Spring and Burning Brush

My town used to have a lot of farm areas and orchards, but there aren’t many left now. I wish we could keep some of the orchards since trees help clean the air (and provide a lot of shade), but they are tearing the orchards down to build homes and businesses.

But, for the few orchards that are left here, they do what farmers do – trim their trees each spring and burn the tree limbs. It’s what they have always done, but for those of us with asthma – it’s a disaster!

Our poor lungs!

When my kids were in elementary school, there was a small orchard next to the school. The farmer would burn the tree limbs every spring  - while school was in session AND kids were outside for lunch recess. Can you imagine 500 kids out on the playground, breathing in all of that smoke while they are running around trying to play? There were plenty of kids out there coughing from the smoke.

Did I complain? You betcha! My kids have asthma and were hospitalized 12 times when they were young (mostly due to pneumonia, but also for smoke from a forest fire.) So, I like a mama bear, I will do whatever I can to protect my kids. I was a little upset when I marched over to the principal’s office. Luckily, we were on good terms since I was the PTA president!

My kids weren’t the only ones in the school with asthma. Since 1 in 10 kids have asthma, that averages 2-3 kids in each class with asthma. That's just an average. When my daughter was in 4th grade, there were 7 kids in her class with asthma. If you add up 2 kids per class, and times that by all of the 1st – 6th grade classes, and that’s a lot of kids with asthma in one elementary school!

I was worried about ALL of the kids with asthma in the school, not just my kids. Why does the farmer have to start burning his brush right before lunch recess? School is out at 3:00, can’t he wait and start the burn then?!

I just drove home from work and passed a house that was burning their brush in their back yard. And just the few seconds I spent driving by the house filled my car with smoke. I  have a cold, so my lungs are already cranky. And now my car is full of smoke?! Hello Albuterol inhaler!

Why do people have to burn tree trimmings and leaves?  Is there an option to burning?

Disposing of green waste in a lung-friendly way

When my husband trims all of our 8 trees, ivy, and wisteria, he loads up the back of his truck and takes the tree trimmings down to the green waste station at the landfill. It’s usually a long wait to unload the trimmings, but we feel it’s the healthier option.

I have also seen tree trimming companies that use a chipper to shred the trimmings. That makes a mulch that you can use in your yard.

Our town also has green waste cans so people can send their grass trimmings, ivy trimming and leaves to the green waste at the landfill. They make the mulch there and sell it to the townspeople to use in their yards. It helps keep the air clean and seems to be a better idea than burning it and making lots of smoke.

It’s not like I’m a tree hugger, but I think we can all help keep the air clean! I'm all for anything that will protect my asthma.

What are your thoughts on burning brush or sending it to the green waste at the landfill?

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