The Palisadian-Post has partnered with locally based environmental nonprofit Resilient Palisades to deliver a weekly “green tip” to our readers.
Although gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers are woven into the fabric of many Palisadian gardens, it is time for a new social norm: zero-emission garden maintenance.
Communities across our country are taking steps to eliminate the use of gas-powered equipment from weekly maintenance routines for multiple reasons, including:
- The fumes have been linked to increased human risks of heart attack, stroke, asthma, cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and premature birth.
- In 2015 the EPA predicted that by today, the ozone-forming compounds from this equipment could surpass those from all the cars in California.
- Heavy metals from this equipment land on surrounding exterior and interior surfaces, including playgrounds, picnic tables and even indoor furniture.
- Climate impact: A 2011 Edmunds experiment showed that running a two-stroke gas-powered leaf blower for a half-hour emits as much hydrocarbons as driving a 2017 Toyota Corolla from Los Angeles to Denver.
- Low-frequency vibrations of gas-powered machines travel long distances and through walls, causing cumulative hearing damage.
- Spills during gas-equipment refuels accumulate in groundwater and run off into Santa Monica Bay.
If you agree that we are past the “should we?” but are rather at the “how do we?” here’s what you can do this week:
- Speak with your gardener about incorporating raking and sweeping (and be sure to dissuade them from washing down surfaces with water). Visit the Resilient Palisades Green Gardens page for a homeowner one-pager on how to rethink gas powered leaf blowers.
- Visit the Green Gardens page for a bilingual handout for your gardener to help identify the savings of electric vs. gas equipment, in-store discounts for commercial e-equipment and free trainings. Note: The latest and best-performing e-equipment is commercial grade, offered at authorized dealers with in-store trade-in discounts of up to 75% off (while supplies and funding last). Often, gardeners have experimented with non-commercial brands designed for homeowners, leaving them with poor-performing equipment that compromised their efficiency and comfort.
- Talk with your gardener about adapting the aesthetics of your garden to require less time trimming, blowing and mowing. Our gardeners are only doing what we expect of them. Consider health and safety by identifying areas that can be maintained without the use of power equipment, including letting leaves be in flower beds to create healthier topsoil, including providing habitat for beneficial bugs and insects.
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