Do You Need a Lawnmower?
This question is being asked more often as more and more homeowners decide to hire a lawn care service to do mowing and other lawn chores. Economically, it is always cheaper for a homeowner to own a mower and do his or her own mowing than to hire a lawn care service,but many homeowners are willing to spend the extra
money necessary to hire a professional. In many neighborhoods,nearly every lawn is professionally maintained. If you have a professional service mowing your lawn, you don’t need to own or maintain a lawnmower. You may,however, own and maintain a lawnmower and just hire someone to operate it for you.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Lawnmower
If you do need a lawnmower, many factors can enter into your decision on what lawnmower to buy. Size of the lawn to be mowed is probably the first factor to consider. Small lawns (up to about 2,000 square feet are good candidates for non-power reel mowers or electric mowers;intermediate lawns (2,000 to 5,000 square feet) are
suitable for walk-behind power lawnmowers, either push-type or self-propelled; larger lawns may justify a riding mower.
Also important in your decision is the type of turfgrass in your lawn. Some turfgrasses such as hybrid Bermuda,some Zoysias and bent must be cut very short (and very often) to maintain a decent appearance. These grasses usually require a reel mower to cut below a 1-inch height,but few homeowners have these high-maintenance
grasses. St. Augustine and some of the tall fescues should be cut fairly high (about 3 inches or more), so a rotary mower is essential. Grasses such as centipede in the South and Kentucky bluegrass in the North fall in the middle and can be cut with most types of mowers. Zoysia is a tough grass and is best cut with a reel mower.The
slope of your lawn also plays a part in your decision. A non-self-propelled mower is more suitable for a flat lawn than for one on a hillside. Whether the lawn is irrigated on a regular basis can also play a role in your decision process. Irrigated lawns may be softer, thus making a mower harder to push, and they will need mowing more
often with more clippings each time. On the other hand, clippings will decompose more rapidly on an irrigated lawn.Closely aligned with irrigation is overall turf quality. A well-maintained lawn will grow faster, be denser and have more clippings than a poor lawn. Also, if you strive for a quality lawn, you will want a mower that will yield a quality cut.
Do You Need a Power Lawnmower?
Many people buy self-propelled lawnmowers, but pushing a mower can be good exercise. If you have a small lawn, you should consider a push mower. A manual reel mower can be a good choice for very small
lawns.Manual reel mowers re 2) are making somewhat of a comeback. Testing has shown that the push effort for a good manual reel mower is no greater than the push effort for a powered but non-self-propelled rotary mower.The width of a manual reel mower, however, will normally be less than a rotary (6-8 inches versus 20-22
inches). There are major differences in quality among manual reel mowers.
A good manual reel mower will have a very thin clearance between the reel blades and the bed knife when properly adjusted, thus eliminating blade drag.Excessive clearance will cause a deterioration in quality of cut.
With low-quality reel mowers, the blades may drag on the bed knife, increasing push effort, noise and wear. The cost of a good manual reel mower may exceed the cost of a powered discount store rotary mower It is tempting to think that maintenance costs will be less for a reel mower since there is no engine to maintain,but this is not
necessarily true. Reel mowers must be professionally sharpened and back-lapped, and this should be done reasonably often. The cost of frequent professional sharpening can easily exceed the cost of maintaining a small engine. Some manual reel mowers allow catching clippings, but you can’t mulch with a reel mower. Reel mowers
are designed for high-quality turfgrass. They will not handle tall grass (taller than axle height) or coarse weeds.
If you have a small lawn and are willing to get a little exercise while mowing, a good manual push mower can be a viable alternative to a powered mower. For somewhat larger lawns, a non-self-propelled power rotary can be a good choice. Selecting a model with tall rear wheels can reduce push effort. For larger lawns or minimum effort,
you will need to spend enough to get a self-propelled rotary mower.
Many current models of lawnmower have long handles that extend a long way behind the mower deck. Manufacturers make the handlesthis way for safety – to keep the operator further away from the deck and thus
reduce the chance of injury.
Although this safety feature is desirable, a long handle can make a mower very difficult to maneuver in tight areas – near buildings, fences, trees, etc.You should try to maneuver several mowers before buying one to get an idea of how each will work for you. Some lawnmower handles are adjustable.Some mower handles are designed to
fold easily for storage. They cannot, however, be used with the handles folded.
Walk-behind home lawnmowers are covered by safety standards and regulations, but the real responsibility for safety rests with the operator. No matter how much a mower is shielded and guarded, it still has to be capable of cutting grass or it is useless. If it can cut grass, it can cut you, too! These suggestions can help you use your mower safely.
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