Nov 4, 2006

Sucking up the Leaves

City of Toledo leaf truck (Toledo, OH) Efforts by homeowners in my neighborhood to keep up with the onslaught of leaves paid off today, as the city's leaf trucks made their way through west Toledo.

I am ambivalent about leaf removal, and I mulch about half of my leaves each year. My contribution to the city's collective mulching efforts are mostly the leaves from two maples near the street, plus those leaves that have blown over from the yards of my neighbors.

I mulch the leaves from my Shumard oak, elm, and cherry trees - pretty much every leaf that falls in my backyard becomes next year's lawn and garden fertilizer.

Vacuum hose of a municipal leaf truck The vacuum hose on the leaf truck has a diameter of about 16 inches, by my estimation, and made quick work of the 3'x3'x 10' pile of leaves I had collected out front. The city takes the collected leaves to a central location and turns them into mulch.

When I lived in Detroit, such luxuries as snow removal and leaf removal were limited to a few select areas and major thoroughfares. Residential streets developed ice ruts during the winter, and people either bagged their leaves as trash, burned them, or let them rot.

A fine dust blows from the top of the leaf truck, and I was surprised that most of the workers were not wearing masks.

"You get used to it," replied one city worker to my query, his voice barely audible above the roar of the leaf truck.

Not me. I'd be hacking up leaf pieces for a week if I had to perform this job without a mask.


Stephanie said...

A mask would certainly be a good thing, especially if any of them have allergies. In that case it would be a necessity. Though, I've never tried raking leaves with a mask. Maybe I could get through my yard without my lungs seizing up then. It's an idea.

Kathleen Marie said...

I wonder what leave dust does to the lungs, especially when many of the trees may have been sprayed for parasites and such. Some people just don't use much common sense in my opinion.

We had a farmer when we lived in NE who would be spraying on herbicides and pesticides with no mask, etc... he often looked purple, literally. When you look at the application directions on the container it almost looks like the recommend you wear a space suit! Then of course, they wonder why the develope cancer before they are 50.

I know oak leaves make excellent mulch for gardens. We had a gal who ran a perennial garden business and that is all she would ever use.

Have a great weekend!

Roland Hansen said...

I had a terrible, horrific recollection when first looking at the photo.
I knew a man who was killed several years ago when he was swept up into a Toledo street sweeper. And, that is the honest truth.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Roland that was indeed a street sweeper and not a leaf sucker as Mike has pictured.

As for the leaf dust, I'm sure that masks are provided, because OSHA would have a purple fit if they weren't.

And OSHA does visit city workplaces although I believe that their effect is somewhat relegated to reporting only.