Trees provide shade, beauty, privacy and even fruit to the backyard oasis that you relax and entertain in. The color and texture of trees that you plant can define whether your backyard is a tropical sanctuary, garden getaway, or modern retreat – have fun with it! Most importantly, trees filter pollutants out of the air and water, and when placed strategically, can provide your home with protection from heat and flood. Trees lower temperatures, reduce energy bills and sequester carbon.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
While there are numerous benefits to planting trees, pool owners must take caution. Some trees excessively shed buds, flowers, berries, pollen, leaves and bark. With a little wind, this organic material becomes pool litter for the automatic pool skimming robot to devour. Additionally, trees with large root systems can damage pool walls, pool plumbing, and decks.
Plant the right trees in your backyard with these helpful tips:
The most ideal trees to plant around a pool include acacia, banana, citrus, arbor vitae, cypress, spruce, holly, magnolia, windmill palm, fruitless olive, and succulents, such as cactus, stonecrop and leather petal.
1. Consider the Growing Conditions
Choosing a tree that will flourish in your growing region is fundamental to becoming a successful tree planter. Start by getting familiar with the growing conditions of your planting site, including factors like sunlight, soil condition and room to grow.
Most trees require full sunlight for proper growth and flowering. Some do well in (or even prefer) partial or light shade, but few perform well in dense shade. Before you plant, get your soil tested by a lab to evaluate what’s happening underground. Test results will provide a complete analysis of nutrients, possible contamination and pH, as well as directions for correcting problems. Be conscious of overhead or underground utilities, pavement, buildings, other trees, traffic intersections and other factors that may impact your planting space.
Ariel requires sufficient direct sunlight to run the paddle wheel motor and charge the battery. The battery holds enough surplus energy to power the unit a few hours into the evening after the sun has set. In shaded pools, and on days that are cloudy, the unit will run on stored energy, but owners should expect her overall daily operating time to be reduced.
2. Shopping for a Tree
When choosing which kind of tree to plant, be conscious of details like size, flowering, color, and your view from inside the house. While shopping, you can rely on plant labels to learn details about a tree’s growth pattern, sun requirements, watering needs and soil requirements. Two common styles of trees are container-grown trees, which spend their entire nursery lives growing in a container, and ball-and-burlap trees, which grow in the ground until they achieve a targeted size. Use the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Wizard to determine which trees are best for your conditions.
3. Prepare Your Planting Site
Properly preparing your planting site is one of the best things you can do to get your tree off to a strong start. Before you plant, make sure your tree is thoroughly hydrated by watering the container or root ball several hours before proceeding. When planting a tree into a lawn, remove a circle of grass at least 3 feet in diameter where the tree will go to reduce competition between turf and fine tree roots.
4. Start Digging
Dig a broad, shallow planting hole with gently sloping sides 3-4 times wider than the diameter of the root mass and the same depth. Mound removed soil on a tarp for easy backfilling. Loosening the soil on the sides of the hole allows roots to easily expand and establish faster, but don’t disturb soil at the bottom of the hole.
Once the tree is positioned, replace the soil while firmly but gently tamping the original soil around the base of the root ball to stabilize it. Create a water-holding basin around the tree by building up a ring of soil and water to settle roots. Spread protective mulch 2-4 inches deep in a 3-foot diameter around the base of the tree, but not touching the trunk.
Find more tips to successfully plant and care for your trees at arborday.org.