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Randy

Palms next to pools...

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Randy

I've always been told that palms have kind of non-evasive roots that make them a good plant selection near pools. I have planted wodytia's and Queens, and hope to plant roystonea regia within a few feet of my pools edge. Does this present a threat or future threat to my pool wall or the miles of PVC underground?

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Neofolis

Hi Riandy,

Check the article Bob wrote Palm Roots in the FAQ section, it should be quite helpful.

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Dave Butler

Randy, I just planted some palms near a pool in one of my landscape jobs. I think they will be fine no worrys :D

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Jeff Searle

I would really give alot of consideration before you start. IMO, most palms are fine, as long as you give them about 6' from the pool. Royals, on the other hand,should be given more room. These palms can get a very large root mass after only a few years, and why take the chance. I would keep these back a minimum 10' from the edge. And do not plant these anywhere near where people will be sitting. A royal palm leaf that drops on someone's head, well....I think you get the picture.

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redant

(Jeff Searle @ Aug. 10 2006,08:41)

QUOTE
I would really give alot of consideration before you start. IMO, most palms are fine, as long as you give them about 6' from the pool. Royals, on the other hand,should be given more room. These palms can get a very large root mass after only a few years, and why take the chance. I would keep these back a minimum 10' from the edge. And do not plant these anywhere near where people will be sitting. A royal palm leaf that drops on someone's head, well....I think you get the picture.

What Jeff said. Royals are not poolside palms IMO. I'd give a good 10-12 feet away for the reasons he stated.  You also want to keep your PVC pipes easy to access when you have a problem, not encrusted in a matt of Royal roots. You can not believe the density of the roots these palms have.

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Randy

I appreciate the advice, and it makes sense from a service area perspective. It is certainly a challenge finding the right spot, because of my climate I have a few designated spots that are great for micro climate protection. Both have under ground concerns that make me think I need to plant in large opts or create a planter box of some kind - ehich leads me to the next question... ???

If I were to make a small garden wall/planter box, how much soil does a wodyetia and a roystonea regia require? Width and depth? ???

Dave, nice pictures of the wodyetia's. I'm sure they will thrive in your climate and make a very striking screen around your pool area.

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bgl

Randy,

I definitely agree with Jeff and Redant about the Royals. At least 10-12 ft away from the pool, and if possible even more. The roots are very aggressive. But apart from the practical aspect, from a visual point of view - assuming you have the space - you can easily plant a Royal 20 ft away from the pool and STILL get that great look. Keep in mind, these are massive palms. Which is why you probably need to give some thought to the planter box idea. Wodyetia - no problem, you can probably put one of those in a 3 x 3 x 3 ft planter box, and it'll be perfectly happy. That's just an educated guess, so if someone else has actual experience, by all means, add your 2 cents!!

BUT, a Royal in a planter box..? For how long? If this is meant to be a permanent arrangement, you probably can't build a planter box that's large enough to REALLY satisfy its requirements for root growth (from a practical point I mean). My guess is that a 5 x 5 square box would probably be minimum, and it should probably be at least 3 ft, but preferably 4 ft tall. (Taller than that and it would probably look strange!?).

Also keep in mind that if you get very strong winds (and I don't how likely that is in Chandler, AZ) and you have a tall Royal in a somewhat small planter box, that thing is not going to ask for take-off clearance. It's just going to leave on its own, and end up who knows where... Unless you were going to build an in-ground planter box??

Bo-Göran

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Dave-Vero

I've shied away from Royals at my own yard (within sight of an old mature tree) because they're so big.

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redant

Ditto what Bo said. Royals don't like containment. They would never be happy IMO. Keep in mind how large these puppies want to get.

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spockvr6

(redant @ Aug. 14 2006,09:59)

QUOTE
Ditto what Bo said. Royals don't like containment. They would never be happy IMO.

I saw that first hand last year.  I potted up two Royals from 15 gallon to 30 gallon containers and pot planted them.  (That was a chore BTW).  Withn 2 months, they had outgrown the 30 gallon pots and I could not remove the pots without cutting them off, which of course I hated to do as 30 gallon pots arent cheap!

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Randy

I'm getting the idea that royals are monsters under ground! 30 gallon containers are very large- that must ahve been a great deal of effort and expense.

I keep coming back to the issue that with my limited space, the only places that give the kind of clearance your descibing are either smack in the middle of the yard (no afternoon sun protection) or at my neighbor's place! :P

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Dave Butler

The neighbor's place is a good start :D

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Randy

I'll find a way to plant it/them on my property Dave...Just not sure where.

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landarch

Randy,

In response to your post regarding palms adjacent to the beam wall of a pool. I am a landscape architect, now in Central Florida and formerly in South Florida specializing in luxury pools and spas.

