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Plants to Avoid Near Pool: Invasive, Messy & High-Maintenance (2023)

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plants should not plant near poolPicture the oasis in your backyard, with a sparkling pool surrounded by swaying palms and vibrant flowers. But not so fast! The wrong plants can turn your paradise into a nightmare of maintenance and mess.

Certain trees and plants simply don’t belong poolside. Their roots, leaves, berries, or habits can damage the pool or make upkeep a chore.

Before finalizing your poolside flora, learn which varieties to embrace or avoid.

Table Of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid trees with invasive roots and messy fruits.
  • Choose container plants to control root growth.
  • Focus on native and non-toxic plants.
  • Opt for low-maintenance and pest-resistant plants.

Trees to Avoid Near Your Pool

Trees to Avoid Near Your Pool
When choosing trees for your poolside landscape, steer clear of varieties with invasive roots, excessive leaf drop, or messy fruits and flowers. Opt instead for trees that enhance the area without creating pool maintenance headaches or safety hazards from slippery walkways and decks.

Trees With Invasive Root Systems

When choosing trees for your poolside, avoid invasive-rooted trees like willows that could damage your pool liner. Instead, opt for small ornamental trees in planters to control roots. Add a thick root barrier around in-ground trees.

Focus on native plants suited for poolside soil conditions. Consider small trees that won’t outgrow the space. With thoughtful selection and barriers, you can safely incorporate trees into your poolside oasis.

Trees With Excessive Leaf Drop

You should avoid trees such as cottonwoods or silver maples that will litter your pool with fallen leaves. A staggering 10,000-12,000 leaves can drop off from just one mature silver maple tree in a single autumn season.

Choose low-maintenance trees like palms, citrus, or banana plants that will not bombard your pool with messy debris. Conduct thorough research and carefully select trees that will not create headaches by the poolside.

Trees With Messy Fruit or Flowers

As certain fruit trees beautifully bloom, their fallen petals and fruit become a bothersome nuisance around the pool. To maintain your poolside oasis, it’s crucial to avoid these messy options. Consider the table below to make informed decisions about your landscaping.

Minimize the hassle of constant cleanup and ensure a serene pool experience by steering clear of these plants.

Messy Fruit Trees Flowering Tree Selection Landscape Cleanup Strategies
Mulberry Magnolia Regular Pruning
Cherry Crabapple Use of Tarps
Fig Callery Pear Proper Mulching

Choose your poolside plant choices wisely to attract animals, enhance aesthetics, and create a relaxing environment. With careful consideration, you’ll have a clean and inviting pool area that aligns with your desire for tranquility and control.

High-Maintenance Plants to Avoid

High-Maintenance Plants to Avoid
When selecting plants for your pool area, you’ll want to avoid high-maintenance varieties that require regular pruning or attract pests. Plants with thorns and spines can also be inconvenient and should be avoided, as they can tear pool furniture and puncture pool toys.

Plants Requiring Regular Pruning

Aim to minimize regular pruning work with your poolside planting choices.

  • Plants like crepe myrtles require frequent pruning for shape and size control.
  • Rose bushes need regular deadheading and trimming to encourage new growth.
  • Bushes like boxwood benefit from shearing but require frequent attention.
  • Hydrangeas often require pruning to control size and promote blooms.

Opt for lower maintenance varieties that require less frequent pruning to reduce poolside maintenance.

Plants With Thorns or Spines

Many thorny plants can hinder relaxation around the pool, so steer clear of prickly options like cacti or bougainvillea when designing your oasis. Opt for smooth, thornless plants to foster relaxation and safety around the pool.

Sharp thorns pose concerns like cuts, scrapes, clothing damage, and punctured pool toys. Avoid these hazardous, spiky plants so your poolside remains a peaceful retreat.

Plant Name: Cacti

Location to Avoid: Pool edge, pathways

Safety Issues: Punctures, scrapes

Plant Name: Bougainvillea

Location to Avoid: Trellises, fences, arbors

Safety Issues: Scratches, clothing damage

Plant Name: Roses

Location to Avoid: Beds, borders

Safety Issues: Prickly stems and thorns

Plant Name: Pyracantha

Location to Avoid: Hedges, screens

Safety Issues: Sharp thorns on stems

Plant Name: Agave

Location to Avoid: Garden beds, pots

Safety Issues: Spiky leaves can cut

Plants That Attract Pests or Bees

Avoid agave, milkweed, and any flowering plants that would attract bothersome bees if you want to keep your pool area from being a nuisance. Seek insect-repelling plants like citronella, marigolds, basil, and lavender for poolside relaxation.

Opt for trees that provide privacy without attracting pests, such as palms and fruit trees.

