If you have ever viewed a satellite image of Denton or have flown over the city in a small aircraft, two things are very noticeable: There are quite a few swimming pools in Denton, and there are many trees in most areas of the city.
During pool season, these trees provide so much for the pool owner in the way of beautifying the pool environment, providing a cool spot near the pool, and providing shade for people 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 may be a very difficult and 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! — here 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 the leaves will still accumulate on top of the mesh cover and will need to be removed, the cover keeps the majority of leaves from getting into the pool. A properly installed mesh cover — stretched taut and trampoline-like over your pool — can be cleared off with a leaf blower.
• Leaf nets. These are a much less expensive alternative to mesh covers, but work on the same principle. Leaf nets look similar to fishing nets. They lie across the pool, anchored by water-filled tubes, and catch the leaves as they fall. The cover must be removed periodically so the leaves can be removed.
• 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 leaves from blowing into the pool.
• Daily maintenance. If you are disciplined enough to do it, daily maintenance is a great method of removing leaves from your swimming pool. This requires you to empty the skimmer baskets, dip leaves out of the pool, and remove leaves from the automatic cleaner on a daily basis. Some pool owners find that the cleanup may need to be done two or three times a day when the leaves are really falling.
One thing to note here: Be aware of the possibility of snakes in skimmer baskets. It may be difficult to a see snakes curled up in the basket. Use a skimmer basket with a handle so you don’t have to reach into the basket. Before reaching into the skimmer basket, look closely and consider using a hook or pliers to remove the basket.
One product that can be especially helpful this time of year is the Skim Pro skimmer basket, which works well even when full of leaves — it is basically a clog-proof skimmer basket. It has a center tower that can be used as a handle. 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, certified building professional, is the owner of Gohlke Pools and a member of the National Spa & Pool Institute, Aquatech and the Better Business Bureau. He may be reached at 940-387-7521.