MythBuster Monday! Trees and Pools

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Myth: I can’t plant a tree in my backyard because I have a pool.


Facts: You can have your tree and a swimming pool too!

Many people are concerned that having a tree in their backyard will cast too much shade on their pool, or constantly drop leaves and debris, leading to way too much pool maintenance. And it’s true that planting a large-growing, acorn-producing, leafy oak tree right beside your pool may not be the best decision.

The honey locust has an airy canopy that lets plenty of light filter through. Photo by Brenna Anstett, LEAF.

But the great news is that when it comes to choosing and planting a tree, you have a ton of options, even if you have a pool. There are plenty of trees, like the honeylocust or paper birch, with canopies that let light filter through to heat your pool. These trees give you the best of both worlds, providing some protection from that intense afternoon sun, while still letting the heat through.

There are also a number of lower-maintenance species that don’t produce large fruits and flowers that will have you out skimming the pool everyday. For example, the Freeman maple often doesn’t produce any keys, because it’s a hybrid. Even if it does produce keys, they’re usually fewer in number than what you’d see on any other kind of maple. This makes it a good choice for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance option. There are also plenty of species that flower early in the spring, before your pool is open, or have fruits that don’t mature until after your pool is closed for the fall.

The Freeman maple has a beautiful range of fall colours, and usually produces few or no maple keys. Photo by Brenna Anstett, LEAF.

And of course, it’s all about location, location, location. When you sign up for the Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program, you get a yard consultation with a certified arborist who can help you choose the species and location that works for you. They can suggest locations that will allow the maximum amount of sunlight to reach your pool, while minimizing the amount of debris you’ll have to skim off the top. They can even help you choose locations that add shade right where you want it – near your home, to reduce cooling costs! They’ll listen to your goals and assess your site before helping you make a decision, so you can have a beautiful native tree and a clean, warm pool too!

Sign up for the Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program at, or email your questions to