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Now that you’ve likely said goodbye to your pool until next summer, it’s time to do a little preventative maintenance to make sure it makes it ‘til then. Falling leaves can clog up filters, consume chemicals, mess with your pool’s pH balance and even cause staining to its liner, so it’s never a good idea to let leaves simply stay where they settle. While you can’t stop Mother Nature, you can stop fallen leaves from wreaking havoc on your pool. Here’s how.

Invest in a Leaf Net

Leaf nets are generally lighter and more easily manageable than typical pool covers, but they serve a similar purpose. As soon as the leaves start to fall, cover the pool anytime it is not in use. Once the leaves are collected, simply remove the leaf net and stuff the leaves into a bag for pickup.

Inspect Your Landscaping and Modify as Necessary

It isn’t wise to plant leafy trees within close proximity to your pool area, but if you’ve moved somewhere where this has been done already, you may not have much of a choice. You can, however, prune the trees back a good bit every couple of years to minimize the amount of leaves that fall every autumn, but if you’re starting to landscape from the ground-up, opt for non-flowering plants and trees in your pool area.

Get ‘Em Off the Ground Pronto

As far as the leaves that fall around, but not directly in, your pool area, you’ll want to get rid of them as soon as they hit the ground. Rake them up yourself or toss a neighborhood teenager or pool professional a few bucks to handle the task, but make sure the leaves are bagged and removed as soon as they are raked to avoid piles blowing over and depositing even more leaves in your pool.

Like performing preventative maintenance on your car, investing a little elbow grease into keeping leaves out of your pool pays off – literally – in the long run. Avoid unnecessary investments in chemicals, filters and pool components by keeping your pool leaf-free year-round.