Information for professional landscapers and residents of Santa Barbara County
See information on Leaf Blowers and APCD Role (published February 2019)
Gasoline-powered leaf blowers produce emissions of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, which can form smog. They also emit carbon monoxide, air toxics, and greenhouse gases, and they stir particles into the air, contributing to particle pollution.
Use of leaf blowers is particularly problematic after wildfire events since the blowers force ash particles that have settled on the ground back up into the air. To learn more about dust particles and your health, visit our Smoke and Health page
Here are some tips for the use of leaf blowers.
- Be a considerate neighbor. Ask your neighbors if they are being impacted. Remember, in warm weather, many people like to leave their windows open, and soil and dust may be blown directly into their homes.
- Avoid blowing dust within 50 feet in any direction of pedestrians, pets, or other neighboring property.
- Use an alternative to leaf blowers, such as gentle sweeping with a push broom followed by light hosing with water, or use of a high-quality shop-vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particulate filter and a disposable filter bag. If you use a landscaping service, ask them not to use leaf blowers.
- Be aware of wind direction, and alert your landscaping service to this issue. If the neighbor’s windows are open, or there are children playing nearby and the wind is blowing that way, it is not a good time to use a leaf blower.
- Set the leaf blower at the lowest intensity for the job.
- Avoid blowing dust, leaves, weeds, and other debris into the air.
Under the City of Santa Barbara’s Municipal Code (9.16.020-021), it is illegal to use gasoline-powered leaf blowers in the City of Santa Barbara at any time. Individuals affected by the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers within Santa Barbara city limits may submit an online complaint at Citizen Online Police Reporting System | City of Santa Barbara (santabarbaraca.gov) select “Code Problem” and fill out the complaint information.
Outside the City of Santa Barbara, gasoline-powered leaf blowers are allowed to be used. Individuals affected by dust or pollution resulting from leaf blowers may call the District at 805-979-8266 to make a complaint. (Visit our complaints process web page to learn more.)
- Green Gardener Program for Santa Barbara County
- California Air Resources Board report on the health and environmental impacts of leaf blowers
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lawn and Garden webpage