Trees With Aggressive Growth Habits

Trees With Aggressive Growth Habits
When selecting trees to plant near your pool, avoid varieties with aggressive growth habits that can end up causing issues. Trees like willows, poplars, and mulberries have invasive root systems that can easily damage pool structures, while fast-growing trees like empress trees and silver maples can quickly block sunlight and views or disrupt maintenance access around the pool area.

Trees That Can Cause Structural Damage

Thou must steer clear of trees with aggressive root systems that may upheave concrete or cause foundation damage, such as willows or poplars, when planning thy poolside paradise. Opt for trees less likely to grow invasive root systems or disrupt foundations, or employ root barrier solutions and professional arborist consultations to prevent ground movement and structural impact from unruly trees.

Mind advised tree distance guidelines, and assess thoroughly a tree’s potential for disrupting thy poolside structures.

Trees That Can Block Sunlight or Views

Select trees wisely to maintain sunlight and open views by your poolside. Position trees to avoid blocking desirable sightlines or plunging your pool into excessive shade. Consider the tree’s mature height and spread, along with your local climate and sun patterns.

Site trees to allow sunlight to bathe pool and deck areas when desired, opening your space visually while fostering a tranquil ambiance.

Trees That Can Disrupt Pool Maintenance

You’ll discover that willows weep a mess around pools with their prolific leaf litter. Installing root barriers around disease-prone, invasive trees like willows prevents roots from rupturing pipes. Regular shearing of branches that overhang the pool helps reduce debris cleanup.

For maintenance-friendly poolside landscaping, select pest and litter-resistant plants.

Plants With Excessive Pollen or Allergens

Plants With Excessive Pollen or Allergens
When designing your poolside landscape, steer clear of trees and plants that release excessive pollen or allergens, as these can detract from the relaxing environment. Avoid choosing oaks, birches, elms, poplars, junipers, mulberries, or male yucca plants, which are major pollen producers that can trigger allergic reactions or respiratory issues.

Trees That Release Excessive Pollen

When landscaping your pool area, avoid trees like acacias and willows that release excessive amounts of allergy-triggering pollen. Instead, choose low-pollen alternatives such as crepe myrtles, redbuds, magnolias, hollies, dogwoods, palms, figs, olives, and fruitless mulberries.

Carefully selecting plants can help create a lush and tranquil poolside oasis without exacerbating allergies.

Plants That Can Trigger Allergic Reactions

Your poolside area should avoid ragweed and goldenrod, which can stir up allergies. Some plants release pollen or oils that trigger allergic reactions or skin irritation in sensitive individuals. When designing your poolside landscape, steer clear of species like oak trees, ornamental grasses, and flowering plants such as sunflowers or chrysanthemums, which are common allergy triggers.

Prioritize your guests’ comfort by selecting less allergenic options that provide beauty without sacrificing safety.

Plants That May Cause Respiratory Issues

Ouch, hold your breath by the pool ’cause those mulberry trees are gonna make you wheeze for weeks with their pollen overload!

  • Oak trees
  • Grasses
  • Ragweed
  • Molds

Certain trees and plants can worsen respiratory issues like asthma and allergies. When selecting plants for your pool area, steer clear of varieties that produce excessive pollen or irritants that make breathing difficult.

Opt instead for low-pollen and allergy-friendly choices that won’t trigger wheezing or make the air hard to breathe.

Plants With Toxic or Irritating Qualities

Plants With Toxic or Irritating Qualities
When deciding on proper landscaping, it is ill-advised to choose plants with toxic or irritating qualities near your pool. Mindful planning should take into account trees with toxic berries or seeds, plants that can cause skin irritation, and plants that are harmful to pets or children.

Trees With Toxic Berries or Seeds

Yew trees have toxic red berries on female plants, so avoid planting them where children may reach the tempting fruits. Similarly, oleander shrubs contain cardiotonic glycosides that are poisonous if ingested.

Before selecting plants for your poolside landscape, it’s wise to research whether foliage, berries, or seeds pose toxicity risks. When kids are present, steer clear of trees and shrubs known to have poisonous parts to ensure safety in your outdoor space.

Toxic exposure from landscape plants is preventable with informed plant selection.

Plants That Can Cause Skin Irritation

Poison oak’s oily resin causes an itchy rash if you touch it while swimming by the pool.

  1. Poison ivy
  2. Stinging nettle
  3. Bull nettle
  4. Spurge laurel
  5. Leafy spurge

Sensitive skin may react when contacting certain plants. Research thoroughly when selecting poolside flora to avoid rashes.

Plants That Are Harmful to Pets or Children

Snatch the low-hanging branches of that sizable sago palm before Rover’s curious nibble becomes a nasty bellyache. Certain common poolside plants like dieffenbachia, oleander, and rhododendron contain toxic elements harmful to pets and kids.

Opt for child-friendly alternatives like marigolds, impatiens, and peperomia instead.

