New Pool Owner....Leaves and Pinestraw?!

mayberry32

Silver Supporter
Jun 24, 2019
127
Watkinsville, GA
Okay, our pool was finished a few weeks ago and I bought the TF100 test kit. I've been reading and learning all I can and I'm figuring all the chemistry out pretty easily. No worries there. And before I get blasted, I know it's fall, and worse than other times of the year. But the last few days, with 98 degree heat and no rain, I've had to clean my skimmer baskets at least 3 times a day, or they get completely clogged. That's not easy while working during the day. And tonight, I was in the middle of using the leaf net and a storm blew in. I was nearly finished, cleaned the skimmer baskets really quick, and ran inside. A 20 minute storm passed, and I went back out. My baskets were completely overflowing, and there were thousands of leaves in the pool. I used the leaf net again, and checked the baskets. Completely full and overflowing again. So, it appears that once the baskets are full, the water circulation slows down (makes sense), and leaves just pile up in the pool instead of moving into the skimmers. Is there anything that can help this, or prevent it, or is that just part of owning a pool? will it hurt if I let this happen, and just use the leaf net and clean the skimmers once a day? How in the **** am I supposed to go anywhere during the fall? Do I need to hire someone to come over and clean the baskets out daily, or just let it get backed up? I'm not complaining. We absolutely LOVE the pool. Just trying to figure everything out and will do whatever needs to be done to take care of things the way they need to be taken care of. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
271
Spring Valley, NY
Good luck. Pine straws as u call them are a pain. Leaves are a bit easier but no fun either. The tree doesn't belong there anymore. They drop all summer long.
 

mayberry32

Silver Supporter
Jun 24, 2019
127
Watkinsville, GA
So, should I just let it go and clean once a day, or do I need to stay ahead of it? Will the leaves stain the liner like they do a boat, or are they okay to only be cleaned out once a day?

That $8k auto cover is looking better and better by the day.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
271
Spring Valley, NY
The biggest problem I see here is that the pump will run with no one looking after it and those leaves will clog the skimmer in a very short time. It'll suffocate the pump. Not sure on what advice to give you. Maybe someone with this kind of experience will chime in.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
509
Alamo, CA
That $8k auto cover is looking better and better by the day.
Yes! Are you still at a point in the build where the PB could install an under-track auto-cover? If so, do it, even if they have to replace deck and coping. It is so much easier to blow or sweep tree droppings off the cover than to constantly bag them out of the pool and skimmers. You will be sorry forever if you don't add the auto-cover. It is by far the best feature of my pool.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
448
MA
Yes! Are you still at a point in the build where the PB could install an under-track auto-cover? If so, do it, even if they have to replace deck and coping. It is so much easier to blow or sweep tree droppings off the cover than to constantly bag them out of the pool and skimmers. You will be sorry forever if you don't add the auto-cover. It is by far the best feature of my pool.
I always wondered how an auto cover would handle heavy debris like this? How do you remove the debris if it's wet and heavy like after a storm?
Is there ever an issue with some of the pine needles or other debris getting caught in the track?

My pool is very close to the house. So it's all about aesthetics for me. I'm not sure I would like looking at the auto cover instead of the nice Crystal clear TFP pool water.

8K would go a long way to removing the offending trees.

It really depends on your situation, removing the trees could be very beneficial to your home as well.
 

Kellyp

Silver Supporter
Jul 5, 2018
53
Acworth ga
So, should I just let it go and clean once a day, or do I need to stay ahead of it? Will the leaves stain the liner like they do a boat, or are they okay to only be cleaned out once a day?

That $8k auto cover is looking better and better by the day.
Hi mayberry, I can only tell you what I do. I have an ornamental pear very close to the pool, when the leaves drop I want to cry, but husband refuses to remove it. What I do instead is net all the leaves out once every day, blow away everything that drops in the yard everyday, and empty the skimmers once a day.

I do have a main drain, I hope that keeps my pump from starving when the skimmer baskets fill, which they seem to do in a hot minute.

