Out of all the lawn maintenance tasks, mowing is the most time-consuming. However, it is one of the best ways to develop an actively growing, lush lawn. What happens when you cut your lawn is the root system temporarily stops growing, and this limits the grass’ ability to absorb water and nutrients. It also eliminates the food that was provided by that top part of the grass. However, the good news is that cut grass can produce new plants and stem nodes. This allows the grass to become more dense. It is similar to body building. Break down the muscle and it grows back stronger.
For millions of people around the world, lawn care is a labor of love. The question many lawn owners have to answer at one time or another is how much labor are they willing to do to get their grass cut. The first lawn mower was introduced in 1830 and ever since, homeowners have spent time arguing about the right way to go about cutting grass. Some swear by riding mowers while others swear by manual push mowers. New zero-turn mowers are the hottest thing in lawn care but some refuse to make the switch. Which mower is right for you? You first have to answer a few questions about your lawn and what you want to do with it.
Size – First and foremost, the size of your lawn should be the single biggest determining factor when it comes to picking the right mower. If you have a football field to take care of, you don’t want an old fashioned push mower or even a gas powered push mower since it would take you a full day to cut your grass. This leaves riding mowers and zero turn mowers as your only real choice. The problem with these two choices is that they both tend to be quite expensive. You can find entry level riding mowers for $500-$1000, but many lawn care experts point to the fact that these low end mowers will likely only last you a season or two. Many home owners with large lawns are looking to commercial models so that they only have to buy a new mower once a decade or less. Of course, commercial mowers are even more expensive and aren’t an option for most people. The new zero-turn mowers are grabbing a lot of attention, but you need to be comfortable with the unorthodox driving controls before you leave the showroom. Zero turn mowers are a new type of riding mower that will literally turn on a dime, which means that there is no need to go back to a patch of your lawn that you missed as you turned your riding mower around. These new types of mowers use a pair of lever controls that direct the mower where to go. You won’t find a conventional steering wheel here. It takes practice and complete concentration to operate one of these mowers successfully, but they can significantly reduce the total amount of time you dedicate to mowing.
Design – Groundskeepers at various Major League Baseball ballparks have taken it upon themselves to imprint various designs into their respective playing fields in an effort to beautify the already majestic game of baseball. Needless to say, this has caused a huge spike in interest amongst lawn owners who now wish to do the same thing. Believe it or not, the easiest way to achieve this same kind of design pattern at home is through the use of a basic cylinder mower from yesteryear. Some lawn experts can achieve a similar result by using a basic gas powered push mower that uses different mowing heights in different areas, but for that authentic ballpark look, step back in time and grab a cylinder mower.
Cost – No matter what kind of mower you are after, there are going to be cheap versions and expensive versions. A basic cylinder mower will likely be the cheapest mower you can find, other than a pack of grazing cattle, but even this human-powered mower can be costly if you are looking for a fancy enough one. The rule to remember here is that you truly get what you pay for. If you run out and buy the cheapest riding mower you can find, you had better make sure you check the warranty information because it likely won’t last very long. The amount you spend on a mower should be directly proportional to the size of your lawn: the bigger the lawn, the better the mower.
Versatility – Some folks need their mower to be more than just a mower. If you live in an area that is prone to snowstorms, many riding lawn mowers can be outfitted to use snow plows or other snow removal equipment which can save you from buying a separate snow blower. Some mowers have special tools that improve edging so that you don’t need a separate edger.
A lawn mower shouldn’t be a buying decision that you wrestle with for months on end. Yes, the right mower can go a long way in determining the long term health of your lawn, but the way you use your mower and the way you maintain it is even more important. Treat your new mechanical friend with respect and you’ll have many a season of beautiful lawns ahead of you.
There are several types of mowers, edgers, trimmers and blowers to use for lawn maintenance. We will compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will also discuss how to sharpen your mower blades, when and how to change your mower’s oil, how high you should cut your lawn, and when to cut your lawn.
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