The gas-powered leaf blower ban should move forward. These machines generate loud and incessant noise in our neighborhoods and pollute the air with toxic greenhouse gases. Blown dust coats cars and patio furniture and blows into our homes. We should ban gas blowers and other gas-powered landscaping equipment and promote the use of battery-powered, rechargeable blowers, trimmers and mowers.
We should also take the next step, and ask ourselves if we can tolerate more leaves.
Let’s begin thinking of leaf litter and lawn trimmings as valuable garden assets, and use them as mulch. Mulch protects soil and plant roots from heat, conserves water, suppresses weeds, curbs pests, fertilizes, provides homes for wildlife such as earthworms and saves money on your water bill. If we blow leaf litter out of garden beds, we cause valuable topsoil to disappear, robbing plants of nutrients and water-retaining cover. Then we buy bags of garden soil and fertilizer to make up for what we blew away. If we curtail blowing, our beautiful gardens benefit.
Let’s make it part of the new ban that blowers of any kind can only be used on hard surfaces—patios, roofs, rain gutters, walkways and driveways—and never on garden beds, lawns and dirt areas. We have embraced a ban on hosing driveways, so we can do this. We can use, rather than discard, our green waste.
Many of us are working to meet climate change and drought challenges. We’ve taken out lawns, planted natives, started composting and installed drip irrigation. Let’s look to the future and require that everyone who uses a blower in our city blow with sustainable, rechargeable, quiet blowers.
La Cañada Flintridge