Matt Gohlke / Pools

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A mesh cover keeps falling leaves out of a swimming pool, and if it’s properly installed, the owner can simply use a blower to remove the leaves.<252>

Time for pool owners’ fall battle

The 100-degree days appear to be over for this year. Soon it will be getting cold, and I have heard several weather forecasters call for a winter that is colder and wetter than normal. That doesn’t bode too well for pools if preparations aren’t made, especially in the Denton area.

If you have ever viewed a satellite image of Denton or have flown over the city in a small aircraft, something is very noticeable: There are many trees in most areas of Denton.

During pool season, these trees provide so much for the pool owner in the way of beautifying the environment, providing a cool spot near the pool, and providing shade for those who need sun protection.

On the other hand, this time of year, pool owners are paying the price of having trees. Depending on the number of deciduous trees nearby, it can be a trying time of the year to own a swimming pool. In the heavily treed neighborhoods of southeastern Denton (Southridge, Montecito and Forrestridge) and northeast Denton, the leaf problem is particularly bad this time of year. Although the problem only lasts one or two months, it is a difficult one or two months.

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: These have become increasingly popular in recent years. Mesh covers allow water to pass through but catch the leaves. Although leaves must still be removed from the cover, it keeps the majority of the leaves from getting into the pool. A properly installed mesh cover (which stretches taut, like a trampoline, over your pool) allows you to blow the leaves off the cover.

Leaf nets: Leaf nets are a much less expensive alternative to mesh covers, but they 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.

Safety fences: Although the primary purposes of a removable safety fence are to keep children away from the pool and keep out 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 wind-blown leaves from entering the pool.

Daily maintenance: 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 sometimes a daily basis. Some pool owners find they must tend to the pool two or three times a day when the leaves are really falling.

One consideration here: Be aware of the possibility of snakes in the skimmer baskets. Oftentimes it is difficult to see snakes as they curl up in the basket and are not clearly visible. Be careful when cleaning your skimmer baskets. Use skimmer baskets with handles so you don’t have to reach into the basket. In addition, before reaching into the skimmer basket, look very closely, and consider even using a hook or pliers to remove the basket.

Some skimmer baskets that can be especially helpful this time of year are the Skim Pro and the EZ Debris baskets, which work well even if they are full of leaves — they are basically clog-proof. Each also has a center tower that functions as a handle, and can help you avoid snakes. These skimmer baskets are available at most pool supply stores.

As you remove the leaves from your yard and pool this fall, remember how much shade and beauty these trees provide you during the spring and summer. And remember: The leaves will not fall forever!

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or

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