 to 30% of oxygen is removed from the soil. This is definitely not something that a plant can find a good option. In contrast to the freshwater, the salt water would provide much less oxygen to the plants. This slows down the grass growth and the germination of grass seeds.

Will Water Softener Water Kill Plants?

Yes, water softener water or softened water can kill grass and plants. The softened water obviously contains grass and can result in water scarcity in the grass. Sodium makes the plants “think” that it has taken more water than what is needed. This will eventually starve the grass or any other plant, and they may die. The softened water can also affect the soil, and thus, even future plants or grass will find it difficult to grow. 

You can water the grass or plants with water softener water if your plants get enough rainwater. This will offset the effect of salt water on the roots and overall plant growth. However, it is never advisable to water the grass and plants with water softener water. 

Does Salt Water Kill Soil Microbes?

A high concentration of soluble salts can kill soil microbes. This is done through two possible mechanisms – The osmotic effect and the specific ion effect. This can ideally have a negative impact on the plants and grasses. The lack of soil microbes can make the plants find it difficult to absorb nutrients from the soil. 

Salt water can kill soil microbes in two ways – Osmotic effect, where the water from the soil is drawn out cells of the microbes, thereby killing them. The ionic effects can make the salt toxic to microbes. 

The Concluding Thoughts

Saltwater can kill weeds and grass. It will practically damage everything that it comes in contact with. Salt water can be highly toxic to the plants, and that is why you should never use salt water for any purpose with the plants. If you have any saltwater spill, make sure to flush the sandy soil immediately. 


Will Pool Water kill grass and trees?

Pool water can kill trees if you tend to expose them to salt water repeatedly.  Trees that are sensitive to salt can die quicker than the other stronger varieties of trees. 

How to water plants when you have a water softener?

If you have water softener water, you can use several options to help you take care of the plants. 

  • Bypass soft water line. 
  • Dilute the salt water with rainwater. 
  • Use potassium chloride instead of regular salt. 
  • Use reverse osmosis to provide salt-less water.
Will the water softener water damage the grass?

Water softener water will not kill grass if it is used occasionally. However, using it quite often can result in severe issues. Softened water that contains sodium can cause spotty or lack of growth, improper water balance, and lack of minerals.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is the founder of WaterBrower. The water-related problems faced by him in his childhood led him to take this kind initiative to help many others who might be facing similar problems. He has been into research and water testing wherein he has found great water treatment solutions in different regions of the world. This blog is about everything that he has learnt during this study. Hope it helps many:)

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment