Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Learn More About Reel Mowing

Choosing the right mower for your lawn can be a hard decision, especially with the enormous selection that you will find online. It can be very confusing. This section is designed for the homeowner that is making the transition from the traditional motor powered mower, to the reel mower. The reel mower is perfect for small landscapes, such as those found accompanying condos and in subdivisions.

Reel mowers were first introduced in 1870, but the ones being used today, are definitely not the same mower. You will find that today's mowers cut much more freely. They use a non contact mowing technique. It gives your lawn a scissor cut, instead of a sawed edge. This holds in the moisture, and keeps the ends from looking brown. It gives a much more manicured look, and doesn't shock the turf.

Regular mowing is essential. You will not want to let your lawn get too long, before you mow again, with a reel mower. Reel mower cutting heights of between one and two inches for most Northern turf varieties have been proven over 200 years of worldwide use. Most current mowing height recommendations are based on the requirements of power rotary mowers, which cannot mow at attractive healthy lower heights without possible damage to the lawn such as browning and scalping injury. Regularity, mowing, watering and feeding will encourage your lawn to better health and appearance!

You may be wondering about the grass catcher. The push reel mower is the original mulching mower. In most areas grass cycling, or leaving the clippings on the lawn, provides the lawn with a quarter to a third of its nutritional season long. Generally a grass catcher is not needed unless you wish to collect the clippings for use as mulch elsewhere. (See our composting articles.) Use of the grass catcher is more common in the South, where Bermuda and St. Augustine lawns in their high growth periods require mowing twice a week. That much mowing generates a lot of clippings so the grass catcher can be useful to avoid an excessive buildup of clippings on the lawn. This can create a thick thatch, which can rob the roots of essential oxygen, and water. If you find that you have too much thatch, you may want to read about aeration. Oxygen is essential to root health, for any plant, including turf.

Another factor to consider in a mower is maintenance. You will only need to keep your reel mower dry, and oiled. The cleaner you keep it the longer it lasts. Spraying the blades with silicon lube spray is also a good step to make the blades easier to clean and to prevent rust. On a superior quality mower, you should only have to sharpen the blades once every 7-10 years. Reel mowers are safer, and require far less maintenance than their motorized counterparts.

While reel mowers are not for everyone, they certainly are making a comeback. We would love for you to share your thoughts, experiences, and questions.


Karen L. Alaniz said...

Perhaps you won't be able to answer this, but I'll ask anyway. I'd love to use a reel mower but have a bad back. Are the newer ones easier to push? Thanks. ~Karen

Anonymous said...

Reel mowers are not just like a self propelled gas mower. However, they are not at all like they used to be. They run very smoothly, especially if you mow your grass regularly. -About every ten days or so.

Anonymous said...

My reel mower is actually much lighter than my old gas guzzling toro. Though I have to admit to taking a few more passes with it. I don't think it would be any worse on your back than a conventional mower...

Anonymous said...

Push reel mowers are more lightweight than most people imagine. In fact on Saturday my neighbor and I actually raced our push reel mowers! (Were always in a friendly competition for a better yard...and might I add I won!)Anyways I have been very happy with my mower and I would definitely recommend it over a gas mower (back problems and all). Mine's a Sunlawn and I got it because it felt lighter than others at the store!