Opinion: Time to replace leaf blowers with rakes


By Dave Price
Daily Post Editor

The days of the leaf blower are numbered.

Atherton has banned gas-powered blowers effective July 1, 2024. In Menlo Park, the Environmental Quality Commission has also recommended such a ban to City Council.

July 1, 2024 is also the date that a bill by Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, banning the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers goes into effect.

When Berman’s bill was passed, critics pointed out that gardeners could drive to Oregon, Nevada or Arizona and buy leaf blowers and lawn mowers, and bring them here.

But a ban on their use, such as the one passed in Atherton and proposed in Menlo Park, spells the end of gas-powered lawn equipment.


For me, the issue isn’t climate change. The amount of greenhouse gases a leaf blower produces is laughable compared to the emissions of a coal-fired power plant in China. And they build one about once a week.

No, the real issue is the noise. It’s loud and it carries for a long distance. It can contribute to tinnitus, hypertension, and stress (which leads to annoyance and disturbed sleep), according to a May 6 article in zmescience.com.

The noise is so loud that if you live next door, you can’t make a phone call. If you’re trying to sleep during the day, a leaf blower will certainly stop that. The decibel level of a leaf blower is close to what a jet aircraft would produce taking off.

In this respect, electric leaf blowers aren’t much better than the gas ones.

One way or the other, I believe leaf blowers will soon be in the past. Other cities will take the lead of Atherton.

For gardeners, there’s always a rake. And if you’re trying to make a living as a gardener, point out that you should be paid more because raking takes more time than leaf blowing.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].


  1. Do you want to get rid of lawn mowers and weed whackers too? They are just as loud as leaf blowers.

    You imply, further, that there is no trade-off to paying the workers more for their time. But the more you pay your gardener, the less money you have to spend (or save) on other goods/services. One of the benefits of hiring a gardener is they have specialized equipment, which you don’t have to purchase yourself, which makes the gardener more valuable. If your idea is adopted by the City, some residents might stop using their gardener, preferring to do the job themselves.

    I believe we should take a live-and-let-live attitude to this so-called nuisance and not ban leaf blowers. However, as a middle ground to counter your more extreme proposal, I would instead limit the days when leaf blowers (and other gardening machines) can be used. Perhaps allow leaf blowers only on, say, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…or just two days/week. Maybe that’s the real issue – too many gardeners coming on different days during the week – with no “quiet” days M-F.

  2. Cars are noisy. Are we going to ban cars too? Motorcycles are even noisier. How about noisy children? No more births? If the noise bothers you, close your windows. It really is that simple. Raking does take more time than leaf blowers, and that’s why leaf blowers are used. Hello.

    Sometimes you have to come to terms with the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Things you dislike will exist whether we like it or not.

  3. Forgot to mention in my comment above. The garbage trucks that pickup our trash come by very early in the mornings at around 6 am when most residents are still asleep. They always wake me up that one day of the week. Is there any reason why they are allowed to operate before 8 am?

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