It is a massive amount of work during leaf drop, but it's only for November and to me it's better than looking at a depressing closed pool.
 

mayberry32

Silver Supporter
Jun 24, 2019
127
Watkinsville, GA
Removing the trees isn't an option. I have way too many trees, and even if I get rid of mine, they are filling the yards of neighbors on both sides, and on a large piece of property directly behind me, which is 200 acres of nothing but woods. So, cutting down my trees, won't do much, I don't think. Plus, the 3 larger trees directly behind the pool are the only things that provide shade to our house in the afternoons.
 

mayberry32

Silver Supporter
Jun 24, 2019
127
Watkinsville, GA
Hi mayberry, I can only tell you what I do. I have an ornamental pear very close to the pool, when the leaves drop I want to cry, but husband refuses to remove it. What I do instead is net all the leaves out once every day, blow away everything that drops in the yard everyday, and empty the skimmers once a day.

I do have a main drain, I hope that keeps my pump from starving when the skimmer baskets fill, which they seem to do in a hot minute.

It is a massive amount of work during leaf drop, but it's only for November and to me it's better than looking at a depressing closed pool.
I'm thinking it's so bad right now, because it's been 98 degrees daily and no rain in weeks. So, everything is starving and shedding leaves and needles. It's only September, so it can't be this bad continuously through November. I expect a bad few weeks when leaves are dropping heavily. But, we aren't there yet.
 

jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
172
albany, ga
Leaves and other debris are just part of it, unfortunately. I see people comment on here all the time that there is absolutely no need for a main drain anymore and they say they build pools without them these days. They also recommend that if you do have one, to leave the valve set to pull mostly from the skimmer. As that may work well in a lot of situations, it would not work well in mine, nor yours, it sounds like. Some of us just have to contend with all that debris. I clean my basket out at least once a day, but have the peace of mind that if it does get slap full, my pump won't burn up starving for water as I have my jandy valve set to 50/50. Could I cut my trees down, yes. Will I, not in a million years. It's what I love about my property. I can clean my deck off and it looks like I hadn't touched it after the first good wind, which is usually about 15 or 20 minutes later. They make solar powered robots that cruise around on top of the water skimming. They cost about $500-600 and would fill up just as fast. Doesn't make sense to me, so I just stay on top of the skimmer. I have quit using the hairnets this time of year due to the fact of how often I clean that basket out. Wish I had better news for you, but every pool has it's challenges, sound like it's leaves for us...
 

mayberry32

Silver Supporter
Jun 24, 2019
127
Watkinsville, GA
Leaves and other debris are just part of it, unfortunately. I see people comment on here all the time that there is absolutely no need for a main drain anymore and they say they build pools without them these days. They also recommend that if you do have one, to leave the valve set to pull mostly from the skimmer. As that may work well in a lot of situations, it would not work well in mine, nor yours, it sounds like. Some of us just have to contend with all that debris. I clean my basket out at least once a day, but have the peace of mind that if it does get slap full, my pump won't burn up starving for water as I have my jandy valve set to 50/50. Could I cut my trees down, yes. Will I, not in a million years. It's what I love about my property. I can clean my deck off and it looks like I hadn't touched it after the first good wind, which is usually about 15 or 20 minutes later. They make solar powered robots that cruise around on top of the water skimming. They cost about $500-600 and would fill up just as fast. Doesn't make sense to me, so I just stay on top of the skimmer. I have quit using the hairnets this time of year due to the fact of how often I clean that basket out. Wish I had better news for you, but every pool has it's challenges, sound like it's leaves for us...
Thanks for the response. Was hoping there would be a miracle cure of some sort. Cleaning the baskets once or twice a day is one thing....but I've cleaned them 3x/day for the past few days and they are overflowing each time I check them. Like I said, it's probably the heat and lack of rain that has all the trees stressed. Hopefully, it slows down a little.

So, what do you do when you go out of town? Do you pay a neighborhood kid to come clean out your skimmers daily? We take week long trips in the spring and fall to take our boat to the Gulf of Mexico. What do I do when I'm gone for 7-9 days straight?
 

jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
172
albany, ga
Thanks for the response. Was hoping there would be a miracle cure of some sort. Cleaning the baskets once or twice a day is one thing....but I've cleaned them 3x/day for the past few days and they are overflowing each time I check them. Like I said, it's probably the heat and lack of rain that has all the trees stressed. Hopefully, it slows down a little.

