Can’t Stand The Sound of Roaring Leaf Blowers?

Leaf blowers aren’t just noisy; they’re violent.

Landscape industry veteran Billy Krause likens their use to hitting your plants with hurricane-force winds once a week.

“They bother me,” he said.

They also bother Park Cities residents whose concern over the impact to ears, rather than plants, prompted a recent meeting in Highland Park with leaders of Krause Landscape Contractors and other landscape maintenance companies.

To mitigate noise and exhaust, Highland Park has gone to battery-powered blowers for its parks.

An ordinance approved in the 1990s restricts users to operating at half throttle in the town, but Mayor Margo Goodwin expects town leaders will remain reluctant to adopt more regulations.

To make a difference, consumers should ask and pay for quieter lawn services, she said.

Until then, blowers, mostly gasoline-powered, will remain a mainstay tool in the yard maintenance arsenal.

Just listen for their arrival as the weekend draws near.

“Oh my god, from Wednesday to Saturday, the noise,” Goodwin complained.

“In the ‘70s, when we had just a hoe, rake, and a broom, we got by.” -Billy Krause.

“They can blow dirt under a door,” added Kathleen Stewart, director of town services. “It’s crazy how powerful they are.”

Many blowers produce more than 70 decibels at 50 feet – more than 105 decibels at the user’s ears, according to Every 10 decibels is equivalent to twice as loud.

“It’s not ever one,” Stewart said.

If there are four workers, there will be four blowers, she said.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the noise generated can hamper a person’s accuracy and increase aggravation, even hours later.

What are the alternatives?

“In the ‘70s, when we had just a hoe, rake, and a broom, we got by,” Krause said.

He has customers now who require rake and broom clean up.

But using a broom can take eight times longer than a blower, according to Extra time means extra costs to property owners.

Going to battery-powered blowers comes with other challenges.

“(Battery-powered) blowers, in particular, haven’t quite cut it as gas-powered replacements,” Clint DeBoer, a founder of Pro Tool Reviews, wrote in a piece published on “They lack the power of gas and certainly the run-time.”

Landscape professionals told town leaders that finishing one house can require five or six batteries. Make that 20-plus for a large estate.

Cold weather also presents problems, causing batteries to lose charge faster and recharge slower.

Workers tend to dislike quieter blowers because they equate noise with power.

But when communities push for quieter options, landscaping companies will respond.

“It takes one leader to start a following,” said Jason Craven of Southern Botanical. “Challenges like this will also spark innovation from equipment suppliers.”

Town leaders have talked about doing a public information campaign and perhaps creating a list of vendors who offer quieter alternatives to gasoline blowers.

“I do think the residents bear responsibility for asking for and paying for it,” Goodwin said. “I say you need to talk to your provider, and if your complaint is with your neighbor’s provider, you need to talk to your neighbor.”

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

One thought on “Can’t Stand The Sound of Roaring Leaf Blowers?

  • January 25, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    I like to call them the leaf haters as they blow them back and forth across neighboring lawns in a type of leaf war using “Weapons of Mass Detailing” with their rakes, leaf blowers, machine powered poles that spit out fishing line where there are no fish, and machines that spin machetes horizontally leaving behind perfectly manicured lawns.

    Proposition: How about limiting the use of leaf blowers before 10 am? Some of us are retired or have never needed to do real work our entire lives. The attacks on these dead dichotomous innocent tree fronds from the front, the sides, and the flanks of our domiciles are just too much at 7:02 in the morning. I’m not ready to wake then. I often start the workday from home making calls and finding refuge from their assault on domestic vegetation can be a daunting task. It belies my work attire to my clients that have a great job that allows me to simply email people adorned in only a T-shirt and underwear. ( Don’t even ask about casual Friday!)

    I’m all for the gas-powered blowers. They are more efficient and anything that keeps my oil and gas royalty checks coming in is good for my bank account. I am simply asking that they not use them before 9 or 10 am. Limited warfare (of this type) is a win/win situation in my book.


    Louis Winthorpe III


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *