When it comes to buying a lawnmower, your purchase should be guided by the size and terrain of your lawn and how much energy you have.
Choices range from the simple, reel push mowers to ultra-modern cordless, battery-operated equipment. Selecting the right mower ensures the most efficient tool for your specific landscape and that your lawn will look its best.
Here are some things to consider:
- Small yards can be mowed with a reel push mower, especially if the lawn and ground are relatively even or smooth. This human-powered mower has blades that cut as they rotate. This would not be a good choice for cutting tall grass or weedy areas. However, this is the most environmentally friendly lawnmower you can have.
- For a fairly level yard less than one-half acre, a cordless, battery-operated lawn mower may be the answer. This is almost silent, emitting a slight, high-speed whirr, as it cuts the grass, making it ideal for smaller urban and suburban yards. The mower plugs into a special battery for recharging. Once charged, which usually takes several hours, the mower is unplugged. It stores its energy for the next mowing. Most battery-operated mowers are not recommended for cutting tall grass or weeds; however, there are a few models designed for those tasks.
- The walk-behind, gas-powered, rotary lawnmower is what most people use to cut the grass. This push mower can be used to mow the lawn and all but the tallest weeds. This is a good choice for most northern lawns of blue grass and fescue. It gives a nice, even cut.
- For southern lawns of St. Augustine or Bermuda grasses, many homeowners use a walk-behind, gasoline-powered reel mower, because of the nice, even cut. You push the mower, which resembles a reel push mower, except this one runs on gasoline.
- For larger landscapes, those that are hilly or have steep slopes, a good choice is a self-propelled mower. This gasoline-powered mower moves when you put it in gear, so you need to be able to handle its pull and weight in a safe manner.
- Gasoline-powered riding mowers or small tractors may be the right choice for very large landscapes. Again, make sure you can maneuver the equipment safely.
- Buy a mulching mower, which comes in almost all styles. This machine cuts the grass into tiny pieces, which remain on the lawn and eliminate the need to bag clippings.
Other mowing tips for a great looking lawn:
- Make sure you can easily adjust the mowing height of the equipment.
- Keep the lawnmower in good running condition and the blade sharp. A sharp blade cuts the grass evenly, without tearing the blades, which can cause brown tips. Ragged cuts also open up grass blades to insect and disease damage.
- Mow high, keeping the grass about 3 inches tall. Taller grass reduces the chance weeds will take hold and it shades the soil, helping to retain moisture and moderating its temperature. That usually means you’ll mow more frequently in spring, when the grass is growing fast, and less in summer and fall, when the growth rate has slowed.
- Avoid cutting off more than one-third of the height of the grass blades at a time.
- To reduce stress on the lawn, mow in early evening or early- to mid-morning.
- Don’t mow the grass when it is wet.
- Don’t bag the clippings. A mulching mower chops the grass into tiny bits, which stay on the lawn. The bits quickly break down, adding nutrients to the soil as they do.