The summer months welcome sunshine, ice cream, and swimming in the pool, which means families all over the world will be blowing up inflatable pools and setting them up in the yard for their children. However, when summer ends, and you let the air out, you may be surprised to see a spot of dead grass where your pool once sat during all that summer fun.
When inflatable pools are set up in yards or lawns, they smother the grass underneath from necessary sunlight, water, and air. If a pool stays in one spot for a long period, the grass will die. Moving your inflatable pool daily or placing a barrier underneath it can keep it from killing the grass.
If you are struggling between wanting your children to enjoy swimming in an inflatable pool and trying to save your lawn, read on for some tips on how to keep that inflatable pool from killing your grass. That way, the memories of summer fun will not be clouded in despair when you look at a dead patch of brown grass in your yard.
Move the Pool Daily to Save Grass
The best way to protect your grass from your inflatable pool is to drain it and put it away every day, and then place it in a different location the next day. That way, the same patch of grass will not be suffocated from the sun for long periods of time.
The most effective way to maintain the health of your lawn is to realistically move the pool to different locations every twelve to 24 hours. If you have the inflatable pool sitting in the same spot for more than one to two days, the grass underneath will likely suffer.
Grass, like other plants, need the following things to survive:
If your grass is being smothered by an inflatable pool, it has no way of receiving any of the three necessities it needs to live. This means the grass will go dormant to try to protect itself. Grass may start to go dormant in as little as 24 hours of being covered, so moving your pool within that time frame is imperative.
Taking the pool down daily and moving it to different spots may be easy for smaller inflatable pools but can definitely become an aggravation if you have a medium- or large-sized inflatable pool.
If you have an extremely large inflatable pool, moving it every day is probably out of the question. For larger inflatable pools, there are alternative options for protecting the grass underneath.
Put a Barrier Between the Pool and Grass
If you have a medium- or large-sized inflatable pool, you will more than likely not want to deflate it and move it every 12 to 24 hours. Keep in mind, though, that even with larger pools, you do not want to have them sit in the same spot for more than a week or two.
While they are sitting in one place, you could place something underneath to lessen the damage to your grass. Some options include:
- A large tarp
- Pool floor liner pad
- Ground cloths specifically made for above-ground pools
These products work by providing small air pockets under the pool surface that the grass can use to survive for a short amount of time.
However, there is no guarantee that if you put something under the pool that it will protect your grass from brown spots and damage. This is because it is not the weight or texture of the pool that damages the lawn. Instead, it is the suffocation for long periods of time. If you have a mat or liner pad under a pool for weeks, you may still damage your lawn.
That being said, using one of the recommendations above and still moving your pool every week or two will probably lessen the damage that would have occurred if the inflatable pool was directly on the grass.
If you start to see damaged grass even when using something underneath, you can still repair that dead or damaged grass.
Repairing Grass Damaged by an Inflatable Pool
If you cannot move your pool every 12 to 24 hours and you are unable to place one of the items listed above underneath the inflatable pool, you will probably have damaged grass by the end of the season.
This means you will need to repair the grassy area so that it does not look like a large, dead, brown spot where your pool sat.
As discussed above, your grass may go dormant to protect itself from the negative conditions of having an inflatable pool suffocating it from sunlight, air, and water for long periods of time.
When grass receives insufficient moisture, in particular, it will use dormancy as a mechanism to try to protect itself. If your grass is brownish-tan, it may be dormant.
Dormant Grass Repair
The good news is that most lawns can remain dormant for three to four weeks without dying. The following steps can bring the grass back to life after being covered for two weeks or less:
- Water the grass right away and for at least a few inches deep because it has been deprived of both water and oxygen.
- Pull all of the weeds because they will starve your grass by taking away the nutrients it needs to get back its green color and start growing fully again.
- Dormant grass actually grows at a much slower rate, so many people think it does not need to be mowed. However, mowing the grass will help the grass grow back.
- Leave the grass clippings on the lawn so that they naturally fertilize the grass as it starts to grow back. Do not use store-bought fertilizer, as it will not bring the lawn out of dormancy, and the blades will return more quickly than the roots.
- After you water, pull the weeds, mow, and fertilize, you will want to reduce foot traffic in the area as much as possible to protect the grass and give it time to repair.
If you do not have time to complete the steps above right away, watering will not make your grass turn green, but it will at least keep it alive until you can repair the dormant grass properly. Watering is still the most important step when fully repairing it.
Repairing Dead Grass
If you remove your inflatable pool just to realize you did kill your grass, do not fret.
The steps to repairing dead grass are actually very similar to repairing dormant grass except for one thing: sowing new seeds. Yes, you will need to reseed the area since the grass is, in fact, dead and will never grow again. Here are the steps like above:
- Pull the weeds
- Mow the grass
- Fertilize with store-bought compost, organic matter, lawn food, or turf builder
- Reduce foot traffic in the area
- Overseed the area
You notice that the fertilizing and reseeding steps are the key differences for repairing dead grass since dormant grass does not need store-bought fertilizer or seeds. In the case of dead grass, you will want to purchase compost, organic matter, lawn food, or turf builder to help your new seeds grow.
The easiest way to protect your grass from an inflatable pool is to simply set it up on a driveway, deck, or porch with some padding underneath to protect your children’s feet and knees. However, we know that this is not always an option and is less than ideal.
When your pool is on grass, you will need to move it every 12 to 24 hours to protect the grass underneath throughout the summer months.
We suggest buying a smaller inflatable pool so that you can easily move the pool to a new spot each day.
If you cannot move the pool, putting something underneath to allow air and water to reach the grass could help.
If you end up removing your inflatable pool only to find dormant or dead grass, there are options to repair and revive the grassy area for next year. The best way to keep an inflatable pool from killing your grass is to not have it suffocate the area from air, water, and sunlight for long periods of time. This is the best way to keep your grass green.