Saturday, October 16, 2010

mow 'em, don't blow 'em


I can tell its fall because on Saturday and Sunday mornings I am woken up at what seems to be the crack of dawn by the sound of leaf blowers. Call me cheap or misguided regarding what proper lawn care equipment is, but I just don’t see the need for a leaf blower. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is something cool about the really big backpack models. What 10 year old wouldn’t want one? Putting it on instantly transforms you into your favorite super hero ridding the world of some evil.

So all day during the weekend the whirring sound of leaf blowers resonates throughout our subdivision. Suburban men (it always seems to be men; are women immune from the need?) unwind electric chords or get the 2 cycle gas out and perform what almost seems to be a religious rite. I don’t get it. Why not just mow the leaves into the grass? But no, leaves are blown into big piles by the curb where the wind blows them back into the yard before the city gets around to collecting them. Leaf blowing seems as futile as gluing leaves back on to the trees.

Mow the leaves. It is good for your lawn. If you rake, pile the leaves in a compost pile. I invite everyone to boycott blowing leaves to the curb. The time you save can be used on useful tasks like putting in a new flower bed or my favorite, taking a nap in the sun sitting on a lawn chair.

19 comments:

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I love it Jim, myneighbor jusgt advised me this morning not to get a leaf blower. He said the wind just blows his leaves in every direction when he uses hisleaf blower. He says his rake is much more professional, neater and does a better job.

Yeah, because that's all I have is a rake!

Eileen

Bernie said...

While we don't have the problem with Autumn leaves falling everywhere, we do have a huge problem with Gum tree leaves from the surrounding bushland blowing all over our place.

Hubbie does use a blower ... because it would take forever on a large property like ours to rake ... but he blows the leaves into the garden beds we have here. That way they become a layer of mulch ... much more useful!

Carol said...

Bravo!! What horrid noise makers. Of course lawn mowers make noise too. What to do . . . I let the wind play with the leaves . . . I enjoy walking in them and kicking them around. It seems to me they were made to fall to the ground and so I let them stay where they lay till spring. If there are still layers about I then rake or mow them and add them to the leaf compost pile. I must admit to hating leaf blowers. ;>)

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Jim, You are so right! And I would rather listen to a mower than a leaf blower. I agree with Carol, a rake is preferable to those noisy machines. Pam

Paul said...

Must admit that I use one, but I mow the lawn and any leaves thereon without the catcher on the mover. That mans the paths and front street get covered in clippings, so I blow them back onto the lawn to much in.

Is the Wiz said...

Maybe when people realise that leaves are valuable they'll change their ways and make leafmould. If I had the space, I'd set up a leafmould bank, bag it up and sell the results back to those with more money than sense!:)

FlowerLady said...

That is one of my favorite tools to HATE. They really rile me up, especially when the idiot with the blower, is blowing them right in my yards direction. GRRR.

I mow and rake and enjoy doing both.

Hope your Sunday morning is quiet today.

FlowerLady

PatioPatch said...

Great post Jim! With you all the way on this one. Hate the sound of leaf blowers especially as I have to collect zillions by hand rake :(
Following RHS advice, make small piles and mow over them on a high cut. Thus easily emptied into black bags and breaks down into leaf mould in 6 months.

Laura

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Jim. This is good advice. We always mow our leaves up. It helps the soil so much around here where we have this old hard clay. Besides on this tall hill f we blow them into the woods the wind just blows them back in to the yard, especially the oak leaves which take forever to break down.

Shyrlene said...

Jim - you hit on one of our most 'popular' topics in my house! We plan evil and dastardly demises for leaf blowers... But then the worst offender in the neighborhood thinks I'm a "tree-hugging nut job" - so go figure! ;D

Floridagirl said...

I agree: Mow over the leaves in the lawn or rake them directly into the beds. That's what I do. I definitely prefer the rake over leaf blower. However, the leaf blower comes in super-handy-dandy as a broom replacement. I've used it many times to "sweep" my back porch and deck back when I lived in Atlanta. It's also handy blowing leaves and grass clippings from the driveway. But that's about it. Oh, except I also used it in June to "sweep" up all the bird seed from the brick-paver drive outside the reception hall after my son's wedding. Tried a broom, but it just wasn't cutting it with all the spaces between bricks, so I ran home for the leaf blower. Worked like a charm. I am woman. I use leaf blower...rarely.

Marguerite said...

Yes yes and YES! I can't stand these silly machines. What a waste of gas/electricity and the noise. And as you point out they don't seem to accomplish anything. Power washers also make my list of horrible useless machines.

One said...

How true! I agree. I like the way you wrote it.

Kalipso said...

Hello Jim, I enjoyed as always your funny and amusing post. As for myself, I do raking - though I curse sometimes having so may leaves to rake! Eventually, after all that work with a blower one has to collect and put the leaves away manually.
I too hate the noise. Bye!

Kyna said...

Haha! Awesome post :D

Chuck has a leafblower, even though we barely have any leaves to blow. He uses it for blowing the grass clippings off the driveway back onto the grass after he finishes mowing. But you're right, I almost never see a chick using one of those things...

Barbara said...

Hi Jim, I enjoyed your post on one of my pet peeves. And they seem to be everywhere these days. I've watched guys (you're right - men only) go to the elaborate effort of mounting one to clear a few square feet of sidewalk. So it must be the fun factor.

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

Jim
You've touched a nerve here. Leaf blowers make me CRAZY! Just the other day I walked into a dust cloud, not really even a pile of leaves, as a neighbor had her blower out on the sidewalk as I walked around the corner. It's not just leaves people use them for and I don't get it. There is such a thing as a broom; a rake and a broom. My husband commented on how people go to their private gyms to workout, but are not open to the effort it takes to sweep, rake, or .... how about a push mower to burn some calories. I'll come clean, having never had a lawn, just cultivated garden areas. I did own a hand-push mower, though there was no need for it.
Yikes, I could go on all day. These machines make no sense to me.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Leaf blowers are an abomination, I agree. However, I do admit to owning a backpack model (although never considered the superhero angle before). For us though, it's not for lawns, but for keeping all the drainage ditches clear, and only really sees the light of day at this time of the year, just before our first rains in the fall. A lot of water comes off this mountain, so it's imperative it all flows in the right direction. We simply have too much ground to cover to efficiently do it all by hand. I do remember once swearing I would never own such a vile machine :( If I had less than five acres though, I'm sure it would still be just a broom and a rake for me!

debsgarden said...

My husband uses a leaf blower to blow fallen leaves off the parking court and patio. Lawn leaves are either mowed, like yours, or else raked into piles for mulch around woodland plants. I always have scratched my head at folks who think of fallen leaves as garbage to be picked up and hauled off. Throwing away all that free mulch? People don't know what they are doing!