Planning Houston area pool? Landscaping? Small Wax Myrtle warning here...

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
373
Katy, Texas
Hi guys. A popular tree/shrub in the Houston area--popular with landscapers anyway--is the Wax Myrtle. I even had one draw a plan and plant four in my backyard in anticipation of a pool. He said they are evergreen and provide very good privacy. The privacy thing is mostly true, assuming regular professional pruning, however, one must understand evergreen does not mean no leaves in the pool. We also have Eagleston Hollies, which are evergreen. They drop maybe ten leaves a year. Wax Myrtle sheds its little skinny leaves 12 months a year. In a pool, they float around then cling to the sides, so even one of those solar skimmer things can't get them. Then they sink to the bottom where their airfoil shape strives to prevent scooping with a rake net. If you don't use skimmer socks, a fair number will drift in and sneak through the basket and right to the pump basket.

So there it is...my warning. Wax Myrtle within 10-15 feet of your pool will not make you happy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HermanTX

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,738
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks Bill. We have lots of threads about pool cleaners and dealing with leaves, but I don't recall a lot of discussion about plant selection when it comes to solving the problems. Folks just deal with the plants that are there the best they can. The lanscaper that designed my yard (before I owned the house) did a great job. And considering we get 15-25MPH winds almost year round, I have very little problems with leaves. So I lucked out. We need more posts like yours, so that we can avoid creating our own pool cleaning woes when planning landscaping, or to fix an existing problem by swapping out troublesome plants.
 

robhalv1

New member
Feb 19, 2020
4
Cypress, TX
Hi guys. A popular tree/shrub in the Houston area--popular with landscapers anyway--is the Wax Myrtle. I even had one draw a plan and plant four in my backyard in anticipation of a pool. He said they are evergreen and provide very good privacy. The privacy thing is mostly true, assuming regular professional pruning, however, one must understand evergreen does not mean no leaves in the pool. We also have Eagleston Hollies, which are evergreen. They drop maybe ten leaves a year. Wax Myrtle sheds its little skinny leaves 12 months a year. In a pool, they float around then cling to the sides, so even one of those solar skimmer things can't get them. Then they sink to the bottom where their airfoil shape strives to prevent scooping with a rake net. If you don't use skimmer socks, a fair number will drift in and sneak through the basket and right to the pump basket.

So there it is...my warning. Wax Myrtle within 10-15 feet of your pool will not make you happy.
Thank for the warning. I'm actually planning my landscape now (pool at tile & coping stage) in Cypress and planned on using wax myrtles as I've had good luck with them in the past (no pool) for privacy. I never paid attention to the leaf drop as it wasn't important at the time. Guess I need to keep researching evergreens for around the pool!
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,803
NY
My arborvitaes and cypress’s shed like no tomorrow several times a year but the needles or whatever you want to call them are heavy and stay close. They don’t float on the breeze like leaves so they can be much closer without being a problem. If it has leaves and/or pollen 100ft away might not be enough.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,738
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I have several large evergreens providing shade and year-round privacy. And they're beautiful. The needles tend to drop straight down, and never make it to the pool. So that's good. But I've got one that drips sap on the deck. So that's not so good. Something else to consider when selecting plants, or plotting their placement.

Roots are another issue. Big trees = big roots. They'll do what they gotta do to find water, and don't care too much about the level of your deck.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
373
Katy, Texas
Thank for the warning. I'm actually planning my landscape now (pool at tile & coping stage) in Cypress and planned on using wax myrtles as I've had good luck with them in the past (no pool) for privacy. I never paid attention to the leaf drop as it wasn't important at the time. Guess I need to keep researching evergreens for around the pool!
Yeah, where the wax myrtle leaves fall in the St. Augustine, you don't even notice them. Those little skinny devil leaves just become organic matter for the grass. If you're in Cypress, you know what weather we're seeing right now--we're just south of you in Katy. This morning, I scooped about 15 big dead earthworms out of the pool and probably 50 or so wax myrtle leaves (and that's after scooping leaves every few hours yesterday.) I could have just run the robot, but I don't know what happens with those fat earthworms in the robot brushes. Once I started scooping the worms, I just continued with the leaves. The pool rake/net (Amazon.com : Swimline Professional Heavy Duty Deep-Bag Pool Rake, Blue : Swimming Pool Maintenance Kits : Garden & Outdoor) works fairly well, although I have to create a small current with the rake, then back up and scoop the leaves once they've lifted off the bottom. It's a skill I could have been happy not having to learn. Incidentally, the pebble finish doesn't help the pool rake to slide, either.

