Leaf Blowers Suck… or um Blow

John Matterson
2 min readOct 12, 2020

Every Thursday morning, a “gardener” shows up next door to us with a gas-powered leaf blower strapped to his back giving him something of a ghostbuster like appearance. He cranks that contraption up and I immediately get irritated by its loud grinding pitch. I glare out the window as if that might dampen his enthusiasm, but I am too far away for him to even notice. Regardless, all his senses must be completely dulled as he goes about his task of blowing the leaves towards the ditch. In the end, the leaves don’t stand a chance, but some are able to hold on longer than others. It must have taken a good 5 minutes to get one rebellious leaf to obey him.

I can only surmise that he feels like this machine is his superpower. Why else would he use it for an hour to do what a rake could do in 10 minutes. Would it have killed him to have picked up that one damn leaf with his hands? Did it not bother him, that more leaves were falling from the tree while he did this, and in a few days the wind would shift and blow all those leaves back into the yard?

As if my irritation at the inefficiency wasn’t enough, the noise is ridiculous. It’s like we are living on the approach to a major airport. We live on a golf course, so we do hear their equipment all the time. It is nothing compared to the noise this guy makes. I can’t have a phone conversation when he is at it.

And the story gets worse. He’s not alone in his ineptitude. Leaf blowers aren’t just for leaves anymore. I walked by a local gas station a couple of days ago and was witness to a worker using a gas-powered leaf blower to “sweep” the area around the gas pumps. He was blowing directly into a competing headwind. No telling what fine particles he is scattering about for all of us to breath in. Someone needs to introduce that guy to a broom.

And then there’s the pollution. Based on a California study, it takes just 60 minutes for a two-stroke gas leaf blower to emit as much carbon dioxide as an average sized automobile does over 1,400 kilometres. And at least when you are driving a car you don’t stick your face next to the exhaust pipe to breath it all in.

They are loud, they pollute, and they are inefficient. They need to go.


Originally published at https://shakeitupdotonline.wpcomstaging.com on October 12, 2020.



John Matterson

I am a writer that happens to have Parkinson’s. I write about my experiences with a balance of humour, optimism and honesty.