Blog Header Logo

Dealing With Excessive Leaves In Your Pool

If I’m in my pool, the leaf net is always close at hand to remove leaves in my pool. However, I have a tree that is actually in my front yard that manages to shed various pods, seedlings, and an array of leaves throughout the year that inevitably land in my pool.

This is the time of year that most of us are dealing with heavy amounts of leaves in our pool area regardless if your pool is open or closed. I’ve collected a handful of my favorite anti-leaf tools to assist you in your own fight for a debris-free pool. Let’s jump in!

skimmer net clip

Leaf Bone Bone Skimmer Net Clip

The Leaf Bone skimmer clip is an inexpensive tool that falls into the It’s-So-Simple-It’s-Genius category of new additions to the pool maintenance world. This nifty clip fits any 1.90” inground pool ladder handrail, installs in seconds, and can spare your pump the extra energy from decreased water flow caused by a leaf-clogged skimmer, as well as save time manually patrolling the pool with your leaf rake in hand.

leaf catcher

Pool Cover Leaf Catchers

If your pool has large trees nearby, leaves and sticks can create problems for pool covers. A simple, lightweight solution to leaves and debris is a leaf catcher. Leaf catchers act as a protective net that rests over the top of your winter cover to collect all fall leaves. Super easy to remove, with a winter’s worth of leaves in tow. Inexpensive and available in a variety of sizes for both inground and above ground pools. Pool Leaf Covers protect your cover, and save you a lot of time and effort.

garden hose vacuum

Leaf Gulper Garden Hose Vacuum

The Leaf Gulper pool bottom cleaner connects to your telescoping pole like a vacuum head, but instead of a vacuum hose, it uses a garden hose. The water from your garden hose blows the leaves up into the net as you roll over the. The bottom has a soft thistle brush that is safe for concrete, fiberglass or vinyl liners. The Pool Blaster is the exact same premise, only it functions via a battery powered fan that sucks up the leaves into the bag.

in-line leaf canister

In-Line Leaf Canister

Leaf canisters attach to your manual pool vacuum or suction pool cleaner with a short hose that connects to the skimmer. The basket or bag collects the leaves to prevent them from going through your pool plumbing (potentially clogging it). Stops leaves from collecting in your pump basket, so you don't have to stop vacuuming to empty the pump or skimmer basket. Plus, large-capacity leaf strainer traps leaves and debris, avoiding a loss of suction from blocked baskets.

skimmer cleaner

Skim-It Pool Cleaner

The Skim-It pool cleaner is another one of those brilliantly simple accessories that works for both inground and above ground pools at a cheap price that takes ZERO effort to install. The part that attaches to the inside of the pool skimmer is simply a tension spring—like a mini tension curtain rod. The Skim It extends the reach of your skimmer, trapping the debris so that the skimmer can coral it into the basket. I use a Skim-It on both of my pool skimmers.

24" Soft Mesh Leaf Rake

leaf rake

Our 24” pool leaf rake skims and scoops leaves, sticks, and larger debris with ease! This heavy-duty pool cleaning tool features a solid aluminum frame and handle with a plastic rim that’s beveled for pool floor cleaning. This leaf rake also features a rugged, lightweight, soft mesh fabric that makes it easier to pull through water, so cleaning is faster, especially when full of debris. The special fabric also makes it super easy to empty! Not super stiff and slimy like those 'blue' leaf rake nets.

Pro Dual Cam Telepole


The Pro Dual Cam Pole features both an internal and external cam that makes extending, locking, and closing quick and easy. With two locks in place, inner poles will not slip. The Pro Pole is 30% thicker than standard poles, extends from 8-16’, and has a soft rubber grip and handle that’s super comfortable to hold. Best of all, the Pro has an EZ release system that makes interchanging tools like your leaf net, brush, or vacuum easier than other poles and protects the pole end from damage.

Natural Chemistry PHOSfree


Another hidden nuisance leaves can contribute to is algae. Leaves contain phosphates, which are the food that spawns algae growth. Excessive leaves can ultimately result in excessive algae. Natural Chemistry’s PHOSfree is not an algaecide, but more of a natural algae prevention solution. Just add the recommended dosage of PHOSfree to your pool with the filter running. Especially recommended for mesh covered pools, or any pool with algae problems from heavy organic loads.

How to Use a Leaf Rake:

The technique is to feel the bottom with the leading edge of the leaf rake, slowly pushing forward across the floor. Bounce the net just slightly to create a very small current in front of the net. Extend your pole and work across the pool in rows. As you reach the other side of the pool, make a quick flip-over of the net with a short and sharp pull backwards (towards you) to create a counter current.

Be gentle, you can make too much current as you scoop, which sends leaves to the surface, but not enough current and the leaves will come out of the bag. Similarly, as you pull a full bag up to the surface, do so quickly, to keep the leaves in the bag. Keep a trash can on pool deck to dump the leaves into, or use the technique of flipping the net over the fence.

Circular flow patterns

Aim your return fittings so that there is a slight ripple on the surface, to keep the leaves moving. Sync your eyeball return fittings so that they are both pointing in the same direction, creating a slight ripple that continues around the pool. The surface disruption should fade as you get closer to the skimmer, or else the leaves will blow right past the skimmer.

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 butt 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. How about your skimmer weirs? If your flapper door things are missing, your skimmer does not work half as well, and when the pump shuts off, leaves come floating on out again!

Broken skimmer baskets? Check out the Skimpro skimmer basket, which is made to fit the 3 most common types of inground pool skimmers, has a central tower which allows pump suction to continue, even when the basket becomes full. This "tower" also makes a nice handle to pull the basket out. It's made to handle heavy loads under super suction, without splitting down the sides.


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 its size, especially in heavy wind or ice storms.

Pool Covers

Pool covers 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 blankets, 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.

I highly recommend all of these suggestions for any above ground or inground pool owner. All of these simple devices and natural chemicals will save you time, effort and perhaps, most importantly... money!

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.