Grass Smells Like Manure Under Paddling Pool | How To Avoid

Has this ever happened to you? One moment you’re enjoying your summer vacation and your portable pool…The next moment you’re wondering, why the grass smells like manure under the paddling pool.

Gross, right? But you don’t want to stop your pool time fun. So what do you do? And why does it smell so bad? Did you put the pool on top of your dog’s favorite go-to place? No! It’s just a natural function of grass.

Why Does It Smell Like Manure Under My Swimming Pool?

Why manure? Because your grass has begun to compost itself. The smell that comes from rotting or decaying grass is very similar to manure. You’ll recognize it if you’ve got a compost yourself. Anything that goes into your compost bin (grass, raked leaves, weeds, etc.) becomes really wet, heavy, warm, and SMELLY! This is because everything inside is decaying. 

The same thing goes for under your pool. Grass will start to die if it can’t reach sunlight or oxygen. And like anything else, when it dies, it decays. 

Grass under your pool will rot if there’s:

  • Too much moisture
  • Too much nitrogen
  • Not enough oxygen
  • Not enough sunlight

It can get especially smelly if there’s mold in the grass too. The mold will get trapped under the pool, right in a dark, warm place where it can thrive.

Grass Smells Like Manure Under Paddling Pool
Decomposing Lawn

How Long Before Lawn Starts Rotting

When your grass can’t get sun and oxygen for 24 hours, it will become “dormant”. Dormant grass won’t grow, but it shouldn’t rot either. You can generally bring a dormant patch back to its full strength by leaving it open to the air, watering it thoroughly, and generally giving it a lot of help and attention.

If your grass remains cut off from sunlight and air for more than two weeks, then it will begin to die. Dead grass will naturally decay, so you generally can leave your pool in one place for two weeks before the lawn beneath starts to rot.

How Do You Get Rid of Smelly Grass After Pool Removal?

There are two ways to really salvage your lawn after you’ve put the pool away:

  1. Dig up the affected area
  2. Rake and rehabilitate 


This is the perfect time to put in a flower bed or a new patio. If neither appeals to you, you can still dig up the affected patch of lawn and either sow grass or put down new sod. 

Throw the damaged grass into your garbage so it’s away from your lawn and can’t stink it up anymore.

Raking and Rehabilitating

Using a garden rake you can scrape up most of the dead grass and throw it away. You can then rehabilitate the remaining area to get your lawn back good as new!

Lingering Odors

If the odor still lingers, baking soda is a convenient way to remove the smell. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda to one quart of water to make a solution. Pour this solution into a spray bottle and spray the dead grass patch in your yard. 

Baking soda is very safe to use on your lawn. It can also help rehabilitate dead patches and prevent mold growth. Just be sure to keep your dog off that area so they don’t try to get rid of the scent the only way they know how. 

How Long Does Decomposing Grass Smell For

Unfortunately, decomposing grass will smell until it’s done decomposing. Like any decaying life form, this could take weeks or months. The best way to remove the smell is to remove the grass entirely or to remove most of it and try and reseed. 

How to Revive Grass After Removing Pool

If your grass is dead, use these steps to revive it:

  1. Till 
  2. Plant
  3. Water
  4. Weed
  5. Mow 
  6. Fertilize 
  7. Avoid


Using a shovel, trowel, or a garden hoe, break up the soil. You’re essentially aerating the area to let the oxygen in, and also breaking up the roots of the dead grass to let newer shoots in.

Sowing Seeds

Be plentiful! Spread your grass seeds! The more, the better, because you don’t want this patch of lawn to grow up…patchy. 


Water the area right down to the first few inches of soil. This might seem like overkill, but it isn’t. Your dead lawn patch desperately needs water, nutrients, air, and sunlight. Don’t be afraid to let it have them.


Don’t let weeds take root in your new grass. They’ll take over like ruthless dictators, and before you know it, there won’t be any grass left. 


Don’t avoid mowing. Keep doing it as you normally would, as this will help stimulate new growth within your lawn.


Rehabilitating your lawn needs strong fertilizer, so go for the lawn food, the turf builder, or even good old compost to get those nutrients.

Avoid the Area

Keep off this patch at all costs until the grass is firm and healthy. That means no dog activity, no kids running over it, and no turning it into a mud hole.  

How to Prevent Lawn from Rotting Under Pool

There are three main ways to prevent your lawn from rotting under your pool:

  • Use sand under your pool to improve airflow
  • Move your pool
  • Keep it off your lawn

Sand or Tarps

If you sprinkle sand on the grass under your pool, it will soak up all the bad smells you get from the rot. Your lawn might still receive damage, but it won’t smell nearly as bad.

Placing a tarp or similar under your pool can help save your grass. It can prevent excess moisture from getting trapped underneath, leading to mold. It can also help create air pockets that will keep your grass alive for longer. 

Move the Pool

If you’re able, routinely move your pool to a different spot on your lawn. This will allow for sun and oxygen to reach all the grass to prevent it from dying.

Keep the Pool off the Lawn

Moving your pool onto a patio or a deck will help you avoid the manure smell entirely, saving your lawn from decaying. 

Verdict: Grass Smells Like Manure Under Paddling Pool

Decomposing grass can leave a blemish on your lawn and a stench in the air. It’ll start decaying after two weeks if it can’t reach air or sunlight.

So, if you’re asking yourself why “the grass smells like manure under my paddling pool,” moving the dead grass and reseeding it will help save your yard and its pleasant scents.

In the long term, it’s worth thinking more strategically about where you place your pool. After all, you neither want to disappoint the kids nor put up with that awful manure smell from returning.