Talking to your landscaper about leaf blowers works

To the Editor:

The Board of Health and the Princeton Environmental Commission suggested that we talk to our landscapers and ask them to limit or discontinue their use of gas-powered leaf blowers (“You can help protect our essential workers and our air quality by talking to your landscaper,” in Planet Princeton Opinionator). 

I can testify from personal experience that doing this can really work. I talked to my landscaper. I asked him to completely stop using leaf blowers on my property but to continue mowing my lawn. He was glad to do this. The result: when he works on my lawn, there is no longer any noise or pollution from leaf blowers that would damage his health and disturb my neighbors. 

I next encouraged my landscaper to buy battery-powered equipment. He now mows my lawn with a battery-powered mower. The result: when he mows my lawn, there is less noise and no pollution. 

He does most of the work himself. I’m glad that he is no longer subjected to pollution and noise from gas-powered leaf blowers and a gas-powered mower because of his work for me. In addition, he no longer needs to buy and maintain a leaf blower for use on my property. And his new battery-powered mower is less expensive for him to run and maintain than his old gas-powered mower. 

In the summer he mows, and he leaves the grass clippings on the lawn and on the sidewalks. The grass clippings soon disappear. In the fall he mows, and he mulches fallen leaves into the lawn. The leaves are cut up into tiny bits that soon disappear. The grass clippings and mulched leaves nourish the lawn. They are good for the lawn. In addition, the grass clippings and leaves don’t get blown into the sewers where they would cause stormwater problems. 

My landscaper charges me a small amount more in the fall because mulching leaves can sometimes require several passes of the mower. Otherwise his prices are the same as before.

He’s happy, I’m happy, and my neighbors are happy. 

For more information, see

Phyllis Teitelbaum
Hawthorne Avenue


  1. As a result of this letter, we just made the same request of our landscaper, and we hope they will honor it. The increased quiet and reduced emissions can help everyone, workers as well as those now with home offices.

  2. Great idea with desired results. Of course landscapers must listen to their customers’ requests and customers have the right to switch to a different company if their landscaper does not respond to requests. There are some entirely “green” landscaping companies that use all battery-powered equipment, and will skip the “blow dry” of the lawn after a mow. Many of my neighbors seem befuddled by the concept that they could actually ask their landscapers to skip the leaf blower after each mow. If you are the customer, of COURSE you can tell the landscaper that you do not want that part of their “service”. It is like going to the car wash and telling them that you do not wish the “towel dry” after the wash. There is a lot of backlash these days with people saying there are more important issues to focus upon, however, GPLB, due to lack of catalytic converters like cars have, contribute a significant amount of pollution and pollution in a region is associated with poorer outcomes in covid disease.

  3. This is just an attempt to legislate class inequality. The wealthy will always be able to have their property look good, regardless of the cost. Power equipment is a way that the middle class can maintain their property in a economically reasonable manner. The amount of pollution that that the lawn blowers make is minuscule compared to those of the coal plants producing the electricity for the Tesla automobiles. It’s really sad to see the local population try to twist this, when it’s really just a NIMBY issue.

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