Are there more environmentally friendly ways to clear leaves than with a leaf blower?
By Amy Strada
Well, a group is certainly making the case for a quiet and environmentally friendly alternative. Launched last spring, Bedford environmental group Leave Leaves Alone (leaveleavesalone.org) has been spreading its message about the many advantages mulching leaves has over merely getting rid of them. This group, comprised of Cornell Cooperative Extention Master Gardeners and members of the Bedford community, aims to help fellow Bedfordites make better decisions about their lawns.
Leaf blowing, argues Fiona Mitchell of LLA, while also being loud and burdensome, “results in not just the leaves being blown, but also your topsoil, which is necessary for healthy plant growth.” Instead of a leaf blower, the tool needed is a lawn mower, the group says. The only adjustment necessary is changing your mowing blades to mulching blades, although dry leaves can be mulched with regular blades. The actual mulching is essentially mowing, but it might take more than one pass depending on how many leaves are on your lawn.
You now have two options. You can simply keep the chopped leaves on your grass as a protective layer against the snow, and then mow newly fallen leaves as needed. “The leaves will decompose and nourish the soil,” says Mitchell. Or you can rake up the mulched leaves and wait until spring to use as the perfect fertilizer. The best part? It’s chemical-free.