The leafblowers of springtime: Maplewood's vernal shame

It's just mystifying why anyone might need a leaf blower on April 5, but yet they drone on out there, sullying this pristine spring morning like mayonnaise thrown at a Monet. I long for the day when using a leaf blower is a source of communal opprobrium and massive humiliation.  Imagine this scene over the back fence:

Bob: Hey Fred, what did you do this weekend? 

Fred: Well, Bob, I spent the whole time rearranging my some of my more specialized vintage pornography collection alphabetically, by fetish. Now it goes from amputees all the way to water sports. How about you?

Bob: I did a little leaf blowing.

FredOh my god! You're brave to admit that.

Leaf blowers are insults to our ears and to the atmosphere. Their users should be subjects of shaming and derision. Perhaps we could dunk them in the duck pond and see whether they float to judge their guilt. 

Alternatively, Maplewood's council could ban these infernal things forever and provide some sort of tax subsidies for the humble rake. It's like scratching Earth's back. 


Until then, the screeds will continue.

 


oh good. yet another thread.


And Moammar gets a Gold Star for achieving five identical threads in less than 12 months!!

Keep up the good work!


And you may sure it will not be the last. Jeremiads will be forthcoming until silence returns.  

In the meantime, feel free to find reading material more to your taste.


Really, every one a gem, if I do say so myself. 


I know what others mean. When I went out of my way to open this thread, I expected it to be about something completely different.


Moammar said:

Really, every one a gem, if I do say so myself. 

 Why not keep all of the comments in one thread though?  Avoid duplication and have a more intelligent (and intelligible) conversation.


drummerboy said:

oh good. yet another thread.

 Pot calling the kettle black, there.


FilmCarp said:

drummerboy said:

oh good. yet another thread.

 Pot calling the kettle black, there.

 but my threads are all uniquely original!


A well argued version in the Village Green yesterday:

Letter to the Editor: Maplewood Township Committee Should Ban Gas Powered Leaf Blowers Year-Round

https://villagegreennj.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-maplewood-township-committee-should-ban-gas-powered-leaf-blowers-year-round/?source=newsletter


sprout said:

A well argued version in the Village Green yesterday:

Letter to the Editor: Maplewood Township Committee Should Ban Gas Powered Leaf Blowers Year-Round

https://villagegreennj.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-maplewood-township-committee-should-ban-gas-powered-leaf-blowers-year-round/?source=newsletter

 yup, good letter. Didn't realize that Maplewood already had a partial ban in place.


I’m not in favor of leaf blowers, but if I were I don’t think I would have found Dan Segal’s letter very convincing. He asks, somewhat incredulously, why the ban isn’t in effect in the spring and fall.  The answer seems pretty clear to me: Because that’s when the lawn businesses’ need for faster leaf and debris removal is greatest. It’s a compromise.

When the TC member emails him another reason, Mr. Segal mocks it but doesn’t counter it. I don’t know how many neighbors with age or health limitations are out there doing their own leaf blowing, but his response was a diversion.

The comparisons to painters, water pollution and auto repair struck me as off the mark. Leaf season is a concentrated time, and tenting a house for painting is a one-off whose cost, I’d think, can be more easily absorbed into the project.

I like arguments that take on other sides at their strongest points. Did this letter do that?


Moammar said:



Until then, the screeds will continue.

 

 ... until morale improves.


DaveSchmidt said:

I’m not in favor of leaf blowers, but if I were I don’t think I would have found Dan Segal’s letter very convincing. He asks, somewhat incredulously, why the ban isn’t in effect in the spring and fall.  The answer seems pretty clear to me: Because that’s when the lawn businesses’ need for faster leaf and debris removal is greatest. It’s a compromise.

When the TC member emails him another reason, Mr. Segal mocks it but doesn’t counter it. I don’t know how many neighbors with age or health limitations are out there doing their own leaf blowing, but his response was a diversion.

The comparisons to painters, water pollution and auto repair struck me as off the mark. Leaf season is a concentrated time, and tenting a house for painting is a one-off whose cost, I’d think, can be more easily absorbed into the project.

I like arguments that take on other sides at their strongest points. Did this letter do that?

 this section is priceless:

There is an economic side to all this. Lawn maintenance companies have an incentive to show up often and do something to justify their fees even if it is moving leaves around every week. However, if you went to a dentist and they told you must come in every other week for a cleaning and they used a high pressure garden hose to clean your teeth, would you continue to use that dentist? Would you consider that the dentist’s need to collect fees is in conflict with best practices? Would you ask your dentist about the level of cleanliness that needs to be achieved and whether they would perhaps consider using a different piece of equipment? Doesn’t it seem likely that level of cleanliness is in fact doing more harm than good?

