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Thread: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

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    Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    New to TFP after a long battle with pool care. Overhanging Oak trees result in a pool that resembles a dirty pond during Spring and Fall.

    I've completed Pool School and purchased TF-100 Test kit with these (embarrassing) results:

    pH: 8.2
    T/A: 200
    CYA: 90
    FC: 0
    CC: 0
    TC: 0

    The Pool Calculator recommends draining 56% of pool (and refilling) in order to reduce pH. Is this the best first step? The water generally looks green/brown from tree tannin & leaves & algae.

    A large Live Oak and a Blue Oak hang over the pool. Spring and Fall the pool turns brown from falling tannin, leaves and the like. Any long term recommendations are most appreciated. A pool specialist advised me to cut down the trees or fill the pool with dirt!

    Thanks in advance for this great resource.

    Lee McKinley
    Pool Size: 24,000 Gallons
    Filter: Cartridge Sta-Rite System 3 Model S8M500
    Pool: IG, 10 year-old Plaster
    Location: Sacramento Ca.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    Welcome to TFP!

    My Pool Calculator would not recommend water replacement because of your PH. But it would recommend water replacement because of your CYA level.

    Water replacement is a good place to start. The recommended CYA level is 30 to 50 (unless you have a SWG). A 45% water replacement should get your CYA level down to the top of that range. If you are in an area with a high water table you want to be cautious about how much you lower the water level. In most places a 45% drain is not a problem, but if the water table is high enough there could be damage from the pool floating out of the ground.

    You are also going to need to start adding chlorine and lowering your PH and TA reasonably soon. The best thing is if you can do the water replacement right away, and then start working on chlorine, PH and TA afterwards. If you can't get around to the water replacement for several days you may need to address at least the PH now.

    I didn't see you post a CH number. It is important to know the CH level, especially since PH and TA are so high.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    Welcome to TFP.

    Draining is to lower the CYA, not the pH. You can lower the pH with muriatic acid.

    What is your water situation as far as refilling and rain? 90ppm CYA is tolerable IF you stay on top of the water and maintain the chlorine where Richard's chart at pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock recommends. The chart calls for 7-10ppm free chlorine with CYA at 90ppm. The most important number is the 7ppm minimum level. If it gets below that for very long, even a few hours in the middle of the day, algae will start. The algae won't be killed quickly when you get the chlorine back over 7ppm, and it will begin to consume chlorine, which results in the chlorine getting below 7ppm more quickly, which lets the algae grow more.....You quickly get into a pool "death" spiral.

    If water is cheap or rainfall plentiful, you can do a partial refill or just wait on rainfall to do it for you. The key is to use liquid chlorine instead of any form of stabilized chlorine so you aren't adding more CYA.

    Your TA is also high, and might benefit from water replacement as well. That would depend on your fill water composition. Run a test on your tap water for pH, TA and CH to get an idea of what water replacement will do with regards to other chemistry.

    Regardless of CYA level, the most important thing is to make sure you maintain that minimum FC level 24/7. I'd recommend testing and adjusting it morning and evening at first. It seems like a lot of testing at first, but after a few weeks you get a feel for what the FC is going to be, and you can cut down to once a day. My ritual for testing is that I grab a cold drink and the test kit and head for the pool when I get home from work. It's actually a relaxing few minutes on the pool deck.

    The trees and pollen/tannin are another issue. Possibly running the pump more with flow directed more to the skimmer(s) than the main drain. A robotic cleaner might improve things as well.

    Post more details about your pool or ideally add the info to your signature so we can be more specific in our answers.

    ETA: I saw Jason's post when I tried to post. We put a different emphasis as to how quickly you want to get the CYA down, but I do think it depends on the availability of replacement water.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    In the Industry

    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    Hi, Lee,

    Welcome to the forum. I feel your pain. My closest trees are 70-80 feet away and they are easily my biggest pool maintenance headache.

    If you are willing to make the commitment, You can get your water clear and keep it that way. If those trees are, in fact, overhanging, you are in for a lot of work. That's no small pool and the effort to keep the leaves and junk out continually will be pretty intense. The advice to cut down the trees is not unreasonable, IMO.

    Now after all that, balancing your pool water and keeping it crystal clear is quite easy once you win the tree battle. Your pH is too high but can be changed in hours. Mostly, you have to stop using the pucks (tri-chlor). They have added so much CYA to your pool water they have rendered your chlorine somewhat ineffective at normal levels.

