Table of Contents
- What Is Soft Water?
- Can You Water Your Lawn With Soft Water, Will It Kill The Grass?
- What You Can Do If You Have Softened Water
- What To Do If You Have Already Used Soft Water To Treat Your Plants
- Final Words
Some individuals think that to keep your lawn looking healthy and vibrant green, you must water it a lot.
However, it is not always about the amount of water you are using to water your lawn. Instead, the minerals and salts in the water are also essential.
Not all areas get the same type of water, some get hard water, and some have softened water. You may think it doesn't matter which one you're using for watering your lawn, but it does! Therefore, today we will be examining whether softened water is bad for grass and can you use it for lawn care?
What Is Soft Water?
Before we delve into the details about lawn care and which water you should be using, let us take a look at what soft water is. Soft water is free from or has very tiny concentrations of dissolved salts of metals such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron.
Unlike hard water, there are no sulfates, bicarbonates, and carbonates of the previously mentioned metals in soft water.
On the other hand, softened water has excess sodium, and we will be discussing the effects of this in detail further below in this article. Soft water forms lather with soap, whereas hard water does not. All in all, you should be grateful if you get soft water instead of hard water.
Soft water is much better for your hair, skin, is safe to drink, and does not form ugly-looking deposits, unlike hard water. However, when it comes to using soft water for watering your lawn, it is not all that great. Let us dive into the details about that below.
Can You Water Your Lawn With Soft Water, Will It Kill The Grass?
Although soft water is fantastic for most household chores, it is not suitable for lawn care, except for a few exceptions. Almost all plants are unable to tolerate very high levels of sodium and salts.
As we have mentioned before, softened water contains excessive amounts of sodium, which means that it will cause harm to your lawn.
Due to the excess sodium in soft water, the water balance in the plants of your lawn will be ruined, and we all know how important having the right water balance is for plants to stay healthy and grow.
What the excess sodium and salts do is that they trigger osmosis which causes the plants to be dehydrated. Due to the excess sodium from salts, the plants are tricked into thinking that they have taken more water than they actually have. This ruins the water balance in the plant, and makes the plant dehydrated.
It is vital for you not to use soft water for lawn care and always check what water you are using. Often, lawn owners will do everything just right and put in a lot of effort.
For example, they aerate, fertilize, pick out the weeds, water in the morning, and do not even overwater, and yet their lawns will still be looking dull if they are accidentally using soft water.
These effects of using soft water do not show after a few days of use. After consistent usage of soft water for your lawn, your plants will begin to look unhealthy, and some may even die by becoming dehydrated. Grass tends to have a very high tolerance of salts.
1 kilogram of grass leaves can tolerate a maximum of around 2300mg of salt. Yet still, the soft water may dehydrate your grass so much to the point where they might die, and then all you will have is a dead lawn of crunching leaves.
Furthermore, soft water also ruins the quality of the soil due to its dehydrating tendency. This means the plants you will plant in the future in the same soil may be in danger of the effects of soft water.
Cases In Which Soft Water Is Not All Bad
If you have been reading with some focus, you have probably noticed that we have said that a few plants are not so intolerant to salts and sodium. Among these plants which can tolerate soft water are oak trees, ferns, and even maple trees.
However, this does not explicitly mean that these plants will thrive more in the presence of high levels of salts and sodium. It just means that saltwater cannot inflict much harm upon these plants.
What You Can Do If You Have Softened Water
As we have said previously, soft water is generally much better for almost all household uses besides watering your plants. Hence, we would never suggest you switch to a hard water supply.
If you have soft water, you don't have to worry about ruining your lawn at all; there are plenty of ways you can resolve this issue. Without any further ado, let us jump right into discussing the solutions!
Go Green, And Use Rainwater
If you live in an area where you have regular rainfall, this might be the perfect alternative for you. All you have to do is keep a large barrel outside where it can collect rainwater, or if you don't have that, you can also use a garbage can.
Rainwater is soft water given by nature, which means it neither has high concentrations of dissolved minerals nor excessive amounts of salts and sodium.
Collecting rainwater for lawn care may sound like a lot of work, but in reality, all you have to do is keep your barrel or garbage can outside. However, if you live in a dry climate with barely any rainfall, you will be missing out on this solution.
Dilute The Soft Water
A solution you may be able to apply if you are not able to collect a decent volume of rainwater is that you can dilute the soft water you get from your water supply. If you mix in enough rainwater and distilled water with the soft water, the plants in your lawn may very well be able to tolerate the water.
Using A Bypass Valve
A water softener softens water from your supply, so you can resolve your problem of getting soft water for your lawn by installing a bypass valve. You will have to get this valve installed before the water reaches the water softener.
As its name suggests, this valve will make some water bypass the water softening treatment.
After you have installed a bypass valve, you will have to link it to a tap or an outlet where you will get the water for watering your lawn.
In this way, your lawn will be free of high concentrations of sodium and salts, which means with proper care, you can have a beautiful lawn!
Additionally, the great thing about this solution is that it is for everyone since it is not climate-specific. This makes it one of the best and most convenient alternatives if you have a soft water supply.
Soften Your Water With Salt-Free Softeners
It is a myth that you need salt in your water softener to remove the build-up of minerals.
Lately, companies have become more aware of the issues that come with the excess sodium and salts after water softening treatment, which is why many companies have come up with salt-free water softener systems.
They are definitely more expensive than traditional water softener systems, but they are certainly a good purchase if you care for your lawn!
What To Do If You Have Already Used Soft Water To Treat Your Plants
Do not think it is too late if you have already treated your plants with soft water. If it has not been long since you have been treating your plants with soft water, stop and start using regular water or rainwater, and your lawn should be fine.
Even if it has been a little while, your plants might take some time and recover upon consistent usage of regular water.
However, you must also reduce the salt content of your soil if you have used soft water for a while, and to do that; you will have to carry out a process called leaching.
All you will have to do is flush out the salt and sodium by pouring a lot of untreated water. Keep in mind to have proper drainage when you are doing this to prevent your plants and grass from becoming waterlogged.
Having a bright green lawn with your house will create countless precious memories for you, so we hope you take good care of yourself. Now coming back to our main question, is softened water bad for grass?
In short, you should not use soft water for watering your lawn unless it is naturally soft like rainwater, and yes, it is bad for your grass and may even kill the grass.