Advice on building my pool around this Palm Tree

Martin-HoustonSeptember 10, 2012

We're having a in ground gunite pool installed in a couple of weeks. I've attached an image with measurements to give you a good view of what we're doing to get your best advice.

This tree is about 5 years old now and is about 15' from the ground to the top of the frawns. The trunk base is now 20' measuring from left to right. Don't remember exactly what species it is, but I do remember that we purposely DID NOT buy the ones that grow up to like 50' or 60'. I believe this tree was rated to max out somewhere around 30' or so.

My question I giving this tree enough clearance from the pool for future growth at the base? From what I've read so far, the Palm roots grown downwards and should not pose a problem. I'm having the contractors add double the amount of rebar in that curved area around the tree before they shoot the gunite to add strength just in case.

So do you think we'll be ok with the room we're allocating?

Thank you so much in advance.

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ericthehurdler(NOR CAL 9a)

that palm is a washingtonia robusta. they will reach heights of 50' 60' feet. The space you are allowing is good. The base of the palm will probably get a few more inches thick but not enough to exceed the line.

the roots will also not disturb the concrete. exactly why palms are great for pool plantings.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:21AM
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May want to pose your question to a palm specialist. The owner of this palm nursery in San Diego knows his stuff and always seems willing to answer questions. You could try emailing him your questions and pictures.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:58AM
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Well I contacted Phil @ as you advised and he said that, that palm needs at least 4' - 6' clearance from the pool otherwise scrap the tree. It's not worth it. Well I don't have that much room so I scraped it.

READ THIS reply I sent to Phil after I scraped the palm this morning and see the photo.


Thought you'd like to see this. The tree guys that came and did this for me ($125.00) said they had never seen anything like this before.

When I had my landscaping done about 5yrs. ago they layed this landscaping cloth throughout the backyard. You can see the cloth on the bottom of the palm we just pulled out of the ground. The hole where it came out of was totally flat. So these roots were not going down but OUT. That explains why these trees aren't going very fast. But still a good idea to get rid of this tree and not worry about it. The other 5 I have in my yard will probably never get very big because they were all planted the same way.

thx again.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:16PM
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Glad he was able to help you out and that it was taken care of now.

You'll probably be glad it's gone. When those trees get big they're more attractive from a distance and high maintanence keeping them trimmed. I've read if you don't get rid of the thatch that accumulates from the dead leaves it can attract rodents. Yuk.

Was he able to suggest any other palms that would work, or is the area too small no matter what? We just put in a new fence and it trashed a lot of what we have around our pool. I'd love to have a couple of howea palms, but only have about 3.5' between my pool and a fence. I'll have to ask him. He's got a great nursery and his website is very informative.

How bizarre that they put down the landsaping mesh and did NOT cut holes in it for the plants. Now that you've discovered it you should contact them to pay for that tree removal! I would!

Please keep us posted on your landscaping project.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:35PM
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island, speaking as a landscape designer and installer, the fabric used for weed barrier control is meant to decompose within 10-15 years depending on grade of material used. That's why they wouldnt have cut holes in it more than likely, unless they were just skimping and saving time by laying down solid fabric sheets, and then mounding dirt on top of them. Judging from the weeds right near the palm on the first pic, I would say that was a distinct possibility. However, the fabric still decomposes, and is porous for the roots and nutrients to permeate through. It wouldn't have slown the trees growth much. It is of an average height for being put in 5 years ago. The roots grow out more from the base on those palms than deep. Sadly, I would've removed it for free were I able to keep the tree. Still, $125 wasn't a bad price either. Good luck with your pool, and You might try tropical palms in pots for a tempoorary fix. You would just have to bring them indoors during the cold spells.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:59AM
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