Leaf Blowers and our Ecosystem

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Leaf blowers are not only deafening loud and pollute the air through their internal combustion engines, they also seriously harm the soil biology.[BUND]

Over time, leaf blowers erode topsoil so the crowns of your plants are exposed and will damage the roots close beneath surface.[SA]

Leaf blowers blow away leaves and grass clippings that should remain on your lawn and mulched back into the soil, adding nutrients and improving texture.[SA]

One of the most common problems is compaction and leaf blowers are a big culprit. Compacted soil makes it difficult for oxygen to circulate or water to permeate the surface, causing a host of problems for your lawn.[SA]

One of the next most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need in the form of fall leaves and standing dead plant material.[JW]

The vast majority of butterflies and moths overwinter in the landscape as an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, or adult. In all but the warmest climates, these butterflies use leaf litter for winter cover.[JW]

Beyond butterflies, bumble bees also rely on leaf litter for protection. At the end of summer, mated queen bumble bees burrow only an inch or two into the earth to hibernate for winter. An extra thick layer of leaves is welcome protection from the elements. There are so many animals that live in leaves.[JW]

Wood thrush, like many other species of wildlife, are really adversely affected by loud noises. They will avoid areas where there are roads. They will avoid areas where there are loud noises like leaf blowers. [DC]

Other species of wildlife will move to avoid loud noises…We think that if we’re driving out birds, we’re driving out other species of wildlife. [DC]

Leaf blowers also are fatal to insects and other small creatures. This is especially important in light of recent warnings that our insect population is rapidly declining, threatening global biodiversity and our food supply. In fact, one report has referred to it as a coming insect armageddon. As a result, in 2019, the German government has told its citizens that leaf blowers should only be used if absolutely necessary.[WP]

Leaf mulching is 100% beneficial to the lawn [MSU2]

There is no change in soil pH after six seasons of mulching oak leaves into a lawn.[MSU2]

c If mulching is done correctly and lawn performance is still poor, soil microbial life may be lacking. [MSU2]

The grass blades should be vertical and visible through the layer of mulched leaves. In certain areas, it may help to spread the mulch around from thick spots to areas with thinner mulch distribution.[MSU2]

Successful lawn care companies testified or submitted statements in favor of leaf mulching practices.[LLA_LT]

Successful lawn care companies testified or submitted statements to attest the financial profitability of leaf mulching.[LLA_LT]

Waste composition studies indicate that yard waste represents from 10% to 30% of municipal solid waste. A study conducted for the US Environmental Protection Agency found the total amount of yard waste produced in the United States to be 18% by weight of the total amount of municipal solid waste generated. Yard waste represents a greater percentage of the waste stream (from 35% to 40%) during certain times of the year.[NHDES]

Leaf and yard waste is also easily composted, which allows us to treat the material as a resource rather than a waste.[NHDES]

Mulch mowing can save municipalities (and taxpayers) tens of thousands of dollars, by avoiding the necessity of municipal collection. [Leave Leaves Alone]