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How to Protect Your Plants While Pressure Washing

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When talking about protecting things against pressure washing, the most common advice is just to move the object. For example, if you don’t want your brand-new golf clubs to get wet, you simply put them inside. Don’t want the lawn chair cushions soaked? Put them at the other end of the yard. But what about the plants? Relocating a tree to your living room for an afternoon is a bit of a challenge in this economy, so let’s look at some alternatives. 

One of the best preventative measures you can take is being spatially aware: knowing where all your sensitive plants are, and spraying in a way that shields them. This will get you through a lot of tough situations when pressure washing in a backyard, but not all. In some cases, it’s not practical to angle the washer in a way that keeps your plants safe. For those times, we got a few more tricks to keep things safe.


To say that flowers get absolutely obliterated under a pressure washer would be an understatement. But for those times that you can’t avoid washing in the direction of your plants, tarps are your best friends. The type we’re looking for is a rugged, durable tarp. Think of the kind that a dad would cover the car he’s been working on for 30+ years in his garage with. The tarp must be tough enough not to break when hit with a pressure washer, but not give way and transfer the force to the plant. If you have a pool, the covering for it would be a good option to use in this situation.

This type of tarp would also be useful for protecting trees, specifically their bark. Much like their petaled friends, pressure washers can seriously mess up tree bark. Our big green friends deserve better than that. To keep the tree safe, you can wrap the tarp around its trunk. Tape or tie the tarp in place and you should be good to go.

The one thing to remember when it comes to wrapping plants is the time. Like us, plants don’t like being stuck under tarps for too long. Be sure to take them out from underneath their shelter as soon as you’re done to allow them to breathe again.

Plant-Safe Chemicals

It’s common to forget that the chemicals we use on our surfaces to clean end up back on the ground. If you were to bleach and pressure wash a plastic chair on grass, your lawn would absorb all the bleach runoff from the chair. While bleach in low enough concentrations won’t do much to harm your plants, the higher the concentration, the more likely you’ll end up harming your lawn. If you’re unsure how to use bleach safely, there are plenty of plant-safe cleaning solutions to pair with your washer.


Sometimes using chemical cleaners is unavoidable, especially when you’re going after tough stains, mold, or mildew. Be sure to consider how the used water from your pressure washer drains – ideally away from your garden or plants that are especially sensitive to changes in pH levels. While low concentrations of bleach will degrade, higher concentrations of bleach or other detergents can leach into the soil before they safely break down.

Lower Settings

Contrary to popular belief, pressure washers have less intense options. If you’re in a situation where you don’t need the full power, then don’t use full power. Wider nozzles give you greater area coverage with a much safer pressure level. I wouldn’t recommend cleaning your prized tulips with a pressure washer, even at lower settings, but any glancing hits will be quite safe. Be sure to research the best nozzle for your job so as to protect not just your plants, but the material you’re washing, better.

Plants give us amazing things, like great aesthetics and very Instagrammable backgrounds. They also give us less amazing things, like oxygen and pollen. As such, looking out for our photosynthesizing friends is in our best interest. Lucky for us, they make it pretty easy by being predictable. We know where they’ll always be, so there’s no reason we can’t go out of our way a bit to protect them. 

If you really want to make sure that they’ll be safe, give us a call. We can take care of any pressure washing while guaranteeing the safety of your greens.

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