I Fought the Lawn Part One: Reel Mowers
As I prepared to clean the carburetor and change the spark plug on my lawn mower once again, a neighbor offered the use of their reel mower. I was actually a little reluctant but walked down to their house and pushed it to my yard. I had always been curious about using one, but assumed that it wouldn’t be able to handle the thick St Augustine grass that I have now in Mt Pleasant. As I pushed it down the driveway, I decided to veer off into the yard, fully expecting it to get bogged down instantly. Much to my surprise, it sliced through the grass like the proverbial “hot knife through butter“. I was hooked…
If you are “Heat-Adverse” as I am, I find myself wishing I could get the grass cut before the sun is all the way up. The temperature and humidity cause me to sometimes dread yard work, but I can’t wake the neighbors at 6:30 in the morning.
Without quoting the staggering numbers of power mower injuries in the U.S. every year , I can say I am very comfortable letting my ten year old take the helm of the reel mower.
Save on gym Membership!
While I miss the right shoulder workout that comes with starting a power mower, I have always enjoyed the exercise that I get with a push mower.
The model I am using lists at $99. There are other top of the line reel mowers by Fiskars (yes - the scissors company) or Snapper, but they are still less than most of the selection at Lowes. Then there is the savings on gas and the trip to the gas station with the gas can…
I am hoping that switching to the reel mower will help with the perennial grey leaf spot (to be discussed in future post in this series) problem we have had lately. I have read that scissors like cutting of the blades of grass will reduce the chopping and tearing that can occur with a power mower and make the lawn less susceptible to insects and disease. We will have to get back to you on that.
Its not a bush hog!
There are times that I need to clear ivy or other vines, or go over the “natural area” in the back yard. This is when I break out the weed whacker or gas mower. I am finding that pine cones and sticks or branches any larger than my pinky need to be cleared first, as they wedge between the blades and the frame.
There is no bag attachment!
I had stopped using the bag attachment several years ago for weekly cutting, reserving that chore for special occasions like after a hurricane or picking up leaves. I had stopped using herbicides and fertilized on the yard when the kids were toddlers, and just never started back. Using the natural clippings provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for the lawn without the danger of runoff to nearby watersheds.
Size of Yard-
There may be a limit to how much lawn you want to cut manually. I am not approaching the size that would be a problem but if you are cutting more than 7,000 square feet, you may need to stick with your riding mower. For small yards, this would work well, and is light enough to be hung on the wall of a storage room!