    To balance your water, a partial drain would be my first step followed by a really good cleaning to remove all the junk. Then as you refill, you can balance your water and get some chlorine in there. Lack of chlorine is the reason your water is swampy looking......but you cannot use the pucks as your chlorine'll have to switch to something else for your chlorine to be able to work it's magic.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    chezhed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Mission, TX

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    You have the chemistry answers from those that know a lot more than I 8) .

    I'm going to address the leaves in the fall question because our pool is surrounded by Oaks as well, and maples, and cypress and elm and pine and most people wonder if we were crazy to put one in...
    We make a "tent" with a leaf net over the pool and wieght it on the edges with water tubes. We string a vinyl coated clothes line between two heavy rebar pieces stuck in the ground and staked back. This works great for keeping leaves out and does a pretty good job on pine needles as well. The skimmer catches the pine needles.

    This past year the setup worked great...tent up in early Nov and down by New Years (so we could take a polar bear plunge ). Pool is accessible from either end, provided you kneel or are very short, for skimmer access, water testing, etc. I don't have a cleaner yet....and this worked fantastic. I seldom had to clean the pump basket and didn't touch the cartridges for months. Water chemistry stayed consistent throught the whole period.

    It is a slightly obtrusive black net, but we still enjoyed the sound of the waterfall and got to view clear blue water all winter. Well worth the small investment and little time to string the net.
    11,000 gal + overflow spa, IG gunnite, Pentair 48FNS DE filter, Hayward SP3210X15 pump, CompuPool CPSC36 Chlorine generator, pool valet w/5 zones, Pentair LP heater

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    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Cupertino, CA

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    Regarding JohnT's advice, in Sacramento I expect rainfall is scarce and replacement water not cheap. But with a cartridge filter there's no loss through backwashing, so you're basically not going to lower CYA without purposely draining some.

    The first thing is to make sure you're not adding any more CYA--no pucks, no tablets. Then you get to decide how to handle the tradeoff between maintaining a high enough FC versus biting the bullet on the drain/refill.

    Over time, meaning probably a couple years, CYA might go down by itself. (Unless you goof up the way "chem geek" did recently... fast but not really advisable.) I know I had to pump out a fair amount this winter when the rains finally came. (Got back from ski week and it was about 1" from overflowing the pool, yikes!)

    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Dallas, TX

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    My own experience with overhanging red oak, pecan and hackberry trees is that BBB works wonderfully. The advantage of all that shade is that during the summer months your chlorine demand is actually less. Of course, the trees are very good at taking turns dropping pollen, acorns, pecans, leaves and more leaves, such that you only have 4-6 weeks in a row of not scooping large balls of something out of the pool and skimmer baskets every day.

    The Polaris also does a great job of picking up whatever sinks. Alternating debris bags every day gives them time to dry out so you can empty them completely.

    You will likely find that chlorine demand follows closely with the amount of organic matter falling from the trees, so keep up with it daily. A lower CYA level really helps; I keep mine between 40 and 50 to keep the necessary chlorine levels within reason.

    For me, the benefit of the trees far outweighs the work needed to keep the pool clean and clear. The shade means less heat (and in Dallas, that is a really good thing), less chlorine loss and no sunscreen.

    I suggest Pool School, BBB and a sturdy leaf net. Good luck!
    31000 Gal IG L-shape w/ spa, Riversand finish (PebbleSheen clone)
    Jandy 60 sq ft DE, 2.5 HP (uprated) Stealth pump, Polaris 280 w/ booster, Jandy PDA PS4 controller

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    eastern washington state

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    I used to think that evergreen trees or pine trees were a very clean tree, Ask me now. I am a new pool owner and i think different about them now... All those pine cones have seeds in them and they do fly right into the pool

    But i would not give them up!!!
    live in eastern washington state
    18x36, Vinyl inground 24k
    Hayward 1 hp filter pump
    1 skimmer/2 returns
    24" sand filter, polaris 280 with booster pump.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Overhanging Trees & Pool Care Challenges

    Thank you one and all for the replies. Your responses brought new hope that our trees and pool can live harmoniously. What an awesome group.

    My takeaways:

    1. Start with a partial drain & refill to reduce CYA. I'll start this tonight!
    2. Record a CH test (completed: 250 is the reading)
    3. No more chlorine pucks! I'm off to Costco for liquid bleach.
    4. Work on lowering TA and pH once the pool is refilled.
    5. Consider a pool cover!


    Lee McKinley
    Pool Size: 24,000 Gallons
    Filter: Cartridge Sta-Rite System 3 Model S8M500
    Pool: IG, 10 year-old Plaster
    Location: Sacramento Ca.

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