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Question: I am looking for a very large tree to provide shade for my pool area. I am in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, and the back of my home faces west; so as you can imagine, I am in dire need of some shade. I have some ideas in mind – Red Oak, Shumard Oak, or some sort of Elm. My fear is that the roots will damage my pool underground. Do any of these varieties have an extensive root system that I should worry about?


Gaye and Peter: We don’t recommend using large trees to landscape your swimming pool area. The trees that have non-invasive roots tend to grow very slowly. You’ll be waiting a long time before you’ll get much shade.

Instead, we suggest installing an arbor or a pergola on the western edge of your pool. A climbing evergreen vine on the structure will fill it in and give you additional shade.

Besides considering invasive root systems, here are some other tips for planting around your swimming pool:

  • Choose only evergreen trees and shrubs so you won’t have to clean leaves from your pool (but watch out for pine trees that shed pinecones and needles). Hollies are one good alternative.
  • Stay away from flowering trees and shrubs or flowers that attract bees.
  • Avoid fruit-bearing trees and shrubs as they will also attract bees.

The garden style you want should also be taken into account when considering landscape options around your swimming pool. Here are a couple of examples:

  • For a tropical look, use palms like excelsior palms, because they aren’t huge or messy.
  • For a more natural pond-like swimming pool, ornamental grasses are beautiful because of their texture and the way they sway in the breeze.

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