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How Far Should Trees be Planted From a Pool?

Do you intend on doing landscaping around your pool area? Perhaps you are considering planting some trees.

There are a few factors that you should keep in mind before selecting or even planting the trees, such as the distance between the trees and the pool.

Ideally, trees should be planted a minimum of five to six feet (1.5 to 2 m) away from the edge of the pool. But only if they have a contained root system. Some root systems grow horizontally while others grow straight down. Trees with horizontal root systems should be planted much further away.

Key Considerations When Planting Trees Around a Pool

There’s something about the colors of a maple tree during the changing of the season. Or, palm trees that are strategically placed around a tranquil pool make you feel like you’re on a tropical island.

It’s a fact that trees lend a certain ambiance to an outdoor space, and even more so if the right trees frame the edge of your garden, beautifully placed around your pool.

But, before you rush off to the local nursery to purchase trees for your landscaping project, there are a few key points to consider. 

Backyard pool with trees

How Close Should I Plant Trees to My Pool

Your first and probably most important consideration is how close a tree should be planted to the pool.

The material that the pool is made of should be your first clue. Some pools, such as gunite pools, offer more flexibility as the structure of these pools tends to be more resistant to invasive root systems. Vinyl and fiberglass pools, on the other hand, are much less resistant and invasive root systems can easily cause damage to these pools.

In addition to the structure of the pool, you should be considering the spread of the root system. As mentioned before, some roots grow straight down while others spread to resemble the canopy of the tree. 

Ideally, plant trees with root systems that grow straight down, about five feet (1.5 m) away from the edge of the pool. This allows for proper tree and root growth and development. If there isn’t sufficient space around the pool, consider planting trees that have less opportunistic root systems, such as banana or citrus trees. 

Do Tree Roots Damage Pools and Pool Decks?

You may be wondering if the roots can cause damage to your pool. 

The short answer is yes, they can. But, chances are that your surrounding patio will take most of the hit. That’s because the roots may actually grow around the structure or shell of the pool but the concrete and pavers around the edge of the pool may lift.

Invasive root systems may also cause damage to the plumbing system, the area around the pool, and the structure of the pool as time progresses. 

There are certain types of trees that have a very widespread root system that should not be near a pool, including:

  • Eucalyptus trees
  • Willow trees
  • Oak trees
  • Elder trees
  • Pine trees
  • Elms trees

Furthermore, if you have a leak in your pool, this may be a cause for concern. The roots of the trees tend to grow toward the area where there’s a leak in order to soak up any additional water. 

Deciduous vs. Evergreen Trees For Pools

Evergreen trees remain green year-round and are aesthetically pleasing. And, while they maintain their beautiful green hue and leaves throughout the year, they do tend to shed leaves throughout the year as well. Deciduous trees, on the other hand, only shed leaves during the fall and winter months. 

Leaf drop is not necessarily the only concern. Consider the fact that leaves falling into your pool may cause algae to form. The leaves, flowers, seedpods, and falling fruit/debris may be sucked into the pool filter and frequently block it up.

When leaves fall into the pool, they start to break down. This is problematic as the leaves may change the pH balance of the water in the pool. In addition to this, the leaves may cause discoloration and you’ll need extra chlorine to keep the water clean. 

In addition, if shading near the pool area is a concern for you, keep in mind that the pools are most likely not used during the autumn and winter months. And, therefore, it does not require shading throughout the year. 

How to open an above ground pool for the summer
Leaves that shed off from trees near the pool

Keeping Bees, Critters, and Insects Away from the Pool Area

Certain trees are prone to attracting bees, birds, and other insects. 

Birds may be problematic as they could soil the pool, furniture, and surrounding area with bird droppings. Furthermore, as previously stated, trees attract other small animals such as squirrels that may fall into the pool with no way of getting out. This poses a health risk to you and your family. 

Another problem with certain types of trees is that they become a host for bees or wasp nests. Apart from the constant annoyance of having insects around the pool area, there’s the risk of anyone swimming or simply being close to those trees.

For these reasons, it is especially important to know which trees are better suited to landscaping close to swimming pools and which trees to avoid. 

Is Pollen a Problem for Pools?

Some trees produce pollen. 

Trees such as oak, cypress, and olive trees are known to produce pollen. If these trees are situated close to your pool, you may end up in a nightmare situation. 

The pollen will end up falling into the water. If left untreated, it may cause algae to form which will turn your pool green. Algae thrive in pools with little to no chlorine. And the pollen will make your pool dirty. Apart from this, the pollen stays in the filter and baskets of the pool, causing them to become blocked. 

Flowering Pink Honeysuckle with Pollens

Consider Trees for Shade and Water Temperature

Most people request to have evergreen trees planted around the pool area. 

Trees with wide-reaching canopies can provide shade for your pool area in the summer. Trees that extend over, or at least close to the pool, provide shade and help to regulate the pool temperature during the summertime by preventing it from becoming too hot. 

And, while shading and a cooler pool are excellent during the summer months, the leaf drop from these trees can cause other unwanted problems. As previously mentioned, falling leaves can change the balance of the water and clog the filters, not to mention the danger of potential falling branches and other debris.

For this reason, a lot of people request to have evergreen trees planted near the pool as it is believed that these trees do not shed leaves. 

The truth, however, is that instead of shedding once a year, these trees shed leaves throughout the year. 

Which Trees are Best to Plant Close to the Pool

Certain trees are simply better choices when it comes to choosing to landscape for your pool area. Here are three of the best trees to plant near your pool area:

Pink Banana Trees

Pink banana trees have large, waxy leaves that can offer shading during the summer months. Banana trees do not have invasive roots and do not shed leaves as other trees do. Plus, visually, these trees are a treat for the eyes. 

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Palm Trees

As long as you are not growing the palm trees in an enclosed area, they are perfect for planting near a pool. The root system is also not invasive, leaf drop is not a major concern, and the tree will offer sufficient lighting and shade in the summer. 

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Hinoki Cypress

These evergreen conifers add density and texture to your garden. The roots of the Hinoki Cypress are not invasive, the tree is evergreen, and these trees are visually pleasing. While the tree can grow up to 75 feet (23 m), landscapers often clip it to remain in the 20 to 25 feet (6 to 8 m) range. 

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Which Trees are the Worst to Plant Close to the Pool

For this section, I have only selected two trees. We do however have a full article on the worst trees here: 30 of the Worst Trees to Have Around a Swimming Pool

Elm Trees

As beautiful as they are, these trees have very invasive root systems that can wreak havoc on your pool structure, plumbing, and the area around the pool. Their canopy is large and wide with leaf drops throughout the year. 

Oak Trees

These trees produce a large amount of debris. In addition, they are known for their large and aggressive root systems. The root system on these trees has the ability to damage the drainage and plumbing around the pool area.

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