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Coming soon to your neighborhood – the super-polluting gas-powered leaf blower!

Coming soon to your neighborhood – the super-polluting gas-powered leaf blower!
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In today’s Washington Post, “Gas-powered leaf blowers: Simply terrible for the air.”  (That’s the title in the print version.)  And then there’s the deafening noise.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on September 17, 2013 at 9:08 am, in the category Gardening on the Planet.

13 Comments

    • Laura Bell
    • 2nd October 2016

    Aside from the pollution from gas-powered engines, what about the dust & debris put into the air by these things? I just drove through a blower-generated dust storm – a crew of four guys driving a hurricane of dirt & leaves of the sidewalks & out into the street – and I’ll probably meet more through the day and week. The crews drive the leaves & dust off the sidewalk presumably to be picked up by the street sweeper. But the sweepers come along quite infrequently & rarely in conjunction with the varied mow-blow-go schedules, so the street traffic then pummels the debris into more dust and deposits it back up on the sidewalks … to be blown off again next week. It’s very dry here – no rain, generally, between mid-May & mid-October – so the dust gets kicked around for quite a while before there’s any rain to wash it away. As an allergy sufferer (not to mention a fan of peaceful mornings) I would love to see these crews just use a broom, for pity’s sake.

    • Nina
    • 22nd November 2016

    I hate the damn things too. But the reason gardeners, ie, maids for your “yard” use blowers is a time/cost issue. Weekly gardeners are usually paid so little that they must do as many houses as possible in a day just to make ends meet. Blowers are much faster than rakes or brooms. They are also usually pretty damn ignorant about environmental issues. When homeowners start paying more & better attention to their outdoor spaces & how they are cared for, ban use of blowers on their property AND pay the gardener a bit more for the extra time it takes to deal with leaves/debris, we might all have a little more peace & quiet. We’d get to keep our topsoil & mulch too.

    • gemma
    • 1st December 2016

    I’ve heard about this time/cost issue and I take issue with it. Has anyone done an actual study?

    • Laura Bell
    • 8th December 2016

    FYI: These are city crews using the damn things. Making $20/hour. I’d be happy to pay more to have them keep the peace & use non-polluting methods. If you check my post, my bigger complaint is about the dust & allergens that get thrown into the air, though certainly noise & hydrocarbons are plenty offensive.

    • greg draiss
    • 8th December 2016

    Get Over it Already. Go but some carbon credits and quit whining

    • Michelle
    • 8th December 2016

    You’d probably enjoy The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle. Reading these comments reminded me of it.

    • Susan
    • 9th December 2016

    I also hate the stupid leaf blowers and I really can’t believe they are faster. Goodness knows it would be better for the workers to use rakes and brooms for the exercise. Just my humble opinion.

    • Nina
    • 9th December 2016

    “For the exercise”……. you try mowing 8-10 lawns in 1 day under the broiling sun plus taking trash bins out the street, picking up dog poop, a bit of trimming, watering pots, etc & whatever else homeowners ask you to do. Weekly gardeners get PLENTY of exercise. Many homeowners ( here in So. California) demand pristine & frequently expect that larger tasks, such hedge trimming, be done often w/o extra compensation. I know & work with many weekly gardeners so I’m aware of just how many houses they’ve got to do to eke out a living.

    • Anne Wareham
    • 9th December 2016

    I don’t think you get this thing in the uk, which is interesting. Leaves on grass can be mowed up, surely, and elsewhere winter winds blow leaves on to beds where they provide excellent mulch.
    But I do know someone in USA said they wouldn’t buy The Bad Tempered Gardener because I mention using one – for hedge clipping maybe, I can’t remember! It’s our hedge cutters that really make the noise here, I’m sorry to say, and I’m hoping for a cordless electric system for that when we can afford it one day.
    It is fascinating discovering how different gardens are in the USA.

    • John by the river
    • 9th December 2016

    Try looking for the Black & Decker lithium battery one. I found it on Amazon and it was around $125. Buy an extra battery as they take 8 hours to charge. Works great and not much noise – except for the whirring blades.

    • Sandra Knauf
    • 9th December 2016

    Leaf mulch for beds that would also compost? What a concept! Sorry to say it’s pure ignorance and being tied to a ridiculous “standard” here. (Not to mention a hard-on for loud, polluting, gas-guzzling machinery.) Maybe with these kinds of articles people will learn something. Eventually.

    • admin
    • 10th December 2016

    I use electric leaf vacuum/mulchers as much as possible and use the shredded leaves as mulch in the garden beds. I tried the lithium battery version but returned it the next day as, sadly, it wasn’t up to the task. The other problem is that I destroy at least one leaf vacuum/mulcher a year….they can handle leaves, but not too many of the sticks and occasional pebbles that they try to ingest.
    If I could only create with a robust, easy-to-use, reasonably priced version, I think I could make a fortune….unless someone can tell me where I already can buy one.

    • Alice
    • 10th December 2016

    Another thing that really bothers me about the use of these noisy machines is that 9 out of 10 of the “landscapers” using them in my neighborhood do not use ear protection. Their employers could apparently care less that these folks are damaging their hearing.

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