When the fall comes..well, so do the leaves. As a pool owner, they will become a nuisance at best, if not a major problem, especially if you have a few large trees in the vicinity.
In this post, I’ll break down why you should make leaf removal a necessity, the best way to remove leaves from the surface or pool bottom, and a few tips to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Should you remove leaves from your pool?
The short answer is yes. Not only are leaves in a swimming pool an eyesore and inconvenient to swim around, they also can increase the chances of algae growth. Leaves contain organic matter like phosphorus, which promotes algae growth by acting as food.
That being said, are a few leaves in your pool something to be worried about? Probably not. It really comes down to how long you let them stay in there and how many you’re dealing with when things become problematic.
Other downsides of keeping leaves in your pool
As mentioned earlier, algae can turn your pool green if neglected, and the bacteria that feed off of them can cause rashing or even skin infections.
From a practical standpoint, leaves can also negatively impact your pool’s filter system by clogging it, decreasing its overall efficiency and lifespan.
When the leaves get waterlogged and sink to the bottom, they also leave ugly stains on the sides or bottom of the pool I’ll cover in a minute.
Can you shock a pool with leaves in it?
While you can shock a pool with leaves in it, leaves will ultimately reduce the cleaning solution’s effectiveness. For that reason, it’s best to remove as many leaves as possible before shocking your pool.
5 ways to remove leaves from your pool
If you need a way to remove leaves from your pool, you do have multiple solutions that can solve this problem.
The device you choose will depend on the number of leaves, if they are located on the surface (or stuck to the bottom), and whether or not you decide to proactively clean your pool with a robot.
Some of these devices are designed to remove large numbers of leaves at the surface, while others are meant to remove debris from the bottom. If you have a pool full of leaves, it definitely will require a bit of manual effort.
1. Leaf rake
One of these necessary devices if you have a pool, is a pool rake. They’re inexpensive, simple to use, and most attach to the same pole as your skimmer.
Different from your standard manual skimmer, a leaf rake has a deep pocket to catch leaves and debris, keeping it from going back into the pool. These are also quite good at removing frogs or other larger items.
This one on Amazon I found for around $25, and is really all you need to remove leaves efficiently. This mesh net attachment attaches to a standard telescopic pole you may already have with your skimmer.
2. Floating skimmer
What’s called a ‘floating skimmer’ is a device that will automatically move about the surface of your pool collecting leaves and debris before it sinks to the bottom.
These are great to use in tandem with a vacuum, since the floating skimmer works at the surface while a vacuum can handle anything under the surface.
3. Pool leaf vacuum
A pool leaf vacuum is essential for removing leaves stuck to the bottom of a pool. If you’ve got a pool with too many leaves, you’ll need to regularly stop the vacuum to empty the basket or first start with a pool rake.
Typically the best pool vacuums are the ones without brushes. Vacuums with brushes tend to push the leaves along the floor, making it more difficult to get under the suction.
If you just need something affordable to get the job done, check out the Poolwhale portable pool vacuum here, a best seller on Amazon.
While some are more effective than others, below is a quick video to illustrate how most of these vacuums work. These attach to a garden hose, which creates the suction you need.
4. Robotic pool cleaner
The crème de la crème of pool cleaners: robot vacs. These devices will clean the bottom of the pool, as well as the sides, removing debris and dirt, including the occasional leaf. A robot pool cleaner isn’t cheap, but many users will say it’s worth the investment.
I recommend the Polaris line for leaf removal. These have larger canisters for leaf removal compared to their counterparts and have personally used one of these like this 9650IQ on Amazon.
If you’re looking for a good wall climber, controllable via your smartphone (and considered ‘smart’), the Polaris brand really sets a high bar technologically.
That being said, many pool owners on forums unanimously agree that the Dolphin Premier Robotic Pool Cleaner is the best, and it’s also the most widely bought robotic cleaner here on Amazon.
How to prevent leaves in your pool
If you want to prevent leaves from getting into your pool in the first place, you have a couple of options starting with the types of trees you have in the area.
Re-think your landscaping strategy when it comes to trees
This is the glaringly obvious solution — but to prevent the leaves from falling into your pool, the best solution is to remove the trees or plants that are dropping them.
If you’re designing your landscaping around your pool, stick to trees that don’t have a lot of leaf fall throughout the seasons or go with something like small fan palms.
If leaves have been a problem in the past, it’s a good idea to work on keeping the area around your pool tight and well-maintained. For this reason, many pool owners will limit plants to small shrubs, and avoid trees with leaves or needles, like oaks and pines.
Palms are generally a good choice for shade and beauty, and there are many to consider. Check out my post: Planting Palm Trees Near your Pool: What to Know for everything you need to know if this is something you are considering in the future.
Consider a leaf net
To catch leaves before they go into your pool, a leaf net is a great investment to protect your pool cover as well as keep leaves out.
These nets fit on top of a standard pool cover, and you simply remove them when you want to use the pool.
Protect your primary pool cover from leaf staining
In addition to your standard pool cover, these leaf net covers are a good investment since they do add a second layer of protection above your primary cover.
This can obviously help eliminate leaves from finding their way under your main cover, but also help prevent any leaf staining.
These are also much more affordable than standard pool covers since they are made of a mesh material. I found the one above here on Amazon for around $100.
How to remove leaf stains from your pool
Since leaf stains fall into the category of organic stains that are pretty easy to remove, the best way to remove these from your pool is to shock it with granular chlorine or apply it to the stained area if drained.
If you have leaf stains on your liner, be sure to use a liner-safe cleaner to avoid damage.
If your pool cover contains leaf stains, most non-bleach-containing organic cleaners like Simple Green should do the trick when used with a soft-bristled brush.
If you own a pool, keeping it clean is crucial. Regular maintenance of removing leaves and debris can keep your pool looking its best while also preventing your filter system from getting clogged.
The method you ultimately choose will depend on the number of leaves in the pool, your budget, and what’s convenient for you.
Since pool season tends to end before most leaves begin to fall, investing in a quality cover is really the way to go to avoid most of these problems! A cordless leaf blower + a good cover is all you need.