Letter to the Editor: Resident Urges Ban on Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Submitted by Donald J. Marshall

Many people, myself included, consider leaf blowers an abomination. They are noisy and most of them use a simple two-cycle gas engine that pollutes. California recently passed a law, AB 1346, banning the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and string trimmers (weed whackers) starting July 1, 2024. The law also established emissions reductions for existing gas-powered leaf blowers as of July 1, 2022. Our neighbor, Lexington,  passed an article, effective March 15, 2025, that the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by commercial landscapers will not be allowed. An exemption allows the continued use of wheeled leaf blowers powered by four-stroke engines on lots larger than 1 acre. Many other communities have passed similar laws or are considering them.

Leaves are actually an important component of our ecological system. Matthew Shepherd, the director of outreach and education at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, told PBS NewsHour that raking and throwing out fallen leaves can have ecological consequences, as it disrupts the natural habitat for various animals. “We are inadvertently impoverishing our landscapes,” he said.

Leaves provide shelter for insects and other invertebrates during the colder months, and those creatures are a vital food source for non-migrating birds. Not tidying up your garden therefore helps maintain balance and biodiversity.

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Thomas Kenny
November 19, 2023 11:11 am

I am coming out in opposition to banning gas powered leaf blowers for personal use. As we get older and arthritis and joint issues emerge, the use a a gas leaf blower has allowed me to keep my yard cleared of leaves without the prohibiting expense of hiring a landscaper. I do compost the piled leaves. I have tried battery powered tools and they don’t last.Either you can’t finish the job without recharging or the batteries stop taking a charge causing the purchase of very expensive replacements and the disposal of lithium batteries into the waste stream.Corded equipment for anyone with a large yard is impractical.
If it is the noise that bothers you, then there is little noticeable difference in levels as most of the noise is from the airflow. In fact, having used both, the noise from battery or electric is worse, as it take you longer to do the job and with recharging, often multiple days. And since it is really just a short window of time that these are in use, even with a landscaper, then making a law to ban them is just either a pet peeve issue that can be handled with waiting the relatively short time it takes for your neighbor to finish the job. .

Mike Merrick
November 6, 2023 1:31 pm


Do you rake your own lawn or hire a landscaper? If you use a landscaper, why dont you ask them to clean your lawn this fall as if the law you want passed is in effect. Have him bill you and share the difference in cost with in this forum.

My guess is you own a very small lot and either rake the little area or dont take care of your lot at all, so passing this law doesnt impact you.

How is california’s power grid working out with all the laws they have enacted?

November 3, 2023 11:40 am

I urge readers to consider two measures:

First: switch your landscape tools to electric. They work as well as gasoline tools. Repairs are fewer, maintenance is less, lubricants are the only petrochemicals. They are significantly quieter, with zero emissions. A typical 4-stroke leaf blower emits seven times more oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and 13.5 times more carbon monoxide (CO) than a heavy duty pickup. 


Second: I urge readers to consider setting up a leaf composting system. It’s simple, very little work, with a big payoff.

Earthworms are inadvertent imports, and are not native to this part of North America. Our native flora evolved to flourish with a deep layer of leaf litter on the forest floor. Earthworms eat the leaf litter, with multiple deleterious effects on native plant life. Your trees will benefit from a thick layer of composted leaf mulch under the drip zone.


Colin Faulkner
November 2, 2023 9:05 pm

Why copy some other place? We can enforce hours of operation, but the constant ban cry is getting ridiculous.

Nate Page
November 1, 2023 12:20 pm

The beautiful thing about this country is that you can ban leaf blowers on your property. You can also ban straws, halloween costumes, tackle football, arguably insensitive terminology, and anything else you think is an abomination. Ban away! But when it comes to my property, I would prefer to make my own rules, and sit on a nice lawn without leaves or ticks.

McClain, John
November 1, 2023 11:43 pm
Reply to  Nate Page

There are a bunch of things the town / state / feds ban you from doing on your propriety…we’re just arguing about where that line is. And of course a gas power leaf blower ban won’t keep you from cleaning your lawn.

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