For the record, no I would not continue to visit a dentist if he/she cleaned my teeth with a high pressure garden hose.  And for that matter I wouldn't use a lawn maintenance service that just moved leaves around without removing them from my property.  Nice straw man though.


I would be happy to tell my landscaper to rake my yard if Moammar would pay for the incremental cost over blowing the leaves.


Can someone provide a list of landscapers who don't use leafblowers? 


Keep fighting the good fight Moammar! 

Short of a total ban, I think the law should be amended so that landscapers can only use blowers when the homeowner is on the property.


DaveSchmidt said:

I’m not in favor of leaf blowers, but if I were I don’t think I would have found Dan Segal’s letter very convincing. He asks, somewhat incredulously, why the ban isn’t in effect in the spring and fall.  The answer seems pretty clear to me: Because that’s when the lawn businesses’ need for faster leaf and debris removal is greatest. It’s a compromise.

When the TC member emails him another reason, Mr. Segal mocks it but doesn’t counter it. I don’t know how many neighbors with age or health limitations are out there doing their own leaf blowing, but his response was a diversion.

The comparisons to painters, water pollution and auto repair struck me as off the mark. Leaf season is a concentrated time, and tenting a house for painting is a one-off whose cost, I’d think, can be more easily absorbed into the project.

I like arguments that take on other sides at their strongest points. Did this letter do that?

 Well, I completely disagree.


drummerboy said:

Well, I completely disagree.

Your preferred approach to meeting arguments at their strongest points has not gone unnoticed.


DaveSchmidt said:

drummerboy said:

Well, I completely disagree.

Your preferred approach to meeting arguments at their strongest points has not gone unnoticed.

 Yes, my tendency to completely avoid arguing strong points is well known.  I'm just a wallflower here on MOL.


drummerboy said:

DaveSchmidt said:

I’m not in favor of leaf blowers, but if I were I don’t think I would have found Dan Segal’s letter very convincing. He asks, somewhat incredulously, why the ban isn’t in effect in the spring and fall.  The answer seems pretty clear to me: Because that’s when the lawn businesses’ need for faster leaf and debris removal is greatest. It’s a compromise.

When the TC member emails him another reason, Mr. Segal mocks it but doesn’t counter it. I don’t know how many neighbors with age or health limitations are out there doing their own leaf blowing, but his response was a diversion.

The comparisons to painters, water pollution and auto repair struck me as off the mark. Leaf season is a concentrated time, and tenting a house for painting is a one-off whose cost, I’d think, can be more easily absorbed into the project.

I like arguments that take on other sides at their strongest points. Did this letter do that?

 Well, I completely disagree.

 I don't have a dog in this hunt.  I'm not overly bothered by leaf blowers, but I also don't feel it's necessary to have every piece of cut grass or leaf removed from my property with a leaf blower.

But I am not so forgiving of weak, unsupported arguments.  That letter to the editor is pretty unpersuasive to anyone not already firmly in the "leaf blowers are the scourge of the earth" camp.


I don't think it's requesting a full ban of leaf blowers, but a ban of gas-powered. Electric are much quieter and less polluting/smelly.

  • What might be helpful to that article is to examine the feasibility of electric instead of gas.

It looks like Larchmont, NY has banned ALL leafblowers... 

https://abc7ny.com/gas-powered-leaf-blower-ban-village-of-larchmont-noise-pollution-gas-emissions/6537874/

  • I do think that is too extreme if the primary goal is noise management. 
  • If the primary goal is more than just reducing noise, but also reducing air particulates, etc, then, that needs more defense. I'm curious how Larchmont got that extreme of a ban passed.


    Larchmont population 6,000 ranked #15 wealthiest community in the country.  


    OK. So they can pay per leaf.


    sbenois said:

    I would be happy to tell my landscaper to rake my yard if Moammar would pay for the incremental cost over blowing the leaves.

