South Florida pools are no longer just a place to cool off, as landscaping has turned them into tropical paradises. The area's tropical weather makes year-round growing conditions for many plants and trees. If you're thinking about planting trees near your South Florida swimming pool, as when planting any type of vegetation by a pool, consider the trees' growth potential and requirements before adding it to your pool's landscape. The last thing any gardener wants is to plant a tree and have to remove it several years later due to poor planning that damages or mars the aesthetic value of the swimming pool.
Draw up a plan of your pool planting areas, figuring how much space you have between the pool deck and the actual planting areas, and how big the planting area is going to be. Consider if you are planting inside a screened enclosure or outside in the yard. This will give you a better idea of how much actual space you have as well as help you decide which trees will do best with the space allowed.
Think low-maintenance when you are selecting trees for the area around the pool. South Florida is windy at times, so consider a tree's leaf-dropping tendency when selecting varieties. Deciduous trees will drop their leaves in fall and winter, creating a messy pool and deck. The bigger the tree's leaves are, the easier they will be to clean up if they drop into the water or on the deck. And don't forget about fruit! Even palms such as the queen palm can be messy when they produce fruit, as the fruit drops in huge bunches upon the ground when ripe.
Plant trees around the pool that do not have invasive root systems, as South Florida temperatures allow for year-round growth. Avoid planting species such as ficus, willow and mulberry, which have expanding root systems, in close proximity of the pool. If pipes break, these trees' roots will seek the water and can crack your pool or deck.
Consider the tree's height and spreading habit at maturity, when selecting a tree for the pool area. If planting inside of a 20-foot-high screened enclosure, you do not want to plant a tree that will grow taller than that. Allow enough room between the planted tree's natural spread and the pool deck so people can walk by without having to brush up against it.
Select trees that are tolerant to salt. Chlorinated water contains salt, and when draining a pool the salty water will affect a tree's growth. Many palms such as foxtail, areca and Christmas are salt-tolerant, as are small trees such as white bird of paradise, frangipani and seagrape. They also require little maintenance and have small root systems.
Avoid planting trees that have sharp edges or spines such as certain date palms or hollies. You do not want people to get cut by the trees' sharp edges or by thorns. Stick with thornless trees that have smooth edges and leaves.