December 8, 2021

Blowing Leaves Onto the Street Creates a Needless Hazard

To the Editor:

Princeton has taken an important first step in limiting the use of gas-powered lawn equipment. But the more basic question of permitting leaves to be blown onto streets remains. This goes beyond the immediate safety issue: long piles of leaves, some blocking a third of  narrow roads, forcing cars into the path of oncoming traffic; patches of leaves blown off these piles slippery as ice when soaked by rain. More importantly, leaf litter is biodiverse. The organisms that break down leaves and twigs provide food for trees and surrounding vegetation.

Since Princeton, wisely, plans to subsidize the transition to electric equipment by lawn service businesses, we should make battery-powered mulchers part of the arrangement. Blowing leaves onto the street creates a needless hazard while depriving trees and  plants of natural nourishment consequently increasing the need for fertilizers that can run off creating yet another problem. Lawn service companies should, at the minimum, offer property owners the option of mulching leaves and feeding their trees and/or lawns, flower beds, and gardens organically instead of blowing a private responsibility onto the public streets. 

Jeffrey and Laura Spear
North Harrison Street