For many, this time of year signals the yearly struggle to keep the yard clear of leaves for a few more weeks while you can still see the ground (and ominous wintry clouds plot from a distance). For Texans, it’s admittedly more pleasant, a time of year when we can step outside without the ever-present blast of nature’s convection oven. But even in Texas, deciduous trees shed everywhere — and with the shedding come the teeth-rattling noise and noxious fumes of the leaf blower.
Okay, so not everyone sees it that way. But sentiment on the acceptability of leaf blowers runs strong — a quick search online yields hundreds of articles pleading for the outright ban of these tools, citing inefficiency, negative environmental impact, hearing damage, and plain old annoyance. Those in favor of leaf blowers tend to focus on the convenience and stick with practical advice: gas or electric, alternate uses such as snow clearing and dryer duct cleaning, or ergonomics.
A lot of opinions on this issue are pretty strong, delving into everything from accusations of tree-huggery to physical laziness. But aside from these extreme views, what are the rational arguments for using a leaf blower? Is it really necessary to invest in an often-pricey power tool that might just as well be left to a little elbow grease? Or are leaf blowers something of a scapegoat? Let us know what you think in comments.