Table: Plants to Avoid Why Avoid Safer Alternatives
Oleander Highly toxic to pets Marigolds, zinnias
Sago palm Toxic seeds and foliage Bamboo palm, parlor palm
Azaleas/rhododendrons Can cause vomiting Begonias, impatiens

Trees With Weak Wood or Branches

Trees With Weak Wood or Branches
When selecting trees for your poolside landscape, avoid varieties with weak wood or branches that are prone to breaking. Trees susceptible to wind damage, diseases, and pests pose safety hazards from falling limbs and should not be planted near pools where they could harm swimmers.

Trees Prone to Breakage or Falling Branches

You’ll want to steer clear of trees like eucalyptus that drop heavy branches, as a falling limb could seriously injure a poolside guest. Some trees are prone to weak limbs that can break off without warning. Opt for sturdy trees and employ preventive pruning to mitigate safety risks from potential branch hazards around your pool area.

Trees That Are Susceptible to Wind Damage

Aight, keep the branches of brittle trees far from your poolside to avoid storm damage marring your oasis. Some trees just can’t take a blow, and the winds can play havoc with species vulnerable to snapping limbs.

Willows, poplars, silver maples, and even the iconic palm tree lack sturdy branches and trunks, susceptible to winds made more intense poolside. Stick to wind-resistant choices like live oak, southern magnolia, and drake elm around your watery sanctuary.

Trees That Are Prone to Disease or Pest Infestation

Seeing elms withering in the breeze, you know some trees invite ruin. Opt for pest and disease-resistant species when planting near your pool. Carefully research tree choices, selecting options like hackberry, honey locust, and swamp white oak.

Employ preventative measures like pruning and pest control for resilient trees that thrive despite susceptibility. Thoughtfully choosing the right trees creates a healthy, vibrant poolside paradise.

Trees That Attract Wildlife

Trees That Attract Wildlife
You need to be strategic when choosing trees for your poolside that appeal to local wildlife. Certain trees like oak, maple, elm, pine, cherry, and mulberry attract birds and squirrels, while others like linden, willow, poplar, basswood, sumac, and black locust draw bees, wasps, and butterflies due to profuse flowering or irresistible sap.

Trees That Attract Birds or Squirrels

Though certain trees attract wildlife, when choosing trees for your poolside, you want to steer clear of those that draw birds or squirrels that could leave droppings and debris around the pool area. Instead, aim for trees like palms and citrus that enhance the poolside ambiance without attracting problematic wildlife.

Attracting wildlife harmoniously is key – integrate native habitat, but avoid trees whose feeding behavior impact draws squirrels. Though squirrel-friendly landscaping has its benefits, avian interactions can lead to unwanted mess around the pool.

Trees That Attract Bees or Wasps

You’d avoid the likes of crepe myrtles, tulip poplars, and black locusts that’ll draw in bees with their fragrant blossoms.

  • Crepe myrtles have showy summer flowers that attract bees.
  • Tulip poplars produce abundant nectar that bees love.
  • Black locust trees have sweet-smelling blossoms that lure bees.

Linden and maple trees provide bees with pollen and nectar. Fruit trees like apple and cherry blossoms invite bees when in bloom.

Certain trees like linden, maple, and fruit trees are best avoided around pools since their flowers or fruits can attract swarms of unwanted bees or wasps. Steer clear of known bee-attractors to prevent safety issues and nuisance insects around your poolside oasis.

Trees That Attract Rodents or Insects

Amidst the splendor of your carefully curated poolside oasis, imagine the unsettling intrusion of unwanted guests—uninvited rodents and insects drawn by inappropriate tree choices. Opt for pest-resistant trees like fruitless olive, desert ironwood, or palo verde.

Rodent-repellent landscaping and bug-free poolside design deter intruders. Carefully select trees to create an insect-free, rodent-resistant oasis of relaxation and beauty around your pool.

Plants That Require Excessive Watering

Plants That Require Excessive Watering
When landscaping around a swimming pool, it’s essential to avoid plants with high water requirements that can lead to excessive moisture and potential pool water contamination. Plants like bamboo, weeping willows, and palms require frequent irrigation and can shed leaves, seeds, or other debris into the water, creating extra maintenance.

Plants With High Water Requirements

Don’t go overboard planting thirsty bushes around your pool, friend, or you’ll be watering all day long. Opt for xeriscaping with drought-tolerant flora instead. Water-efficient landscaping with low-water plants suited for dry climates will help you avoid excessive irrigation.

Thoughtful gardening choices let you relax poolside without worrying over needy greenery.

Plants That Can Cause Excessive Moisture

Gathering dew each morning, some flora will contribute excessive moisture around your personal oasis. Select moisture-sensitive species wisely, as overly damp foliage invites fungus and rot. Strategize drainage solutions to divert excess water away from the poolside. Embrace xeriscaping with drought-resilient varieties accustomed to arid climates.