We're in old Katy, actually in the city about a mile north of Hwy 90. Prevailing wind here most of the time is out of the south. When the wind shifts to a north wind, as it's done with the storm, all the leaves adapted to the south wind get blown loose from the opposite direction and fall. We also have a couple of Esperanza plants (but those our our fault, not the landscape architect) that are currently around 15 feet high and drop yellow flowers into the pool day and night. They're coming down this winter! As I mentioned, we have Eagleston Hollies--11 of them, with nine along the side of our corner lot fence and two next to the pool. I never--no exaggeration--see Eagleston Holly leaves in the pool. I'm now a big fan of that evergreen ornamental tree. Supposed to grow to 20-25 feet with a 15 foot spread. Only maintenance they require that I can see is periodic snipping of suckers from the base of the tree.

Good luck with the pool.
 

robhalv1

New member
Feb 19, 2020
4
Cypress, TX
Yeah, where the wax myrtle leaves fall in the St. Augustine, you don't even notice them. Those little skinny devil leaves just become organic matter for the grass. If you're in Cypress, you know what weather we're seeing right now--we're just south of you in Katy. This morning, I scooped about 15 big dead earthworms out of the pool and probably 50 or so wax myrtle leaves (and that's after scooping leaves every few hours yesterday.) I could have just run the robot, but I don't know what happens with those fat earthworms in the robot brushes. Once I started scooping the worms, I just continued with the leaves. The pool rake/net (Amazon.com : Swimline Professional Heavy Duty Deep-Bag Pool Rake, Blue : Swimming Pool Maintenance Kits : Garden & Outdoor) works fairly well, although I have to create a small current with the rake, then back up and scoop the leaves once they've lifted off the bottom. It's a skill I could have been happy not having to learn. Incidentally, the pebble finish doesn't help the pool rake to slide, either.

We're in old Katy, actually in the city about a mile north of Hwy 90. Prevailing wind here most of the time is out of the south. When the wind shifts to a north wind, as it's done with the storm, all the leaves adapted to the south wind get blown loose from the opposite direction and fall. We also have a couple of Esperanza plants (but those our our fault, not the landscape architect) that are currently around 15 feet high and drop yellow flowers into the pool day and night. They're coming down this winter! As I mentioned, we have Eagleston Hollies--11 of them, with nine along the side of our corner lot fence and two next to the pool. I never--no exaggeration--see Eagleston Holly leaves in the pool. I'm now a big fan of that evergreen ornamental tree. Supposed to grow to 20-25 feet with a 15 foot spread. Only maintenance they require that I can see is periodic snipping of suckers from the base of the tree.

Good luck with the pool.
Thanks again, BowserB.

You saved me from a lot of headaches as I was considering Esperanza's as well. Shopping for some Eagleston Hollies now.

Stay dry!! :D
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
373
Katy, Texas
Just to update. TS Beta has moved on, but this morning another half dozen deceased earthworms on the pool bottom and 40+ leaves on the bottom from our "evergreen" Wax Myrtles, along with a bunch floating or clinging to the waterline tiles. And the skimmer on the south end of the pool is full of Esperanza flowers (our pump runs from 1am to 10am.)
 

joepaiii

Well-known member
May 16, 2013
254
Allen, TX
Hi guys. A popular tree/shrub in the Houston area--popular with landscapers anyway--is the Wax Myrtle. I even had one draw a plan and plant four in my backyard in anticipation of a pool. He said they are evergreen and provide very good privacy. The privacy thing is mostly true, assuming regular professional pruning, however, one must understand evergreen does not mean no leaves in the pool. We also have Eagleston Hollies, which are evergreen. They drop maybe ten leaves a year. Wax Myrtle sheds its little skinny leaves 12 months a year. In a pool, they float around then cling to the sides, so even one of those solar skimmer things can't get them. Then they sink to the bottom where their airfoil shape strives to prevent scooping with a rake net. If you don't use skimmer socks, a fair number will drift in and sneak through the basket and right to the pump basket.

