Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.
November 30th, 2018
Natural Leaf and Snow Management
Tempted to pull out that leaf-blower for one last fall clean-up? Please consider raking instead. Not only are leaf blowers noisy, they are also very bad for the environment and human health.
Did you know…
- Two-stroke engines emit hundreds of times more air pollution than cars. This pollution contributes to global warming, smog and acid rain.
- Air pollution also raises risks of cancer, heart disease and asthma, especially in children.
- The forced hot air damages plants and soil organisms, and compacts soil which makes plants more vulnerable to summer drought.
- Electric leaf blowers create less air pollution and are somewhat quieter, but raking is still a better alternative.
What about snow and ice?
Snow-blowers have some of the same noise and air pollution problems that leaf-blowers do. Here are some lower-impact ways to handle snow on paths, sidewalks and storm drains.
- Avoid chemical de-icers whenever possible. These contain salts which corrode cars, roads, and bridges, and are harmful to plants, aquatic organisms, or both.
- Keep your storm drains clear of debris, shovel early and often to prevent build-up, and use sand, gravel, or non-clumping kitty litter for traction.
- Baking soda helps snow melt faster, and is much less toxic than chemical de-icers.
- Chop up any ice that does accumulate with an ice chopper or garden edger.
- If you must use a chemical de-icer, choose one labeled “pet-friendly” or that has magnesium salts, and apply sparingly just before or as the snow or sleet starts.
Learn about winter gardening and why to leave those leaves in Nature Notes 6!