Leaf Blowers

Dear Landscaping Professional

In September 2017, the Irvington Board of Trustees enacted a local law requiring registration by landscaping professionals that do business within the Village of Irvington.

The law requires registration by February 1 each year. Since we are rolling out the new law for the first time in 2018, we ask that you complete your registration by March 1 this year. Upon registration, we will provide you with mirror tags for your vehicles to properly identify that you have registered. Download the Registration Form (PDF). View the list of currently registered landscapers.

Of significant importance is your adherence to the newly-enacted gas powered leaf blower regulations. View a summary of the new law’s provisions.

If you have any questions, please contact the Village Administrator, Larry Schopfer, at 914-591-4358 or by email.

Time for a Change!

Irvington, along with several municipalities in Westchester County and others across the nation, now regulate the use of leaf blowers. Policies range from seasonal usage restrictions to outright prohibition. Rising public concern over the noise, air pollution, and health hazards caused by leaf blowers, especially gas-powered, drives the need to limit their use.

Communities become quieter, lawns better fed without leaf blowing.  

  • Gas-powered leaf blowers disrupt peace and quiet in neighborhoods; their operation often exceeds the village noise ordinance.
  • Leaf blowers can spread plant disease, damage plants and destroy habitats.
  • Valuable topsoil can be blown away and remaining soil compacted.
  • Fallen leaves, rather than being blown and removed from a property, can be mulched to feed lawn and garden soil. 

Air quality improves when leaf blowers are not used, bringing health benefits to everyone.  

  • Leaf blowers propel into the air particulates and dangerous contaminants -- dirt, dust, pollen, fecal matter, mold, fungus spores, pesticides, herbicides, lead, organic and elemental carbon. Absorbed into the lungs, particulate matter can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, bronchitis, and other lung diseases, particularly among children, the elderly and landscapers.
  • The hydrocarbon emission of one of yard work with a two-stroke leaf blower is equivalent to driving 1,100 miles in a car. In one hour, a gas leaf blower can send five pounds of particulates into the air, emitting carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and hydrocarbons.
  • A ban on leaf blowing in the summer months is especially beneficial because emissions from gas-powered machines are worse in warm weather.

Consider stopping use of leaf blowers. If you feel you have to, please follow these practices.   

  • Use electric blowers, which are quieter, pollute less, and now cost no more than gas-powered machines.
  • Instead of blowing leaves off a lawn, set your lawnmower blades on high and mow right over the leaves, creating nutritious mulch for the grass.
  • Leave cut grass on the lawn: it’s a soil nutrient and decomposes quickly.
  • On pavement and driveways, do final clean up with a broom.
  • Avoid blowing debris into neighbors’ yards, the street and towards windows and doors.
  • Use safety protection for your hearing and breathing. Use of blowers may cause long term adverse health effects.

Take Action

Homeowners: If you employ a landscaper or have a neighbor who regularly operates a leaf blower, please talk with them about effective alternatives for clearing leaves, mowed grass and driveways / walkways. As the client, you have a right to demand the type of lawn care services provided by your landscaper.

Demand practices that are both courteous and environmentally sound. If they can't or won't manage their employees' use of leaf blowers on your property and throughout your neighborhood, it's time to look for a company that will. Contact us for a list of professional landscapers who have pledged to support more considerate and environmentally sound use of leaf blowers.

Our printable flyer (PDF) contains important, information (outlined above) about the negative environmental impacts of leaf blowing. Consider distributing it to others. Our hand card (PDF) provides a quick reference for the current regulations as well as a handy set of Courteous Use guidelines. Hardcopies of both documents are available in Village Hall.

The Green Policy Task Force pages on Organic Waste Management provide guidance for healthier, more sustainable lawn care practices.

If you already use good environmental practices in caring for your property, thank you.

leaf blower courtesy - Fall 2019