When it comes to cutting your lawn the most environmentally friendly choice out there is a reel mower. Light weight and fueled by your own two feet and a heartbeat, a properly chosen reel mower will do as good as or a better job than any power lawn mower.
There are a few situations where a reel mower may not be a good idea though. Expansive, half acre yards will take hours to cut and may quickly exhaust the benefits of a reel mower. Rocky, barren lots may also not be the best place to use one. If your lawn has tall, stalky weeds growing in and around it, a reel mower won’t do an optimum job. That’s because the reel mower is designed to actually cut the grass, not tear it away as a power lawn mower does. So when the weeds (or even grass) are too long for the blades to catch as they spin, the tall plants will simply get pushed down and pop up right behind you.
This isn’t to say that you can’t tackle weeds in your lawn with a reel mower. Who doesn’t have weeds? And nearly any one can use a reel mower. You just need to bend and pull the weeds out as you go. The more regularly you mow, the stronger your grass will grow and the less room weeds will have to thrive. It just takes a little muscle and attention to remove each weed as they come.
Look for a reel mower that you can push with relative ease. Consider the lay of your yard, your own strength and even the type of grass that you have. Some grasses are actually cut better with heavier reel mowers – such as thick growing Bermuda, Zoysia and St. Augustine. Light weight mowers will just skim over the top of these grass types. Thinner grasses will be handled well with lighter models. Some brands actually have batteries and motors as well, which adds to the weight. Try a reel mower without a motor first before jumping to this type.
The width of your mower will also impact the weight. Do you have a larger lot? Purchasing a wider mower will cut down on mowing time, but will also bump up the weight. Calculate whether a wider, heavier mower will actually cut down on your total mowing time over a thinner, lighter mower that you can push with greater speed.
Choose a reel mower based on the blades as well, as there are a few different options out there. Some have tempered alloy blades that cut with a contact or friction method. You’ll hear a soft tick, tick, tick as you mow. You’ll also need to use the sharpening kit included to perform annual maintenance – usually in about 30 minutes. Other types have hardened steel blades that don’t use the friction method and have no metal-on-metal operation. These can go for up to a decade without sharpening, but will likely need the attention of a lawn mower professional by then.
Work through the different options, designs, weights and widths of reel mowers to choose the brand that’s right for you. Whichever one you pick up, you sure to have a durable, effective and eco-friendly way to trim the grass and get some exercise at the same time.
Want to learn more about push reel mowers?
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