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Man using modern leaf blower

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 destroy the landscape and 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 Leaf Blowers Destroy Topsoil

Gas leaf blowers destroy the topmost part of the soil. They blow away the worms and other microorganisms other in the topsoil needed by plants to grow well. Continuous use of leaf blowers can sweep away topsoil , exposing the root to damage.

In addition, gas leaf blowers can cause other health concerns to the user. Gas leaf blowers can transmit airborne diseases to a new host easily. Also due to the emission of deadly pollutants, it is not environment friendly.

Other health concerns like dizziness and headaches can occur from prolonged use. Furthermore, gas leaf blowers pose an issue to people who suffer from asthma. If you’re asthmatic, you’ll want to avoid using leaf blowers when possible.


Grass and Leaves Are Not Litter

For some reason as a society we treat grass clippings and fallen leaves like they are trash that’s meant to be thrown away. The truth is that all this fallen debris is extremely beneficial to the soil for several reasons. One of the reasons is that they help to protect the topmost soil from erosion. It also helps to preserve the topmost soil by composting. Composting is the process of adding organic materials that help your plants grow.

A thin layer of debris and leaves is also crucial to give some pollinating insects shelter and allow them to build a habitat when winter rolls by. Doing this would help beautify your lawn or garden tremendously.


Focus On Soil Health

A good organic program means focusing on the health of the soil. Leaf blowers continually contradict this goal and do more damage than good to your garden. 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.


Blow in Topsoil

If your topsoil has been damaged beyond saving, there is a way to re-introduce topsoil safely. Soil blowing is a service which topsoil (or any other type of soil) is blown through a hose using air pressure and directed exactly where you want it to go. It can be useful for adding topsoil in a specific area that has been affected.

Topsoil blowing can be a time effective method to get your soil healthy again. It’s much faster and more effective than installing topsoil by hand.  The process is highly reliable and can be done any time of year. Blowing in soil also helps to keep moisture in your soil, making plants grow easier in that area.


Alternatives to Leaf Blowing

woman raking piles of leaves

Now that you know how bad gas leaf blowing is for you, it’s only normal to wonder what alternatives can work to keep your front lawn looking neat and presentable. We’ve compiled a small list of the alternatives to gas leaf blowing that are just effective. Here are four alternatives you can use instead of leaf blowing.

Use the extra grass for composting

The first and most reasonable thing for you to do with all that extra grass is by using it for composting. Composting helps to preserve the soil’s nutrients for a longer period and helps keep the leaves and grass that grow looking healthy. Even though fallen leaves are no longer living, they still have a high amount of nutrients stored in them for some time. They can be useful to add an extra amount for composting.

Mow the lawn and don’t move the grass

We understand that this may not be possible for everyone since certain Homes that are in areas that have rules but it may still be possible for you. Mowing your grass but not picking up the mowed grass can be beneficial to your lawn. Initially it may not look appealing, but doing this would make your lawn more uniform and keep the soil as nutrient rich as possible.

Use an old fashioned rake

What did we do with leaves before leaf blowers? Exactly we used leaves. This may seem a bit old school, but this is one of the easiest ways to avoid using a leaf blower. For bigger backyard more manpower may be required to get the job done but if you need to switch away from a leaf blower this is a great way to do it.

Final Words

Admittedly, trying to tend to a lawn can be pretty challenging. It costs a lot and requires a lot of skill and determination. However, consider all of these things when thinking of using a gas leaf blower. Although it is easier to use, it wreaks a lot of havoc on both the soil and the air.

If you’re interested in organic lawn care the right way, give us a call at (972) 272-9211 or check out our lawn care organic based fertilization services.




Soils Alive is an active member of the Agronomy Society of America (ASA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and Crop Science Society of America (CSSA).

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Soils Alive, Inc. has been a member and accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2004. You can find our listing here. We are presently an A+ rated business.

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Soils Alive is a member of the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association(TNLA). TNLA is Texas' largest and most prominent green industry advocacy and governance group, and was set up to promote the landscape, nursery and horticulture industry in Texas. 

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Garland, TX 75041
Ph: 972.272.9211

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