Prioritize plant hygiene and promptly prune or remove vegetation prone to mold or mildew.

Plants That Can Lead to Pool Water Contamination

You’ll want to steer clear of plants like weeping willows that can shed leaves and pollen into the pool, potentially causing chemical imbalances and filtration issues. For example, a homeowner in Florida struggled with keeping their pool clean after planting a willow tree too close to the water’s edge.

When selecting poolside plants, carefully consider those that can impact water clarity through shedding foliage or releasing chemicals from their roots. Maintaining the purity of your pool requires forethought in adjacent plant selection.

Plants That Cause Excessive Shade

Plants That Cause Excessive Shade
Some trees cast too much dense shade for poolside landscaping. You’ll want to avoid plants that limit sun exposure to your pool or affect water temperature, so choose species carefully.

Trees That Cast Dense Shade

Opt for trees with open canopies near your pool to let that sunshine in. Trees casting dense shade over a pool limit the amount of sun available for basking and heating water. Thick shade is best avoided for pools unless providing relief in scorching climates.

Plan tree placement accordingly and consider options like palms and citrus trees that permit sunlight flow. Instead, situate shade-tolerant plants in other poolside locations. Managing light levels and optimal plant placement ensures your pool receives ample sunshine.

Plants That Can Limit Sun Exposure to Pool

You’d be wise to spot the potential for brushy perennials or clumping grasses to cast shade over your pool like they’re greedy bankers handling money.

  • Giant elephant ear leaves
  • Towering bamboo clusters
  • Overgrown bougainvillea vines spilling onto the pool deck

When planning your poolside plant selection, keep sunlight access and comfort in mind.

Plants That Can Affect Water Temperature

Choose bamboo and palms wisely; though providing privacy, their proximity can make pools cooler. Take into consideration the effect on insulation, sunlight reflection, evaporation impact, and plant canopy influence when selecting trees for your poolside oasis.

Some trees with dense foliage may block out sunlight, reducing water temperature through shading. Consider choosing trees that provide shade without compromising the overall heating of your pool water.

The table above illustrates how different tree types can have varying effects on insulation and sunlight reflection around your pool area.

While bamboo offers moderate insulation but low levels of sunlight reflection due to its dense canopy, palms provide high levels of both insulation and low amounts of light reflected back onto the water surface.

It’s important to understand these factors as they directly affect pool heating efficiency. By carefully selecting plants that offer a good balance between shade provision without excessive cooling effects or hindering heat absorption from the sun’s rays, you will help maintain an optimal swimming experience in terms of comfort while minimizing energy consumption associated with maintaining desired temperatures throughout seasons.

Invasive Plants to Avoid

Invasive Plants to Avoid
There are two types of plants you should avoid planting too close to your pool – those that can spread out of control and those that can damage your pool. Invasive plants like mint, bamboo, and ivy may look nice at first but can quickly take over the area, while plants with aggressive root systems like willow trees can break through your pool wall if planted too close.

Plants That Can Spread and Take Over

Lorona, a weeping woman who drowns her own children, reminds us that invasive plants can spread and take over if left unchecked, smothering the life out of desired greenery.

  • Bamboo
  • Kudzu
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Japanese honeysuckle
  • Common privet

Stopping invasive plant growth before it smothers your poolside landscape requires vigilance. Be proactive in addressing unwanted spread to preserve your vision. Decisive action early on prevents invasive plants from spiraling out of control.

Plants That Can Damage Pool Infrastructure

Witnessing destructive roots compromising your pool’s integrity firsthand will guide you towards wiser plant selections. Certain plants can wreak havoc on pool infrastructure through invasive root systems, dropping debris, and contaminating water.

Steer clear of trees like willows, poplars, sycamores, and elms, which can clog filters, crack concrete, and puncture liners with intrusive roots. Prioritize mess-free plants that won’t compromise your pool’s structure or drain your wallet on continuous repairs.

Plants That Require Regular Removal or Control

You’ll rue the day you planted weeping willows and bamboo around your pool.

  • Weeping willows drop messy branches and leaves into the pool.
  • Bamboo spreads aggressively, invading pool pipes and filters.
  • English ivy climbs and damages pool walls with its adhesive pads.

Regular pruning and plant growth regulation are essential for invasive species management when controlling overgrowth poses maintenance challenges.


When landscaping near your pool, it’s vital to avoid problematic plants that can create hassles down the road. Certain trees can invade pipes, drop messy debris, hog water and sunlight, or require constant pruning and care.

Take time when selecting poolside plants to avoid varieties with weak branches, toxic qualities, rampant growth, and a tendency to attract pests. The right choices create an oasis, while the wrong ones spell constant battles. By steering clear of invasive, high-maintenance plants that shouldn’t be planted near the pool, you’ll craft a landscape that’s tranquil, tidy, and tailor-made for carefree summer fun.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.