While tidy yards and gardens may be pleasant, the noise from your leaf blower can end up disturbing those around you. Let’s all be considerate of our neighbours! Learn about the rules for using your leaf blower and avoid using it too early, before 8 a.m. or too late, after 7 p.m. on weekdays. Power devices are allowed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.
You can also keep your yard clean without using your leaf blower. If you do have to use a leaf blower, consider using green technologies and taking steps to reduce the noise and other impacts from your device.
There are a number of alternatives to dealing with fallen leaves that will help you avoid or reduce the use of your leaf blower.
Compost your leaves whenever possible; they are great sources of nutrients for lawns and gardens. Here are two ways to use leaves to feed your yard:
You may have seen “leave the leaves” campaigns through the fall, encouraging you to ditch the fall garden clean-up. Why? Allowing your garden to stand for the winter provides essential habitat for pollinating insects to overwinter.
Native pollinator species in Toronto need plant litter such as fallen leaves, dead hollow stems and logs to nest and survive the cold. Leaf litter is where many species of butterflies and moths overwinter as pupae or adults. Queen bumblebees overwinter by digging a small hole in the ground beneath leaf litter. By removing leaves, we could be removing important wintering habitats for native wildlife.
When spring arrives, many of us get anxious to get our gardens in shape for the growing season to come. But when those first warm days arrive before May, do not reach for your rake (or leaf blower).
Cleaning up your garden too early will harm nesting pollinators. Although it can be hard to wait, it is best to not partake in any garden clean-up for as long as possible in the spring. The earliest to start tidying is once the weather has consistently been above 10 degrees for at least a week.
In early spring, insects are still in diapause. This is a resting state like hibernation. The insects will not be moving and need to be left alone until it is warm enough to emerge on their own.
Want to learn more about protecting pollinators? The City’s Pollinator Protection Strategy aims to enhance and protect habitat in natural and urbanized areas. Get a grant for your pollinator garden from PollinateTO and check out our additional tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden.
If you do need to use a leaf blower, consider switching to greener technologies to reduce the impacts of your leaf blower usage.
If you do have to use a leaf blower, there are steps you can take to reduce the impacts on your neighbours:
You can reduce noise from your leaf blower by adopting the following practices:
Before using a leaf blower, please familiarize yourself with the rules for power device use so that your device does not disturb your neighbours. Power devices include equipment used in the maintenance of lawns, including leaf blowers, lawnmowers, grass trimmers, chainsaws, or any other similar equipment.
Avoid using your leaf blower too early or too late in the day and let your neighbours sleep in on weekends and holidays. Use your power devices from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Power devices are allowed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. These rules do not apply to snow removal devices or devices used to maintain golf courses, public parks or any City operations, including services contracted by the City. Learn more about the rules for power devices in the Noise Bylaw.
Help keep our sidewalks clean by not blowing leaves and lawn clipping onto sidewalks and roads. Learn more about the regulations in the Use of Streets and Sidewalk Bylaw.
If you have concerns about leaf blower noise and leaves and debris being blown onto roads and sidewalks, consider speaking with those responsible to give them an opportunity to correct the issue. If this approach does not work, call 311 or submit a complaint online.
On a temporary basis, complaints about power device noise during permitted hours in the Noise Bylaw can be sent to MLSFeedback@toronto.ca and will be analyzed to identify patterns and trends and to help inform future policy initiatives. The complaints will not be investigated on a case-by-case basis. It is important to provide as many specific details as possible about the noise, including its time and location, as well as the type of equipment being used.
On July 19, 2023, City Council discussed the staff report Two-Stroke Engine Small Equipment: Steps to Pursue a Ban and expressed support for a ban on the use of two-stroke small engine equipment in Toronto as a precaution against any adverse impacts to human health and climate. The City was directed to conduct consultations and identify the resources required to develop and implement the ban. A staff report is expected at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in 2024.