It’s spring! The flowers are blooming, the trees are leafing out, and … what’s that yellow stuff all over my backyard pool? It’s probably pollen. Spring and fall are the biggest pollen seasons of the year. Depending on your location, the types of trees and plants in your vicinity will determine how serious the pollen problem in your pool will be.
The first thing to determine is if you have a pollen problem or a version of yellow algae. Pollen will float on top of the water and can be blown by the wind. The pollen will eventually sink to the bottom and require vacuuming. The pollen in the pool will puff up when agitated by the vacuum. Algae will stick to the sides and bottom of your backyard pool, and it needs to be scrubbed to remove it.
Once you determine that it is pollen in your pool, what can you do?
Cover. The first step is to cover your pool whenever it is not in use. A cover is the first line of defense against pollen. That physical barrier will keep most of the pollen from ever getting in your pool water.
Filter. The next step is to run your pool filter a lot more—even consider running it all day and night. Depending on the type and size of pollen, your filter can remove much of it. However, some pollen is so small it will just go right through your filter and back into the pool.
Skimmer. You will need to frequently skim your pool surface. Skim your pool at least once every day and maybe twice a day during the heavy pollen times. Your regular skimmer will be useless because the pollen is so small that it will go right through. You will need a fine-mesh skimmer that can pick up the pollen. Watch the water line. The pollen can mix with bacteria and cause staining at the water line if not removed.
Socks. There are also “socks” that fit over or in the filter basket of your pool skimmer and pump filter. These will collect the pollen before it reaches the filter. Pollen is too small to be caught in the basket alone.
Chemicals. For the pollen that is too small to be caught by the filter, add aluminum sulfate. Aluminate sulfate will bind with the pollen and cause the pollen to clump together, making it easier for you to skim off manually. You should be able to remove most of the pollen with your fine-mesh skimmer so it never reaches the pool filter. For the small amount of pollen that does reach the filter, the aluminum sulfate will also help your filter to grab the pollen.
Shock. You will want to shock your pool sometime during the pollen season. Bacteria and other debris will find your pool more attractive due to the pollen. Shock your pool and follow with a good manual vacuuming.
The pollen season will require extra pool maintenance but, fortunately, the problem is usually over in a couple weeks. By using all these techniques, you will be able to contain the pollen problem in your pool with a minimum of manual labor. Watch the pollen counts and prepare ahead of time so you are ready to fight the pollen. The extra effort will be paid back with pristine water that you and your family and friends can enjoy throughout the season.