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Thread: Toxic leaves in pool?

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    Toxic leaves in pool?

    I know that Oleander plants are terribly toxic. Cook a hot dog on a stick from Oleander and eating it will kill you. Scratch your eye walking through the leaves and you may go blind. Make tea from the leaves and someone dies.

    So, my pool has a LOT of Oleander plants around it. I find leaves and flowers in the skimmers often, maybe a leaf or 3 daily. I am very good about keeping the pool clean but I got to thinking -- the pool is almost 10 years old. I doubt that it has ever been drained. But for the small leak that was going on since it was installed, now fixed, there has only been rainwater replacement.

    Now, Houston gets 85 inches of rain a year, and the leak had me refilling 1.5 inches a week. So it had been getting 13.5 feet of new water a year, probably. Now, with no leak, I only have rain less the evaporation of 1/4 inch a day avg which is pretty much the same as the rain over the year. So, going forward, this water is not really going to be changed out very much.

    So, do I need to worry whether these toxic leaves will slowly poison us? I kinda hate to chop them all down, husband thinks they are lovely and they bloom now until frost it seems. I get weirded out when I have to go back into them to weed or anything, worrying about poking myself in the eye as I trip over stupid rocks back there.

    Anyone know about this? I may also write to the local newspaper gardener to see her opinion.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Toxic leaves in pool?

    I've been waiting to see a more informed person t respond to this but I'll throw my 2 cents in anyhow.

    I've had Oleander around me nearly my whole life. I climb into them when trimming and pick up the leaves from the skimmer by hand. I don't know for sure but I would think the organic toxins of the plant would break down in the chlorine of the pool. I still would not drink Oleander tea even if it was made from chlorinated water and anytime you poke your eye with anything, you risk losing sight in that eye.

    Anyway, still waiting for someone better educated to chime in.
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Re: Toxic leaves in pool?

    Oleander toxins are complex organic molecules which will be readily broken down by chlorine. As long as you are maintaining proper chlorine levels you should be fine.

    The toxic dose varies somewhat from plant to plant, but you would typically need to eat ten to twenty leaves before you were in serious trouble. They taste terrible and will cause you to gag, so it is quite difficult to eat that much. Only infants will normally be at any real risk from a scratch. Adults typically only get some mild and temporary numbness from scratches. SImilar effects can also happen if the sap gets on your skin.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Toxic leaves in pool?

    Thanks Jason,

    Oleander borders the north side of my pool. I love the blossoms!
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

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