It can be a real pain to maintain a swimming pool when bunches of leaves are constantly falling into it.
Coming from a guy who had a pool service business for sixteen years, I’ve had more than my share of dealing with leaves in pools.
If too many leaves and debris are falling into your pool, stay on top of the situation by skimming the pool and emptying the skimmer basket at least once a day. To prevent some leaves from going in the pool, trim trees close by, set up a barrier on the pool’s deck, and use a mesh pool cover to help.
WHICH TREE’S LEAVES ARE FALLING INTO YOUR POOL?
Depending on what area of the country you live in, there are different varieties of trees. And they all have different shapes and sizes of leaves that fall at different times. Here are a few that I dealt with in Central Florida
1 Oak tree leaves
For me, oak trees have the worst leaves for swimming pools. It’s not that they are very large or harder to vacuum as much as it’s that they drop all year long.
In addition to that, many oaks will shed a large percentage of their leaves once a year too. That along with the seeding and pollinating make them enemy number one for making pools dirty.
2 Pine tree needles
This is another tree type that will constantly drop its leaves(needles) all year or season long.
What makes pine needles especially fun to work with is that they are hard to vacuum and get caught in leaf skimmers easily.
3 The Maple tree family
Most maple-type trees will only shed most of their leaves once a year. This is great for most of the year, but really bad during “shedding” time.
Having a big, beautiful maple tree near your pool means that your pool will be full of leaves for about a week or two usually at the end of the swim season.
4 Sycamore tree leaves
The giant leaves from a sycamore tree will only drop once a year, but man will they wreak havoc on your pool at that time.
The biggest pain to trees with giant leaves (like sycamores) is that you cannot vacuum them up with a traditional suction or robot vacuum. They have to be manually scooped out.
5 Dogwood tree flowers
Aren’t dogwood trees beautiful when blooming? And don’t those dropped flowers make a nasty mess of your pool if too close?
6 Magnolia tree leaves
Although not as popular, magnolia trees have super hardy, waxed, giant leaves that won’t break down much in water.
The good news with magnolias is that the leaves are so dense that they don’t blow far from the tree, which is great if your pool is close by.
7 “Weed” trees like Rain trees and Chinaberry trees
Fast-growing trees are always a mess to swimming pools. This is because they are not stable and just about every species of weed tree drop their leaves, berries, flowers, etc. all the time.
Weed tree branches break easily in high winds, so having them close to an above-ground pool is not a good idea.
HOW TO PREVENT SOME LEAVES FROM FALLING INTO YOUR ABOVE-GROUND POOL
The good news about above-ground pools and falling leaves is that the pool is above the ground, which means that they cannot blow in from the ground around them.
Make a barrier around the pool
Many above ground pools have decks built high next to them (at or close to the waterline) OR are semi-inground. These may have leaves blow in from off the deck or ground.
If you have leaves blowing in your pool from your deck or the ground, then placing a barrier around the pool where they are blowing in helps a lot. Maybe more than you would think.
I have seen pool owners use black flexible drainage pipe, a line of bricks, and even lawn furniture turned on their sides to block the leaves from blowing into the pool with great results.
You will have to sweep or blow away where the leaves were caught by the barrier, but that is much easier than if they entered the pool.
Trim tree branches close to or over the pool
Another answer, which is much more obvious is to trim back any trees that are close to the pool. Pool branches that are hanging directly over the water will provide the most leaves dropping in the pool.
It may not be easy to trim branches directly over the pool, but it will be worth it if you are getting too many falling leaves.
Cutting bigger tree branches is dangerous. You are usually cutting them from below, they are often heavier than they look, and they are very unpredictable where they fall.
If you aren’t sure about cutting back your trees, pay a tree guy to do it. They are expensive, but if you try it yourself, you may find out why.
BEST WAYS TO CLEAN LEAVES OUT OF AN ABOVE-GROUND POOL
First off, if it’s snowing leaves in your pool every day, then staying on top of cleaning them out is best.
This means going out there every day to empty the skimmer basket and manually skim the pool. Letting the leaves build-up is not a good idea for two reasons.
The first is that the longer the leaves (or anything else is in the water), the more chemicals (mainly chlorine) are needed to maintain the pool. Remember that anything that enters the pool will affect its chemistry.
The second reason is that leaves are much easier to clean out of a pool when they are still floating on the surface. When they start sinking, it gets tougher.
USE A LEAF RAKE INSTEAD OF A LEAF NET
With a leaf net, you can only skim the leaves off the water surface and then have to clean the net every time.
A leaf rake is like a bag made out of the same mesh material. It also attaches to your pool pole, but the big difference is that you can scoop up the leaves and trap them in the basket.
Using a leaf rake will allow you to get more leaves out of the pool much faster and easier than a leaf net will. And a leaf rake scopes up leaves from the pool bottom much, much easier.
USE A POOL LEAF VACUUM
You might have a robot cleaner, a suction cleaner, or manually vacuum your pool. None of those will vacuum up large amounts of leaves well.
A thing called a pool leaf vacuum will be an absolute lifesaver for you if you have a ton of leaves in the bottom of your pool.
This device hooks to your pool pole just like the skimmers do, but with this, you have to attach your water hose to it as well.
The water hose will send jets of water upward in the device which will allow you to suck up all large debris on the pool’s floor. Nice!
MESH POOL COVERS WORK WELL
In reality, most people don’t use the pool covers that they bought or came with the pool package. The reason is that they are hard to put on and take off.
Mesh pool covers are much easier to work with because they are lighter and rainwater doesn’t sit on top of them when in place.
A mesh pool cover won’t stop rainwater or anything small from entering the pool water (like a solid cover will) but it will trap almost all of the leaves. So, when you are ready to use the pool, you remove the mesh cover along with all the leaves that fell in the pool.
This is a good option for pools that get a ton of leaves falling in them.
A SCREEN ENCLOSURE WORKS WELL BUT IS VERY EXPENSIVE
Depending on the area of the country you live in, some will opt to have a full cage screen enclosure assembled around their above-ground pool.
This works perfectly for keeping fallen things from entering the pool, but has the two major drawbacks of the high cost and keeping the pool water too cold.