I have designed and completed hundreds of  pool designs, most using palms adjacent to the pool beam. The drawback to this might be the limitations of the Florida Building Code in the relationship of the location of light fixtures close the pool, you cannot uplight the fixtures on public bathing spaces within 8' of the wet wall of the pool according to code.

I have used many specie of palms adjacent to the pool. Please note that prolific specie with small seeds such as queen palms, medjools, etc. can be a maintenance concern.

The largest size planter box that I use is for the Canary Island Date with a planter box of 9' x 9' as the root ball is more horizontal when received from the grower. For Medjool date palms, Royal Palms, Coconuts and similar, I use a 6' to 8' box ( 6' x 6' to 8' x 8' ). For smaller root ball size I use a 3' x 3' minimum box. In some cases, we have shaved root balls and placed them in smaller spaces adjacent to walks, roadways, walls, etc.

It is my experience the roots grow vigorously toward the nutrients and not toward the calcium rich concrete of the pool beam wall. In one instance, for an overly concerned client, I specified root barrier by deeproot.com as facing on the side to be protected. In my opinion, that was not a necessary procedure yet it provided a sense of security to the client.

Vigorous roots can fill up a plant box on a green roof project, which is an asset when you are designing a pool deck on the 25th floor of a high rise where the wind loads are severly heightened. The anchoring of the tree by the root structure is essential. I like to use veitchia specie in this instance due to the human scale (lack of vertical height). Waterproof is a big concern in this situation as well. Be sure that waterproofing is performed by a certified, licensed and insured professional with quality product.

Concerns that I do have with planter boxes as seen in the photo I will attach are to make sure the contractor properly waterproofs the interior of any planter walls that will be adjacent to the architecture of the building or exposed to view. Ensure that the palm fronds will not be adjacent to the rainwater guttering or downspouts as heavy winds can "whip" the fronds into the sides of the aluminum structures causing damage. In hurricanes, I have seen guttering that is sliced and shredded by wind whipped palm fronds. In some cases, we have designed plantings of palms directly adjacent to the architecture with custom fabricated strappings and a clear trunk height to clear the roof and other structures.

Typically, when a pool that has a deck of poured concrete with decorative stone covering develops a leak, the piping is completely replaced with a water jet or direct bore application from the open sides or landscape beds. This is a relatively simple procedure for an experienced pool contractor. A small area of the deck is removed to access the connections with minimal damage to the decking and pool structures. A thorough powerwash following repair procedures provides a "new" appearance to the pool. It is ideal to keep a few square feet of the decking material on hand upon completion of the original installation in order to replace any cracked or chipped pieces that may occure during repair procedures.

I recall a post by Robert Riffle regarding a "no concern" approach to placing palms adjacent to the pool beam.

Unfortunately some landscape contractors will convince an owner to adjust the locations of trees away from the pool and architecture. The shade that a palm can provide on a pool or spa during hot days is very valuable.

Palms used adjacent to a pool with a dark finish will reflect well in the evening hours on the surface of calm pool water, providing a very elegant effect.

In short summary, I agree with Dave, plant those palms near the pool with no worry.

I would be interested in knowing any information on Chlorine Tolerant Plantings for palms. My experience has been to "chance it" with species that I have not used previously yet would love to read literature or historical knowledge of any members on the Chlorine Tolerance topic.

I hope this information can be useful to you.

Randall

post-203-1155703054_thumb.jpg

  • Upvote 1

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Fred Zone 10A

Randall,

Thanks for the very informative post.

More photos, please.

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Kris

Dear Randall  :)

That inforamation on palms and constructions was

very useful & informative.and your skill and work-

manship seems to be fantastic and that pool in that

picture of your is classy...

Thank you very much.  :)

Love,

Kris (India).

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Randy

Randall,

I really appreciate the details you're providing. If I understand correctly, you are using planter boxes  next to or as part of the pool structure.

In my case, I have an in-ground pool & spa built by Shasta that has a 12" thick cement shell, with a peppletech type interior finish. It has thick chiseled edge flagstone coping around the back bond neam and cool deck/cement round the rest.

I am planitng palms and all of the landscape in the ground after amending the soil (a lot of clay here in the south west), not using any kind of container / planter box.

Given my circumstances, I'm trying to gleen how palms planted next to pools might impact the structure or plumbing?

I will be planting royals at some point, but a number of the responses prior to yours suggest caution and a lot of distance between the royal and the pool (which I don't have on my lot)!

Also, I have a salt water system that generates chlorine from the salt, no adverse effects to my garden as of yet that I'm aware of...

Randy

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DoomsDave

(Jeff Searle @ Aug. 10 2006,08:41)

QUOTE
I would really give alot of consideration before you start. IMO, most palms are fine, as long as you give them about 6' from the pool. Royals, on the other hand,should be given more room. These palms can get a very large root mass after only a few years, and why take the chance. I would keep these back a minimum 10' from the edge. And do not plant these anywhere near where people will be sitting. A royal palm leaf that drops on someone's head, well....I think you get the picture.

