How to Get Rid of Tree Roots Under an Above-Ground Swimming Pool

Things You\’ll Need

  • Shovel

  • Pick

  • Saw

  • Stump grinder, optional

  • Root-blocking edging, 24-inches tall


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Tropical tree with buttress roots Tree roots can cause problems when they grow where they aren\’t wanted. Image Credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Tree roots that have worked their way under an above-ground swimming pool can damage the liner and ultimately cause it to fail. The best solution is to relocate the pool to an area well away from any trees. If that isn't possible, the tree roots can be removed, but this may cause serious damage to the tree. Depending on the size and number of the roots, removing them may even kill the tree.

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Step 1

Drain the pool completely. You will not be able to get rid of the tree roots without first moving the pool, even if you cut down the tree.

Step 2

Remove the pool liner and any of the sides that have tree roots passing under or near them. Each pool is different, so refer to the manual for your pool for this procedure. In some cases, it is as simple as draining the pool and moving it. But in other cases. you must roll up the liner and lift it out, and then disconnect the side panels from one another with a wrench or other hand tools.

Step 3

Shovel the dirt out from around the roots to expose them. Cut them off at least a foot back from the edge of the pool and remove all of the tree roots in the pool area. You can do this by hand with a shovel, pick and saw or you can rent a stump and root grinder for the job.

Step 4

Dig a trench 23 inches deep between the edge of the pool and the remaining tree roots. Set the root-blocking edging in the trench vertically, allowing 1 inch to protrude from the soil. Check the directions for the specific brand of root blocking edging that you have, since in some cases you may not need to leave 1 inch sticking out above the ground.

Step 5

Fill the trench in with the soil you previously removed, packing it down so that the edging is held firmly in place. This will serve as a barrier to the tree roots if they try to grow back under the pool.

Step 6

Level the area under the pool according to the pool manufacturer's instructions. This varies by pool type and style, but generally involves laying down a smooth, level layer of sand under the entire area.

Step 7

Replace any parts you removed from the pool, return the liner to its place and refill the pool to complete the project.


If you have other trees in the area, install root-blocking material all the way around the pool before the roots become a problem.


Cutting tree roots can cause the tree to become unstable or to die. Such trees can fall down and cause serious damage to people, pets or property. Consult an arborist to determine if the roots can be safely removed or if the pool should be relocated.