Leaf Blowers Getting Blown Away

Leave your leaves alone! Leaf blowers, like lawn mowers, are counterproductive to a productive piece of land. If you want a better, healthier, garden next year then you should let leaves lie over winter instead of blowing them away (the same is true for lawns, but you probably don’t have a lawn anyway). If a healthy land isn’t why you stop using leaf blowers then you may find your local municipality banning them for a variety of reasons. Indeed, in Toronto’s mayoral race Gil Penalosa wants to ban them city-wide, just like any world class city already do.

The American Lung Association recommends electric leaf blowers over gas-powered ones because “old two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices. They can pollute the air even more than cars, though engines sold since 2011 are cleaner.”

According to a study from Washington University, in addition to air pollution, when heat and sunlight react with nitrogen oxides and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)emitted from combustion engines—such as gas-powered leaf blowers—ozone becomes a problem.

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To Avoid Pests in the Summer Stop Mowing Your Lawn

Lawns are great for pests and horrible for the environment. Yards with clover and less need for mowing favour friendly insect species and help the environment. The situation is clear and the solution is obvious: stop mowing your lawn.

You don’t need to take my word for it, you can take multiple researcher studies concluding that less mowing is good for good insects. Teenagers forced to mow their parent’s suburban lawns should start using this evidence to get out of chores.

The present study examines the effects of different mowing regimes on arthropod abundance and diversity by conducting meta-analyses of studies assessing the effect of mowing on arthropod abundance (46 datasets) and taxa richness (23 datasets) in urban environments. Due to a geographical bias in the literature, only data from the temperate, northern hemisphere are analyzed.

Overall, the findings of the present meta-analysis strongly support the notion that a reduction in mowing frequencies in urban greenspaces benefits insect biodiversity.

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No Mow May 2022

It’s now may and many of you want to get outside to start making your lawn the most beautiful in the neighbourhood. Relax. Go easy with everything and you will find that your lawn will be better than ever. This spring, being lazy with your lawn is the best thing you can do.

The No Mow May campaign aims to get people to stop harming their lawns by mowing in May. Even Bob Vila supports it and lists eight reasons why you should participate.

5. Your lawn will be healthier.

No Mow May doesn’t just help pollinators, it can help your lawn for the better. By reducing the frequency in which you mow, your lawn can become more resilient to drought. Plus, it won’t require as much watering.

Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 1/3 of all residential water use goes to landscape irrigation. That translates to nearly 9 billion gallons each day! You can help reduce that number by taking part in the No Mow May campaign.

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Nevada to Ban Lawns


Lawns are the manifestation of human environmental hubris, and it’s hurting all of us. Regular readers of Things Are Good know that lawns are bad for a myriad of reasons (see links below for more info), and municipal leaders have caught on to this too. In the warmer, dryer areas of the US they’ve already banned the use of lawns due to water scarcity and some areas provide subsidies for sustainable landscaping to discourage the use of decorative grass. Now the entire state of Nevada is going to ban the use of lawns, good for them!

Even thinking beyond the insane amounts of water that turf requires, yards—often doused in fertilizers and pesticides designed to keep any and all natural wildlife away—have also become human monuments against biodiversity. Last month, when I reported on the drastic drop in monarch butterflies and the tribal coalition seeking to protect the animal’s migratory path, both Jane Breckenridge and Chip Taylor (who helped found the Tribal Alliance for Pollinators) cited the explosion of turf lawns as one of the main factors interrupting the natural habitats and resting places. The environmental case for separating lawns from the idealized version of homeownership is strong; the question is whether current regulations have the muscle to do it.

The City of Sacramento, for instance, currently offers a turf conversion rebate that helps residents offset the cost of transitioning their yards from turf to “low-water-use plants.” The program is one of many, as western and southwestern municipalities from Austin, Texas, to Mesa, Arizona, have pushed locals to ditch their turf in favor of drought-resistant plants over the past decade. Even the Southern Nevada Water Authority has a similar program in place, in addition to a developer-focused ban passed in 2003 that sought to outlaw planting grass yards in new subdivisions. But as a recent report from The Guardian showed, homeowners often decline these offers. One percent of metro Phoenix homeowners continue to use flood irrigation practices, dousing their yards in 60,000 acre-feet of water last year. That practice alone accounted for 7.5 percent of the water that the local water utility Salt River Project provided to the entire area. It’s as much as the entire city of Chandler, Arizona, used in a year.

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Join the No-Mow May Campaign


Pollinators love the spring and they love your lawn….until you cut it. Spring time is when pollinators need a quick get up and go meal, which usually comes from those peppy plants popping through your lawn early in the season. You can help pollinators survive the spring by just being lazy and letting your grass grow. Yes, you can save the world by doing less.

Remember the best strategy for not mowing lawns is not to have one in the first place. Check out these lawn alternatives.

Conservation groups have been promoting the “No-Mow May” approach around the world.

Cormier said spring is a crucial time to help pollinators.

“Flowering plants in the spring, for example, can bloom and provide an early source of nectar for pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and beetles,” she said.

Cormier says allowing wildflowers and grasses to grow during this time will also help prevent pollutants and debris from travelling directly into freshwater ecosystems, and help with soil stabilization.

“We’re not asking for a lot of time. We’re asking for 4 weeks so hopefully maybe just take a break from mowing for a couple weeks, for the entire month just try it out. It’s a small commitment but maybe people will like it and I hope they do,” she said.

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Thanks to Kathryn!

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