Did someone say "ambulance"??  Where, where where . . . . ?

dave

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DoomsDave

Randal:

I hope you're not going to post once, then vanish.

You have a LOT of valuable information, right up the alley of many people here.

Please come back, and join us again.

Great picture!

dave

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landarch

I will try to not be so distant, and as requested, a few more photos of that project. This is the spa cupola from the lake side. You can see the pool view in the previous post, I am terribly sorry, There are not so many showy palms from this perspective.

Randy

post-203-1156462645_thumb.jpg

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landarch

I submit to post another Image from the lakeside view of the above project.

post-203-1156462893_thumb.jpg

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landarch

I submit to post another view of the bridge to the island from the above project.

post-203-1156462933_thumb.jpg

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landarch

(Randy @ Aug. 16 2006,21:27)

QUOTE
Randall,

I really appreciate the details you're providing. If I understand correctly, you are using planter boxes  next to or as part of the pool structure.

In my case, I have an in-ground pool & spa built by Shasta that has a 12" thick cement shell, with a peppletech type interior finish. It has thick chiseled edge flagstone coping around the back bond neam and cool deck/cement round the rest.

I am planitng palms and all of the landscape in the ground after amending the soil (a lot of clay here in the south west), not using any kind of container / planter box.

Given my circumstances, I'm trying to gleen how palms planted next to pools might impact the structure or plumbing?

I will be planting royals at some point, but a number of the responses prior to yours suggest caution and a lot of distance between the royal and the pool (which I don't have on my lot)!

Also, I have a salt water system that generates chlorine from the salt, no adverse effects to my garden as of yet that I'm aware of...

Randy

Randy,

When I mention planter box, as you can see in the image, two sides of the planter box are formed by the pool beam. There is no additional structure between the pool beam (wall) and the palm root ball. The pool coating, in your case pebble tech (which is almost jackhammer proof in its own strenght) then the pool beam, then the planting mix and rootball. The pool interior finish is waterproof.

I do specify that the interior of the planter box is waterproofed. This will prevent the discoloration of the exterior finish.

When I use a palm adjacent to a pool without a planter box I still do not worry about the root intrusion so much. One advantage of using a formal planter box as shown in the original pool image that I posted is to prevent mulch overwash into the pool. These boxes require a drain with a dome cap to prevent mulch blockage of the drain yet to provide an escape for water during downpours.

If you have at least 6 feet of space I would go ahead and plant the royals. Some caution agains a frond falling on someones head when in the pool. Please be aware, that palm fronds do fall, so do coconuts, and tree limbs, etc.

Also, Your plumbing is stationary, if palm roots surround it, whats the big deal? It wont hurt it. I can never recall seeing or hearing of a palm breaking through the wall of a pool, or breaking the plumbing with its roots, usually that is done ahead of time with a shovel while planting a palm. The pool service technician / company will be chargin you hourly, so what if they have to run an extra 18" of pipe in the case of a break, and in reality, the break will be somewhere where there is pedestrian traffic, you wont be walking on your palm root ball or digging it up on regular basis. If you would feel better about it, use some of the root barrier and go on with the project. Remember your palm roots want nutrition, not chemical laden pvc.

In addition, we place our irrigation system bubblers, pop ups, etc next to palms on a regular basis, with no breakage by the roots. And when a break occurs, just pay the service technicians bill and be happy that you are contributing to the economy of the American Work Force.

Leaks in pools can be detected by visually seeing air in the filter return outlets most commonly located on the walls of a pool. if you see and hear bubbles on the return,air is getting into your system. Look to see if your water level is low, if seals and gaskets in the pump filtration system are bent or otherwise not sealing, and then start thinking about the last place you were digging in the back yard. I would bet money you will not discover that palm roots have attacked your pvc piping. Palm roots prefer to grow toward nutrients. You may sometimes notice advantageous roots that havebeen cropped from a palm trunk at the base or are present at the base, above the ground. This may be due to soil or mulch being placed adjacent to the trunk in a previous location, or I have seen the roots grow out of the base of a royal palm on a few occasions when densly planted at the base with annuals which are in a wet location.

As I am in the design industry, I appreciate how a palm looks adjacent to a pool and find it much more appealing than 15 feet away.

I hope this helps solve your dillema. I advise clients to not worry so much about what could happen, or else they should not embark on a project such as a pool.

Think how unappealing a pool is with no landscape surrounding it, both visually and functionally for shade relief.

Randall

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landarch

Pool With Medjool Palms on top of a 4 storey parking garage. These palms are in circular planters that were waterproofed on the complete interior. The walls are reinforced poured concrete ( not cmu with hollow cells ) and the deck was 14" reinforced concrete slab.

