August 19, 2013 at 8:17pm
How Leaf Blowers Destroy Your Topsoil!
We've blogged about this before here at Soils Alive, but we keep seeing examples at our client's homes of how damaging leaf blowers can be. Time and again, we see how leaf blowers overused on the landscape can blow away precious topsoil and damage plants. We also get asked by our customers why the fertilizer just put down seems to have disappeared...leaf blowers are often the culprit!
Weekly use of leaf blowers for extensive period of time can erode topsoil away from the crowns of your plants and damage roots; they also compact your soil making it harder for air and water to permeate and blow away recently applied dry fertilizers. A healthy population of soil microbes in your soil is necessary for a healthy landscape and lawn. In nature, worms and microbes in the soil break down the organic matter in the fallen leaves and then return the nutrients to the soil for plant uptake. When you constantly blow away all grass clippings and leaves, you essentially kill the beneficial microbes in the soil by starving them to death. Allowing grass clippings to naturally decompose in the lawn, and leaving some leaves in landscape beds, is a better way to nurture your soil.
Gas powered leaf blowers also pose potential environmental and health threats. They can spread airborne particles that provoke asthma and other respiratory diseases. They also put out pollutants like ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. Not to mention the noise pollution and potential hearing damage from the engine noise.
A good organic program means focusing on the health of the soil. Leaf blowers continually contradict this goal. Consider talking to your yard maintenance company about reducing the use of blowers in your landscape; perhaps use them only during times of heavy leaf fall or for clean up on hard surfaces. Hand raking in lawns when necessary is a much better practice.