So, what do you do when you go out of town? Do you pay a neighborhood kid to come clean out your skimmers daily? We take week long trips in the spring and fall to take our boat to the Gulf of Mexico. What do I do when I'm gone for 7-9 days straight?
We have dogs, so there's always someone at the house (we don't board). I ask them to check the skimmer as they would the daily mail. I also set that jandy valve to pull more from the main drain just in case. I run my own business, so typically not gone for extended periods of time, but wouldn't hesitate to ask a buddy to come over and follow up on the dog sitter. Most of them have pools and understand.
 

Lilypad

Bronze Supporter
Nov 12, 2016
189
Plano, Texas
Every spring I deal with an ungodly amount of blossoms that fall from the yaupons at the back of my pool. After a few years of "oatmeal season" I invested in a Pool Skim. It works for me and catches at least a 1/3rd
of the surface debris. More peace of mind that the pump isn't starving if I don't get out there after it starts up. It might work for you.


My spring debris challenge. Every morning for a few weeks x 2 skimmers.
A9F41D63-C2C1-4642-ABEA-871D7CAB2E32.jpeg
 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,327
Central MD
As you mentioned, an (expensive) autocover mostly solves the problem. Yes, you do have to scoop the leaves off of the cover before opening, but that's easy peasy compared to what you are doing. And you don't get to see your water as much. Trade-offs. The autocover also helps during spring pollen season and the season that drunk neighborhood teens decide to go swimming whilst you are asleep or out of town.
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
271
Spring Valley, NY
One of my pools opens early April 1 and closes November 30th. It's heated with the auto cover. As mentioned above, set it and forget it. This property has a row of these mature pine straw trees. From early spring through fall they always shed something. The cover here is key. There's a pool cover pump that gets put on top when rain is in the forecast. Automatically pumps the water off. The rest pretty much dries off and a good leaf blower gets all foliage off. Hit the button, cover opens up and just use the pool. Nothing else to do. No dealing with stuffed baskets and the like. The track has a very small gap and isn't a problem as long as you blow it in one direction with a plan. Besides if you heat it, saves you from losing it to the cool air and also slows down the evaporation to just about twice a season. The robot works below the cover when the swimming is done for the day. In my opinion it's now or never. Best option to spend on. Everything else can wait for another season but this has to go in during the build.
 
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borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
2,956
Pacific NW
oh man I feel the pain of pine straws. definitely less annoying / easier to clean out than much smaller pine needles...nonetheless.

My neighbor behind me (bless him) had his red pine branches trimmed way up a year ago. I'm getting less pine straws now but they are still a menace.
Kinda wish I'd asked him before hand how much more to just take that red pine down completely. If reasonable I would have paid it.

The neighbor next to me, his gutters get filled every year by that same tree.

There have been threads here of those that made cheap floaty work arounds, to keep out the debris filling the skimmer too fast.
Like fastening a pool noodle in front of the skimmer mouth.
 
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mayberry32

Silver Supporter
Jun 24, 2019
127
Watkinsville, GA
Pool was finished a few weeks ago, so there is no "during the build" now. That ship has sailed. And I really don't want the cover. I chose against it because I want to see the water year round and not have it covered. Heat loss isn't much of an issue where I am. It's hot here. I may try one of the net or pool noodle contraptions to keep things out of the skimmer baskets, though. That could be very useful for me this time of year.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
509
Alamo, CA
I always wondered how an auto cover would handle heavy debris like this? How do you remove the debris if it's wet and heavy like after a storm?
Is there ever an issue with some of the pine needles or other debris getting caught in the track?
I remove wet debris from the cover the same way I remove dry debris. I use my nylon pool brush as a broom, sweep all the debris into one spot, and dump it in the yard waste recycling toter.

I have redwoods, not pines, but I've never had any needles in the track. The track is under the cover, so it's protected.