So there it is...my warning. Wax Myrtle within 10-15 feet of your pool will not make you happy.
Any pics of your Eaglestons? I am looking at those near my pool and between houses.
 

RaleighDawg

Member
May 2, 2020
15
Raleigh, NC
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-30
i am a big fan of the Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans), or sweet olive shrub. they grow fast and can get big if needed or can be cut back to a shrub size or small tree. the sweet olive blooms twice a year with the best smelling flower ever. can be smelled from a good distance. Leaves are not small, so fall straight down but flowers are very small and don’t seem to get away from the shrub. easy to grow and don’t seem to need any care.
 

Bvacchiano

Silver Supporter
Apr 6, 2018
286
Sugar Land, Texas
Yep I absolutely hate my huge wax myrtle that is right next to my pool. I’m cutting it down this winter. I have exactly the same issues u mention above. Not to mention wax myrtles are really an ugly tree!
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
373
Katy, Texas
Any pics of your Eaglestons? I am looking at those near my pool and between houses.
Here are the ones planted along our side fence (for scale, that's a 6 ft fence.) These were 15 gallon and have been there about 2.5 years. First winter, we had a rare snow. The next summer, our sprinkler system was out, as the main line was severed by the pool dig. Last summer was a drought with City of Katy asking for voluntary water conservation. This summer has been alternating periods of heavy rain and no rain. The Eagleston Hollies took it all. Supposed to be OK in USDA zones 6a through 9b. We're in the northern part of 9a.
 

Attachments

joepaiii

Well-known member
May 16, 2013
254
Allen, TX
Here are the ones planted along our side fence (for scale, that's a 6 ft fence.) These were 15 gallon and have been there about 2.5 years. First winter, we had a rare snow. The next summer, our sprinkler system was out, as the main line was severed by the pool dig. Last summer was a drought with City of Katy asking for voluntary water conservation. This summer has been alternating periods of heavy rain and no rain. The Eagleston Hollies took it all. Supposed to be OK in USDA zones 6a through 9b. We're in the northern part of 9a.
Thanks. I was just looking at some 15 gallon ones. How far apart did you plant them?
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
371
Bryan TX
I'll add crape myrtles to your list of plants with a lot of 'dropping.' They're a popular fast growing tree / bush that does well in the south. Unfortunately they also can get a fungus that's hard to get rid of. I enjoyed them for awhile, but don't plan on planting any in our yard. I've learned my lesson. Oh yes and our next door neighbors with a pool have quite a few of them. !!
 

Travelguy73

Member
Aug 16, 2020
24
Houston
Randomly came across this post. We are close to the dig date, and we literally have 20 wax myrtles along our back fence, planted 5-years ago for privacy that could tolerate some shade. I love them, but now really am not looking forward to cleaning up after them!

We removed three crape myrtles that were in the way of the pool. I never felt love for them the way I love my wax myrtles, HA.
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
371
Bryan TX
I was thinking on this thread while doing some fall gardening. Rosemary is a really hardy non shedding year round plant (not sure about snowy climes) that grows about 18" high in long stalks. (for lack of a better word) I'm not sure how they'd do around pool water but I plan to plant some near/around our future pool. So for those clueless, try some spice plants. I know rosemary is fantastic. I have grown purple basil and while it's great for cooking and smells great in the yard, it does shed and sends forth new seedlings. . . Nearby. Yes there are flowers. This one needs more maintenance. Rosemary requires none although I did cut some of ours back and it's doing fine. The smells are wonderful.
 

Attachments