Can Yard Maintenance Services Cause Damage?

Yard maintenance services are destroying your yard and the wider landscape. People have begun to take notice and speak up about this hidden danger.
In case you missed it, the Pasadena Environmental Advisory Commission hosted a special forum last night on gas-powered blowers and other yard equipment.  I attended and was impressed with their consideration of destruction caused by typical mow-blow-and-go outfits.  I have a longstanding frustration with such companies, which are almost always uneducated and so do not know what they are doing to the plants and soil for which they are being paid to maintain.  Not only do they usually not have degrees or even basic training other than the use of gas-powered equipment, but the work they do is not licensed or regulated.

Typical signs of their lack of education, regulation, and oversight include:
  • shredded stems and branches of shrubs – unsightly, traumatic to plants
  • pruning of plants while they are in their flowering stage – halts natural plant growth and reproduction cycle, kills plants over time
  • topping of trees – extremely damaging to tree health, unnecessary
  • over-pruning of trees, removal of majority of branches – prevents mature urban tree canopy, unnecessary
  • removal of organic debris & leaf litter – exposes soil and plant roots to sun, reduces soil to hard-pan impregnable dirt, removes soil’s ability to hold moisture, prevents natural creation of essential habitat for beneficial soil organisms, collapses healthy soil structure,
  • loud noise on nearly daily basis – interrupts work-from-home, damages hearing
  • petroleum pollution – pollutes air around homes
  • particulate pollution – stirs up dust clouds that cause asthma/upper respiratory distress, dirty neighborhood automobiles, coat plant leaves which reduces photosynthesis, carries toxic particulate including fecal matter into the air where it can be inhaled
If nearly every other industry has to be licensed (requiring some form of formal education as to appropriate and safe operation) and regulated, why are cities like Pasadena allowing so-called ‘gardeners’ to systematically destroy our landscape and be paid for it?  This question might sound harsh, but it reflects the bare facts and a serious issue everyone deserves to know and have the chance to do something about.  Our landscape is our natural resource base and our heritage.  It is an essential base for everything we do in our lives.  Somehow we have let its destruction be carried out under our noses.  But there is hope.
The commission shared its research into toxic particulate stirred up in the dust clouds pushed from one property to another and back again by the near continual blowing of leaves.  This includes animal feces and chemical pollutants as well as dust, which aggravates asthma and upper respiratory distress.

Share Your Concerns About Destructive Yard Maintenance Services

image: Yard Maintenance ServicesThe EAC is asking residents to submit comments for inclusion in their report to the Public Safety Committee of the City Council.  If you are concerned by destructive and polluting yard maintenance services, Ariel Hudgins is accepting comments at

The use of two-stroke engines in landscape equipment refers to gas powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers.  The commission identified existing ordinances related to landscape equipment in many parts of California and gathered scientific data associated with the use of two-stroke engines in landscape equipment.

To learn more about the research into leaf blower damage to the environment and human health, you can visit