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.