There are two ways to put an amenity deck on top of a parking garage. The way that is shown in this photo is to build up the depth of the pool onto the deck, as you see, there are 2 levels to this deck. There are steps and ramps that go up to the second level, providing the depth of the pool. There is no slab perforation to this pool.

The second way is slab perforation, where a pool is Dropped through a hole in the deck. This method requires a thicker reinforced slab to hold the suspended weight.

The weight of the trees, planting mixture, waterproof, drainage, etc and wet soil mass must be calculated by engineers to determine the slab structure.

As you can see, these medjools were used due to their ability to provide shade relief. Taller trees such as medjools and royals can be used on a raised deck like this when it is enclosed by the tower structure around it. This deck has the building surrounding it on three sides and then the club room building on the fourth side.

I hope you enjoy this post.

Thank you

post-203-1156464795_thumb.jpg

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landarch

Another Image of the pool on top of the paking garage, with palms.

Randall

post-203-1156464837_thumb.jpg

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landarch

Another image of the pool with palms on top of the parking garage. This image overlooks the spa toward the club room. Notice the Medjools in planters on the sides.

Randall

post-203-1156464894_thumb.jpg

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Kris

Dear LandArch  :)

your work is terrefic and awe inspiring.

the pictures that impressed me the most

were post no.21,25,26,27.

they were simply superb in terms of interior

designing & architecharal excellance.

i always wished to ask one question :-

that is when palm trees are placed in roof

gardens who does excess water from rain drain ?

and the same goes to indoor swimming pools,how

does excess water drain out from the palm tree roots ?

are there any weep holes or pipes placed at the bottom

of those structures.

Kindly explain this,Since iam curious to know.

And the locations in your photos are they mediterriean

region countries_looks close to maracoo,libya,french-

revivera ?

Love,

Kris(India).

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Randy

Randall,

I appreciate hearing your thoughts and especially the rationale behind planting palms next to pools. One of the reasons I selected the pool builder we contracted was the 12" thick cement shell for the pool structure. I am happy to hear that the pebbletek surface is very strong as well, we knew it was durable.

The pool I designed is a free form shape, after a number of tropical travels my vision was to do more natural looking surroundings. I grew up with the roman-greco symmetry which is a clean and elegant style.

I'm going to incorporate pots for shrubs above the areas that are odd limits due to plumbing, but I'm also going to place a Cuban Royal about 10' from my spa's edge (6' from the surrounding deck).

I couldn't agree more about how a closer proximity of palms and pools create valuable shade, but also a complimentary appeal. We have low voltage lighting with spots that highlight the palms we currently have. We have a fiber optic light that is not as intense as the standard submerged bulb/lights. But when the water is still and the fiber ilght is off, the mirror reflection of all my palms is nice - we usually have a torch or two burning as well.

Thank you for posting the pictures of your examples, the property with the gazebo and bridge is very appealing and makes me drool for about 10 more acres!

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landarch

Randy,

Thank you for being so complimentary regarding the designs that I have shared. Its easy to design great spaces for well heeled clientel. Huge budgets are great to work with.

Kris,  When considering drainage on podium level pools and amenity decks, I use a triple drainage system that is in every planter. The drain encompasses a dome landscape drain that will filter any mulch from going into the drainage system, a sub surface drain that is perforated to provide movement of water from the soil and then a drain that is at the waterproof level to prevent any condensation from occuring between the waterproof layer and the concrete slab. The entire deck covering contains a drainage system as well that will collect water from the paver surface as well as a condensation drain. I also always include a system of fail save scuppers that will allow the water to escape over the side of the building in the event of a failure of the engineered drainage system.  If you consider the weight of water, any build up of water without relief could be catastrophic to the structural integrity of a building with only minor build up amounts. The structural engineer of a building typically will include calculations for a certain excess amount of water.

I will enclose a few photos of Foxtail Palms adjacent to the beam of a pool. These rootballs were shaved on the side adjacent to the pool beam so that they could fit into the planters. Note, this pool is not yet complete with the 2 pedestal pots missing and some of the perimeter landscape yet to be installed.

Thank you

Randall

post-203-1156827983_thumb.jpg

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landarch

I attach a copy of the plan for the above pool. As this project is located in the Orlando Florida area, the contractor substituted the foxtail palms for the specified Royal Palms and Reclinata Palm.

It is a great challenge to bring diversity to the palms in Central Florida with contractors substituting on the basis of "lack of availability".

Randall

post-203-1156829317_thumb.jpg

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Kathy

Randall, a thank you from the West Coast for all you invaluable info.  I have a pool, and have wondered about much of this, including the Royal issues, as I'm trying a couple.  Keep posting.

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