SoCal- Need Tree Near Swimming Pool

chrissystarrApril 16, 2011

I ripped out nearly everything in my yard for a drought tolerant makeover. I was all set to plant an Acacia stenophylla in the corner of my yard to hide an ugly telephone pole- and now my neighbors have put in a pool just over the fence. Damn them!!! Can't plant that tree now, way too much litter.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a FAST growing tree with minimal litter. Needs to be compatible with low water plants- nothing tropical looking. I was looking at Leptospermum petersonii, but I don't think it gets tall enough. I have a P. 'Silver Sheen' just down the fence and they are already complaining about the leaves from that one, so I guess that's out too. Any ideas?

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Dan Staley

a FAST growing tree with minimal litter

That would be against nature and basic botany.

Sounds like they didn't coordinate with the neighbors. That is unfortunate, as you never know what effects the neighbors will have on your pool...


    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 10:47AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I can think of drought tolerant plants that hold onto to their leaves and don't create a lot of litter, but they aren't necessarily fast growing, nor will they necessarily fit in with your request for "no tropical look". There is a reason that palms and Giant Bird of Paradise, and Schefflera calyptratus are so commonly used near pools in southern California; because they aren't messy! Trees with larger leaves are definitely easier to fish out of a pool, and I wonder why so many people in so cal don't seem to install automatic pool covers when they put a new pool in, it would save a lot of maintenance, as well as water.

A palm-like tree from South Africa that eventually does form a more typical branched structure, and is very drought tolerant and would mix with California natives, is Cussonia paniculata. Holds on to its leaves for more than a couple of years before dropping them, and for the first 10 years or so, will be narrowly columnar. Not particularly fast to get height unless you water it in summer, however. A Pindo Palm, Butia captitata might work for you as well, or a Brahea 'Clara', as both are drought tolerant, and have silvery of blue foliage that combines well with natives.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:02PM
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One question: Does the prevailing wind move from your yard toward the neighbor's pool? Given a good hard 'blow' it seems that even trees that do not freely drop leaves/bloom, will become a problem to the pool owner. The prevailing wind may cause them to create a wind screen and that might solve the leaf-drop problem. We built our pool in the only place available on a city lot, and the wind gusting through was a problem that we solved with a wind-screen.

I would also wonder what legal restrictions may be placed on tree owners to prevent leaf-drop/blown in a nearby pool. I think that some city/county regs place restrictions of that kind.

Re: the pool owner complaining about leaf-drop from a tree that was already planted when they built their pool ... I know that trouble with neighbors can be horrible and it is worth effort to prevent ... but this person seems to have no problem with 'complaining' about trees in your yard... sounds impossible to please? My thought would be to make your best effort to prevent leaf-litter in their pool, and then it becomes their problem... to be handled as best they can -- constant skimming or pool cover.

One of our neighbors complained that our house cast a shade over their pool ... didn't expect us to move our house, but just to complain that conditions were not as perfect as they felt entitled to. GOOD LUCK!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:41PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

You could plant a trio of 'Skyrocket' juniper or some other fastigate conifer like 'Swanes Golden' Italian Cypress. No leaves to fall into neighbor's pool. The species Italian Cypress will get huge so I would avoid the straight species.

On the other hand, the neighbor's pool is the neighbor's problem. You have the legal right to plant what you want. The neighbors have the legal right to trim the trees back to the property line (but not beyond).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:54PM
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