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Trees That Shouldn't Be Planted by Swimming Pools

By Michelle Miley
Home with a backyard swimming pool.
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Done properly, landscaping is the perfect finishing touch for your new pool. Choose the wrong plants, however, and you'll be regretting your choices for years to come. Putting the wrong plants too close to your pool can cause plumbing problems and filtration issues and could even damage the pool itself or the concrete around it. Some plants could stain your pool deck and pool surface as well. Be sure to avoid problem plants when landscaping around your pool.

Deciduous Trees

Large oak tree growing in grass field.
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Deciduous trees are those that lose their leaves in the fall. When the leaves on these trees inevitably drop, many of them will fall directly into or blow into your pool, forcing you to spend a lot of time cleaning it. For that reason, trees like oaks (Quercus spp.) and beech trees (Fagus spp.) should be avoided near pools. Many species of oak grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, but some prefer the cooler end of that spectrum. Beech trees are found in zones 3 through 8. As is true of oaks, however, beech tree hardiness varies somewhat by variety.

Say No to Litterbugs

Close-up of pine tree needles growing on branch.
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Leaves aren't the only things that fall off trees and into pools. Evergreens that drop needles can be problematic, as can those that drop pine cones -- stepping on them in your bare feet is not a good time. Avoid evergreens known to drop a lot of needles, like white pine (Pinus strobus), near your pool. White pine is found in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 7. Avoid plants that drop lots of flower petals, seed pods and fruit as well. Found in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8, red mulberry trees (Morus rubra) produce messy, staining red fruits that are best kept away from pools.

Thorny Propositions

Close-up of thorns on honey locust tree.
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Ask a local nursery worker to help you choose plants free of thorns and other potentially dangerous plants to have near people dressed in swimwear. No one wants to back into the thorny trunk of a honeylocust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos) wearing nothing but a swimsuit. This could be a potential problem for those living in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8 where these trees are found. The same is true of the silk floss tree (Chorisia speciosa) sometimes grown in Southern California. This tree enjoys USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11 but will not be enjoyed by guests to your pool.

Strong Roots

Large weeping willow tree.
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Found throughout USDA hardiness zones 2 through 9, weeping willows (Salix spp.) are often found growing by ponds and streams. This is because they like moist soils and will stretch their roots toward any nearby water source. When your pool is that water source, the searching roots are likely to damage the concrete, liner and plumbing system of your pool. To avoid pool damage, it is best not to plant willows and other water-seeking species near your pool, including aspens (Populus spp.), silver maples (Acer saccharinum) and American elm trees (Ulmus americana). These trees grow in USDA zones 1 through 7, 3 through 9, and zones 2 through 9, respectively.


About the Author


Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.