SOUND OFF: Do You Support a Seasonal Leaf Blower Ban?

Autumn is nigh. Do you chafe at blasting leaf-blowers, or is that tidy look worth the audio anguish?


The first leaves are falling, and, in some towns, season leaf-blower bans are about ready to take a vacation. 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your leaf-blower engines.

Newton actually has a .

. Leaf-blowers have been banned since spring; starting next weekend (Sept. 15), blowers will be allowed for three months; the leaf-blower ban resumes in December.


What do you think about banning leaf blowers: the blessed sound of leaf-blower silence or a prime example of government overreach? 

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Howard Kosrofian September 08, 2012 at 04:47 PM
John Bowe September 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I would very much welcome such a ban. When someone's "freedom" negatively impacts me (even something as basic as enjoying sitting in my back yard), I don't think the government is overreaching by lessening that. The private sector (landscapers, mostly) is limiting my freedom on my on property. It's another form of pollution. Is the government being overly intrusive by forcing us to fix cars the spew air pollution over a given threshold? Perhaps a more workable approach would be stressing noise levels, rather than outright ban? Is quieter technology really out of practical reach?
Cynthia Hill September 08, 2012 at 08:11 PM
What about a neighbor's dog that barks constantly...maybe I can blow him away with a leaf blower? I prefer the local, state and federal government out of my business. They haven't a great job so far.....why push them to make more poor decisions.
David Hill September 08, 2012 at 08:22 PM
While we are at it let's ban lawn mowers, chainsaws, skill saws, ourdoor radio use, barking dogs, garbage trucks with compactors, talking on cell phones outdoors...
Karla Vallance September 08, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Wow, I, for one, had no idea the emissions were that bad. Does anyone know if efforts have been made to improve those motors and make them cleaner-burning, much as cars have been forced to improve?
Katy G. September 09, 2012 at 12:11 AM
No, rakes are still available at Lowes, Home Depot, Ace hardware, and other neighborhood hardware and general stores, (K-mart and the West Concord 5 and dime, for instance.) We use them at our house. You can imagine how much more quieter they are, and with the added exercise we don't have to pay for a gym membership.
Katy G. September 09, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Katrien, you're right about the amount of pollution that they produce. Any lawnmower with a gas engine produces as much pollution. An electric mower produces pollution from a power plant, and the battery operated ones produce pollution when you have to throw away the toxic waste filled battery. The truck that brings the landscaper to your house produces a lot of pollution, too. The best solution if this upsets you is to purchase a push mower with a reel of blades and no engine and mow your own lawn, and purchase a rake and rake it. I feel sorry for the poor guy breathing the exhaust from the leaf blower, but I would also feel sorry for him if he lost his job in this awful economy.
Katy G. September 09, 2012 at 12:21 AM
This is really a reply to Karla. The emission standards for automobiles in this country have been very effective at reducing pollution. That being said, they have been very expensive for auto makers and consumers. They're a pain in the bottom to work around when fixing an engine. They are also too big and cumbersome to attach to a leaf blower or a gas powered mower. Even motorcycles don't have the emission restrictions that cars have because it would be prohibitively difficult to apply them. I do think that it would be good for landscaping businesses to supply a mask of some sort to an employee using a leaf blower because they do throw up a lot of particulate matter. (I'm thinking of this from a nursing perspective. I've seen men operating these with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths. They may want me to mind my own business, in which case I will.)
Leisha Marcoccio September 09, 2012 at 12:34 AM
The noise is really not a argument against blowers, that would have legs. I think a discussion about health concerns is viable...and these are more focused on the content of dust generated in the cleanup of walkways, driveways and especially streets. Managing the fallen leaves of deciduous trees onto our properties is an important late fall and early spring maintenance task. I doubt the debris clouds from fallen leaves being moved off of lawns and garden beds are much of a health hazard. The cost of leaf cleanup would easily double if done by hand by landscapers.
Steve W. September 09, 2012 at 08:32 AM
Lets not forget the menacing sirens on emergency vehicles!
Michael Kaminsky September 09, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Don't forget snowblowers and heart attacks.....
x September 09, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Please hold it down. The sound of your keyboard typing is getting to the rest of us. Also try not to exhale. Carbon dioxide in your breath is hastening climate change. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Michael Kaminsky September 09, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Amen Reverend!
Rob September 09, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Maybe Sudbury could buy a flock of goats too. They could roam the town and keep the grass but for everyone and eat the fall leaves. It just makes sense .. and liberals wonder why people laugh at them
x September 09, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Can't do that due to methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the goats. Get green, Rob! Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Rob September 09, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Good point Rev. Although I'm sure we could find a Selectmen that could follow them around and pick up their droppings for recycling. Most save one are already accustomed to shoveling it that this should be a relatively low level of effort.
pat ackroyd September 09, 2012 at 04:37 PM
This may be the first time I've agreed with Reverand.
