This has been a very interesting spring and summer in regards to weather—we had record rainfall in April & May and since that time it has been extremely dry. Typically the leaves don’t begin falling until the cold weather arrives in November, but this recent dry stretch has many trees dropping their leaves. This lack of rain puts trees under more stress, which results in dead brown leaves this time of year.
What can a pool owner do to combat the leaf problem? Short of cutting the trees down (please don’t do this), following are some suggestions to help:
Mesh covers have become increasingly popular in recent years. Mesh covers allow water to pass through but catch the leaves. Although the leaves will still have to be removed from the top of the mesh cover, the cover keeps the majority of the leaves from getting into the pool. A properly installed mesh cover (which resembles a trampoline-look over your pool) allows you to blow the leaves off the cover.
Leaf nets are a much less expensive alternative to mesh covers, but work on the same principle. Leaf nets look similar to fishing nets. They lay across the pool, anchored by water tubes, and catch the leaves as they fall. Periodically the cover must be removed in order to remove the leaves from the top of the cover.
Although the primary purposes of a removable safety fence are to keep children away from the pool and keep pets or stray animals (such as mice, rats, frogs, snakes, crawfish, turtles, armadillos, beavers, and even an occasional skunk) they are also effective at keeping blowing leaves from entering the pool.
If you are disciplined enough to do it every day, daily maintenance is a great method of removing leaves from your swimming pool. This requires you to empty the skimmer baskets, dip the leaves out of the pool, and remove leaves from the automatic cleaner on a daily basis. Some pool owners find that 2-3 times per day is required when the leaves are really falling, especially in heavily treed areas. One consideration here is to be aware of the possibility of snakes in the skimmer baskets. Often times it is difficult to see snakes as they often curl up in the basket and are not clearly visible. Therefore, it is important to be careful when cleaning your skimmer baskets. Be sure that your skimmer basket has a handle so that you do not have to reach into the basket. In addition, before reaching into the skimmer basket, look very closely, and even consider using a hook or pliers to remove the basket. A product that can be especially helpful this time of year is the Skim Pro skimmer basket, which is a skimmer basket that works well even if it is full of leaves—it is basically a clog-proof skimmer basket. This skimmer basket can also be helpful in avoiding snakes as the basket has a center tower, which can be used as a handle to help remove the basket. These skimmer baskets are available at most pool supply stores.
As you remove the leaves from your yard and pool, I encourage you to look on the positive side and remember how much shade and beauty these trees provide you during the spring and summer. And remember—it will not last forever.