     If we were to have a complete ban and ENFORCE it, the landscapers would figure out how to provide the service in other ways - rakes, brooms, lawnmowers with grasscatchers, electric blowers, etc. or possibly a combination.  Also, there is NO time during the year when leaves (or anything else) need to be blown/removed EVERY WEEK.  There are a very few weeks when lawns may need to be mowed that often (usually just part of April and May) but they could use grass catchers or mulching lawnmowers rather than blowers to deal with the cuttings when mowing.  Any other time of year, not only is weekly blowing excessive, it does not conform to the township leaf collection policy and schedule which, sadly, is never enforced.  We DIY our lawn and only remove leaves once or twice a season.  Our lawn mower has a grasscatcher and the clippings go in a compost bin.  Some of the leaves go in the street (but no more than once or twice each fall as mentioned) and some get mowed/mulched/composted and some get raked around shrubbery, etc.  I would happily pay a landscaper their usual annual total fee for this service if they would only come when needed and perform the tasks as described.  If it is more work per visit, it certainly would be fewer visits, so would come out the same in the end.  But as long as the community doesn't have these regulations AND enforce them then nothing is likely to change much.


    sprout said:

    I don't think it's requesting a full ban of leaf blowers, but a ban of gas-powered. Electric are much quieter and less polluting/smelly.

    • What might be helpful to that article is to examine the feasibility of electric instead of gas.

    It looks like Larchmont, NY has banned ALL leafblowers... 

    https://abc7ny.com/gas-powered-leaf-blower-ban-village-of-larchmont-noise-pollution-gas-emissions/6537874/

    • I do think that is too extreme if the primary goal is noise management. 
    • If the primary goal is more than just reducing noise, but also reducing air particulates, etc, then, that needs more defense. I'm curious how Larchmont got that extreme of a ban passed.

       Electric blowers are still problematic from the point of view of particulate pollution.  The only safe leaf blower for a person with asthma is a rake.


      sac said:

       If we were to have a complete ban and ENFORCE it, the landscapers would figure out how to provide the service in other ways - rakes, brooms, lawnmowers with grasscatchers, electric blowers, etc. or possibly a combination.  Also, there is NO time during the year when leaves (or anything else) need to be blown/removed EVERY WEEK.  There are a very few weeks when lawns may need to be mowed that often (usually just part of April and May) but they could use grass catchers or mulching lawnmowers rather than blowers to deal with the cuttings when mowing.  Any other time of year, not only is weekly blowing excessive, it does not conform to the township leaf collection policy and schedule which, sadly, is never enforced.  We DIY our lawn and only remove leaves once or twice a season.  Our lawn mower has a grasscatcher and the clippings go in a compost bin.  Some of the leaves go in the street (but no more than once or twice each fall as mentioned) and some get mowed/mulched/composted and some get raked around shrubbery, etc.  I would happily pay a landscaper their usual annual total fee for this service if they would only come when needed and perform the tasks as described.  If it is more work per visit, it certainly would be fewer visits, so would come out the same in the end.  But as long as the community doesn't have these regulations AND enforce them then nothing is likely to change much.

       The mulching lawn mower is such a no brainer.  It reduces pollution AND fertilizes the lawn.  We used one for years and our neighbor, a man who's landscaping service drenched his lawn in chemical fertilizers twice a year, routinely marveled at how much better our lawn looked than his.  I tried to tell him but......


      sac said:

      sbenois said:

      I would be happy to tell my landscaper to rake my yard if Moammar would pay for the incremental cost over blowing the leaves.

       If we were to have a complete ban and ENFORCE it, the landscapers would figure out how to provide the service in other ways - rakes, brooms, lawnmowers with grasscatchers, electric blowers, etc. or possibly a combination.  Also, there is NO time during the year when leaves (or anything else) need to be blown/removed EVERY WEEK.  There are a very few weeks when lawns may need to be mowed that often (usually just part of April and May) but they could use grass catchers or mulching lawnmowers rather than blowers to deal with the cuttings when mowing.  Any other time of year, not only is weekly blowing excessive, it does not conform to the township leaf collection policy and schedule which, sadly, is never enforced.  We DIY our lawn and only remove leaves once or twice a season.  Our lawn mower has a grasscatcher and the clippings go in a compost bin.  Some of the leaves go in the street (but no more than once or twice each fall as mentioned) and some get mowed/mulched/composted and some get raked around shrubbery, etc.  I would happily pay a landscaper their usual annual total fee for this service if they would only come when needed and perform the tasks as described.  If it is more work per visit, it certainly would be fewer visits, so would come out the same in the end.  But as long as the community doesn't have these regulations AND enforce them then nothing is likely to change much.

       You can chip in with Moammar.   Thanks.


      jamie said:

      Larchmont population 6,000 ranked #15 wealthiest community in the country.  

      My father had a few landscaping clients in Larchmont. I spent a lot of time there, 50 years ago.

      I remember when we bought our first back-pack leaf blower, in the 70's, I guess. It was an amazing innovation at the time.



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