David Chase September 09, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Katy, the electric devices are not as filthy as the small-motor devices. There's an economy of scale at work; on automobiles, we can afford to spend space, weight, and money on emissions sensors and computer-controlled fuel injection and valve timing, and on catalytic converters (which get very hot). We can't (or won't) afford that on small motors. Power plants have even larger economies of scale than automobiles, so electric mowers and blowers, though noisy and annoying (I own an electric blower, and I think it's noisy), produce much less pollution than their internal-combustion versions.
Karla Vallance September 09, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Rob, my sister in Oregon has goats to help maintain the grounds of her house. It's actually not that weird an idea. Quieter than a leaf-blower, and much more entertaining, although, as the rev points out, could, um, methane emissions be an issue? My sister has never mentioned.
Katrien Vander Straeten September 09, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Perhaps home-owners could start addressing these issues by monitoring the landscapers that come to their homes. Last Fall I saw one landscaping crew blow the leaves off one property onto the street, then leave it there to blow onto another neighbor's property, who then employed a landscaper to move the leaves back onto the street. Finally the third company picked it up and carted the leaves away. I understand the need for employment, but these (mostly) same leaves being blown about by three crews is pushing it a bit. The first home-owner could have insisted the leaves be picked up and taken away, and there would have been less noise, less pollution, less expense too. (PS. I don't own a leaf-blower or employ landscapers, but then I also don't have a huge lawn. I use a rake: raking leaves in the Fall is a great and free work-out. For mowing I use an electrical mower, which is powered by my solar array.)
Dusty Landry September 09, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I'm on board with the goat thing..go for it..and if you work it right there can also be "free goat milk" involved. everyone wins
x September 09, 2012 at 09:31 PM
This should be simple, as there is no shortage of old goats in these towns. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Cherrie Corey September 11, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Such a ban would have my heartiest endorsement! At the very least, I would like to see the use of leaf blowers restricted to late September - mid-November, when they really would be blowing away leaves. I echo all that Katrien has already said. As for jobs disappearing with the leaf blowers, I can only imagine that jobs would at least remain stable (or increase) as many hands once more took up rakes and brooms to move grass, leaves, and dirt out of the way. Being self-employed with a home office, the now three season drone of leaf blowers in the neighborhood creates more penetrating and stressful noise in my home office than I ever experienced in 20 years working in the city. As someone who dedicates my work to fostering a deeper appreciation for Concord's beautiful and historically significant agricultural landscapes and wildlands, there is now virtually no part of town (save the heart of the Estabrook Woods) where one can escape the high-pitched, long-traveling blare of superfluous leaf blowers. May they rest in peace! raise the public's understanding and appreciation of Concord's beautiful and historically significant open and wild landscapes, the incessant high-pitched drone of leaf blowers now throughout three seasons of the year
Frank Trades November 16, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Leaf blower noise around my house has been a constant irritation over many weeks this October and November. I would not be one to complain but it has persisted for hours and hours and hours. I want the full employment act for leaf *rakers*.
Karla Vallance November 16, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Brilliant idea, @ Frank!
pmotw November 16, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I would blame President Bush! Can you be a tree hugger and then complain when you loose power because your trees are too close to power lines? Can you be a tree hugger and then complain about the most efficient method (leaf blower) to remove leaves? You live in Sudbury! Did you not know there would be trees and falling leaves? Best bet for you leaf blower complainers would be to move to a place with no trees.
Rob January 15, 2013 at 06:36 PM
who knows: you do not do your self a service by attacking people labling them "stupid" or "retarded" because they dont agree with your viewpoint. 1. The term Retarded is low brow and insensitive. You should try to educate your self on peoples plights with special needs before you throw around that word 2. A 100 years ago children were used as labor. Should we go back to that too? 3. who do you think you are that you should tell me how to live? How about your rights end at the tip of my nose 4. You should seek help for your anger 5. reported for violation of TOS.
Karla Vallance January 15, 2013 at 06:38 PM
@Rob, you beat us to it. @Who Knows, we have deleted your comment; we have a zero-tolerance policy for profanity.
Charlie k May 05, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Good morning! I have a leaf blower and the noise isn't that bad. But at 6 am Sunday ,morning? And its not leafs, its a parking lot. As i look out my window with that nice hummmm over my t.v. and look at the dust (no wind to speak of at DAWN!) it is as high as the top of the telephone poles. I just looked at the last post 2012 So this will fall on deaf ears. Oh they just stopped only 90 mins.to clean off the parking lot.
Billy T July 03, 2013 at 12:22 PM
A leaf blower ban doesn't have to be full. Palo Alto only bans *gasoline* leaf blowers, which are significantly louder than their electric-only counterparts. Also, if we limit leaf blowing to the hours of 11:00am and 9:00pm, we can be more sure its not waking people up in the morning (some people don't have the same 9-5 schedule "normal" people do).


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