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Has Fall Landed in your Pool? Extreme Leaf Removal

Autumn breezes and warm fall days. Beautiful to look at, but if your pool is surrounded by lots of deciduous trees - it can also make a lot of work to keep the pool clean. Here's how to reduce the work, and get the leaves out of your pool with less effort.

skimmer weir

Optimize the Skimmer Flow

Adjust the skimmers so that they are pulling at their strongest. You may want to close or nearly close the main drain valve to increase skimmer suction. Check to make sure that your skimmer weirs are in place. Weirs help increase the flow of water into the skimmer, and help to lock leaves inside the skimmer when the pump shuts off.

Skim-It attaches easily to most inground and above ground pool skimmers, an arm that reaches out and grabs leaves passing by, directing them into the skimmer. One of our best sellers, it can increase your skimmer performance, and the spring loaded design installs or removes in seconds without any tools.

Optimize the Return Flow

A circular flow of water around the pool helps to gently guide floating leaves in front of the skimmer, helping to trap them before they sink. Aim one or more eyeball fittings towards the surface, to get a small amount of surface action or ripple in the water. This helps to carry leaves around the pool to the skimmer more effectively. Eyeball fittings like the

Extreme Leaf Removal Tools

Leaf Gulper

When the leaves are so deep that they are clogging up the vacuum head or you need to empty the basket every 5 minutes, the Leaf Gulper is the answer.

Modeled after the Jandy Leaf Master, it works with the pressure from your garden hose, the better the hose pressure, the better and faster it will vacuum.

leaf rake for swimming pool

Leaf Rakes

Still using the dip 'n flip type of pool skim net? For heavy pool leaf problems, there is no tool better suited than a good Leaf Rake. For surface work, you can drag it behind you at the tile line, or use a push and pull method across the pool surface, from side to side.

Leaf rakes are also great for scooping leaves off of the floor. When you get really good at it, you can move faster than with a Leaf Gulper. Push the net slowly across the floor bouncing just slightly to create a small current. Do a quick flip turn and hard pull back when you reach the end of your pole, or the other side of the pool.

Leaf Catchers

Catching the leaves before they fall into the pool - now that's genius! Leaf catchers are commonly used to go over top of a solid pool cover, and then removed (with all of the leaves) once the leaves have fallen.

Leaf catchers also be used without a cover, as a leaf net cover during autumn. Use the grommets in the corners to pull the Leaf Catcher tight over the pool, so that leaves stay dry, and can blow off the cover.

Leaf Canisters:

If you are vacuuming a lot of leaves in through the skimmer, you know how quickly the pump basket can fill up. You can use a skimmer vac plate, and vacuum into the skimmer basket instead, which is much larger than the pump basket.

For those really big jobs however, the skimmer basket is even too small. With our in-line Leaf Canister and a 3 ft extension hose, connected to your vacuum hose, you can vacuum for longer without stopping. The design allows for consistent suction, even when the canister is full of leaves.


Leaf Net Skimmer Clip, a $12 tool that falls into the It’s-So-Simple-It’s-Genius category of new additions to the pool maintenance world. The Leaf Bone fits any 1.90” in ground pool ladder handrail, installs in seconds, and will save you and your skimmer baskets from excessive manual leaf removal.

Leaf Baskets

Not just any skimmer basket, but a SkimPro skimmer basket with a tower design that allows water flow even when the basket is full.

If you've ever had a skimmer basket break due to getting clogged with leaves, you'll appreciate the smart design. The tower also functions as a handy handle to lift the basket out easily, even with

Circular flow patterns

are best to keep sending the leaves in front of the skimmer. Aim your return fittings so that there is a slight ripple on the surface, to keep the leaves moving. Use eyeball fittings to direct the water flow from all returns, in the same direction of flow, creating a slight ripple that continues around the pool. So important, we've said it twice.

Water level

Keep your water level in the middle of the tile so that the skimmer can do its job. If the water level is too high, the leaves will just but up against the top of the skimmer, and not be skimmed. Of course if the water is too low, the skimmer sucks air, and you may lose prime or even damage the pool pump. If your flapper-door thingy is missing, your skimmer does not work half as well, and when the pump shuts off, leaves come floatin’ on out again!


Is either part of the solution, or – part of the problem. A substantial trimming to your surrounding trees every few years, in addition to pruning the dead branches every fall, will keep your work load down. Trimming back the length of very long and heavy branches, may prevent an unexpected break due to it’s size, especially in heavy wind or ice storms.

Pool Covers

leaf net to keep leaves out of pool

Are an obvious solution to your leaf problem. In addition to the leaf net mesh cover mentioned above, auto pool covers or solar covers keep your pool clean while keeping heat in the pool. Cleaning the auto cover or solar blanket is a bit of a trade-off, but may be easier than cleaning the pool.

To clean an automatic cover, pump most water off, and use a leaf blower or garden hose to clean the cover as it rolls up. When you are left with only 5-6 ft of cover still over the pool, use a leaf rake on a pole to scoop the leaves up. For solar covers, pull them over to where you have most deck space, and use a blower or hose to clean. Then make a fold, clean, make a fold, clean, etc.If you have a reel, clean it off as you roll it up. In both cases,  be ready to scoop out the last bit that falls in the pool.

Leaf Blocks

Hedges and bushes, low fences, storage boxes and retaining walls – set up to block the prevailing wind across the pool, can help keep leaves out of the pool. If trees are shedding a lot of litter around your pool, bushes, ground covers and decorative fences, or low retaining walls, can help keep the leaves up against a barrier and away from the pool.

Stain Free pool stain remover

Pool Stains from Leaves

After correcting a leaf overload problem, plastered pools may be stained from the tannins in the leaves. Balancing the water and shocking the pool will usually remove leaf stains. Extreme leaf stains in a plastered pool may require acid washing to see any real removal success.

Vinyl pools may stain on the steps and ladders more easily than the vinyl. If balancing the pool and raising the chlorine level for a few weeks doesn't help to remove leaf stains on a vinyl pool, look to Stain Free to remove it naturally, with Vitamin C.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.