Summer is on the way. Despite the cool spring, area swimming pools are gearing up for another season of fun in the sun. Most public outdoor pools officially open as of July 1st, 2017, but plenty of private pools are already sparkling in backyards across Ontario. While pools are a great way to cool down, exercise, and just enjoy our summer weather, their presence in backyards are not always in alignment with the landscaping surrounding them.
Have you thought about how pools and landscaping work together? You know that CLC Tree Services has. We appreciate a good dip in a pool, but the fact is that pools are complex systems with chemicals, filtration systems, and maintenance schedules that ensure the health of the pool and the people who use them. The vegetation surrounding them doesn’t always benefit pools and the pool itself doesn’t necessarily benefit the plants.
Pools and Landscaping: Something to Think About
These wise words come from M.E. Contracting, an outdoor contractor in Toronto. Among other services, they install pools, so we thought they might have a few tips for our readers on what to look for when thinking about pools and landscaping. Today they offer a few important points to keep in mind when it comes to your pool this summer.
“Most people don’t give a lot of thought to the trees in their yard, until they install an inground pool and realize that the wrong tree can be among a pool’s worst enemies.”
Be wary of trees that drop leaves – Leaves are a major maintenance headache that will A) clog the water filtration system B) need to be constantly skimmed off the surface of the water and C) need to be continually swept or raked from the deck. The same can be said for petals dropped from flowering trees. Even some pine trees are problematic because their needles get wedged into the filter and they produce sap that gets onto the pool deck and furniture.
* Note from Pam – Aside from the occasional leaf, many trees don’t lose the majority of their leaves til late in the season, often after your pool is closed, and flowers often appear before area pools open. If your pine tree is loosing needles or dripping sap it may be a sign of disease. Best bet—Stick with native pines!
Beware the root – Remember that trees have root systems, which can sometimes become quite extensive. If planted too close to your pool, they can do enormous damage to the pool deck and plumbing and most importantly, to the pool shell itself. Do your research before planting any tree near your inground pool.
* Note from Pam – While there is cause for concern from willows, lindens and silver maples, most trees will only damage a pool if there is already a crack or hole in it.
Great points from M.E. Contracting, a toronto landscaping company, and additional notes from Pam (you know our resident plant health care expert always has trees on her mind!).
DID YOU KNOW? Deciduous refers to trees that drop their leaves in the fall. Coniferous trees (evergreens) typically have needles that stay on the tree all year round.
Algae Bloom: Does your Landscaping Promote It?
A recent conversation with a sales person from another local pool company brought up something else you might want to consider—fertilizer. Most people want their landscaping to look its best, so make sure to prune, water and feed it. The problem arises with the fertilizer.
Typical fertilizers that people apply to their lawns or gardens contains phosphates and nitrates. These chemicals don’t react well with chlorine, a chemical used to keep your pool clean and clear. When phosphates (also found in mulch, soil, and leaves) blow into your pool, algae forms. The same thing goes for nitrates. They eat the chlorine and leave you with cloudy, green water, slippery surfaces, and an overall poor water quality that spells the end of pool fun.
The easy answer is to eliminate landscaping around pools, but that’s not always practical or possible. Is the better solution not to fertilize, preventing at least some contamination? Perhaps, but is that the best for your landscaping? What should you do? CLC Tree Services eliminates part of that problem, as we inject our fertilizer directly into the ground. No runoff or blowing of harmful chemicals into your pool. Something to consider for those who are looking to have a pool and landscaping.
Making Pools and Landscaping Work
If you can’t picture your pool without landscaping, then you need to rethink what you have.
- Choose low maintenance plants which will survive without the addition of extra spreadable fertilizers
- Consider a minimal look around your pool to reduce the amount of plant matter which might end up in it
- Think planters; they add the interest of landscaping, can include hardy tropicals, and come without the problem of roots
- Be aware of your wind direction and plant accordingly to reduce the risk of drifting leaves, flowers, and mulch
- Keep in mind that plants with large leaves are easier to scoop out of filtration systems
- Know the timing of your plants and keep on top of their maintenance. Overgrown landscaping will infringe on space around your pool, not to mention bring down the overall aesthetic look of it
While we don’t install pools, our resident Plant Health Care expert has a few more suggestions for those wanting pools and landscaping;
Pam says; “Early spring and late fall flowers do not interfere with pool operations. Look for flowers that are smaller and early. I like redbuds and Serviceberry, as compared to the later magnolia and Crabapple that can become the Bane of pool owners existence.
“Know your design style and stick to it; orderly and linear (trimmed shrubs like boxwood and yews) or natural and free-flowing, like Japanese maple and grasses. It can all be a beautiful compliment, when well thought out and planned.
“Cedars are very easily damaged by salt and chemicals, while a privet hedge can handle a great amount of soil and splashing contamination. Pick plants which can handle splashes from your pool.
“Landscaping around a pool should be left in the hands of professionals to reduce the chance of very costly mistakes.”