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Lawnmower Clinic - Hints and Tricks

Which mower is the right one for you?

A luscious green lawn is the glue that sticks the garden together. Your lawn can make or break the garden. You have various options available which can make a huge difference in the appearance of your lawn. When purchasing a lawnmower you have to consider several factors.

How big is your lawn?

Light and easy to handle mowers are particularly recommended for small to medium sized gardens, while self-propelled or larger mowers are suitable for larger gardens up to 3000m2. For larger areas ride-on mowers or lawn tractors may be the better option.

Electric or petrol?

If your lawn is small or medium sized with few obstacles for a power cable, electric or manually operated lawnmowers will offer a light and compact option. If, on the other hand you wish to mow larger or uneven lawns, a lawnmower with a powerful petrol engine would be the better alternative. You can undertake more demanding tasks without the need for a power source or cable.

Collect grass, mulch or side-discharge?

The traditional way of cutting grass requires you to collect clippings in a grass collection bag or grassbox. You can transfer the clippings to a compost heap that will provide you with natural, organically-enriched earth for feeding vegetables and plants later on. Mulching mowers and mulching blade attachments put grass clippings to work for you. By cutting and then re-cutting grass, a mulching blade produces fine particles that can barely be seen. These small particles decompose quickly, returning nutrients to your lawn. A side discharge mower keeps clippings to a minimum and spreads them evenly over your lawn, so you won't need to rake.

Cutting operation?

Two cutting mechanisms are in use:

  • Reel or cylinder mowers, those with a set of spiral-cylindrical blades spinning on a horizontal axis. Cutting is by a scissor like action between the moving cylinder blade, and a single stationary bottom blade.
  • Rotary mowers, whose blades spin horizontally on a vertical driveshaft. Cutting is due to a horizontal blade hitting the grass at a high speed.

There are seven major types of lawnmowers:

Reel Mowers

Reel or cylinder mowers are available in various types. The old fashioned push type, usually used on very small lawns, are powered by people pushing them. An electric or petrol powered walk behind unit that is self-propelled is popular for gardeners wishing to get the precision cutting of golf greens at home. Cutting width varies from approximately 350m up to 900mm. More sophisticated walk behind or ride-on models are available for bowling greens, golf greens or cricket pitches.

The scissor like action of a reel mower provides a much cleaner cut on the blades of grass than a rotary mower, avoiding brown ends that result from tearing or bruising of the remaining portion of grass.

Rotary mowers

The choice of electric motor or petrol engine as well as different cutting widths, ensure that the gardener can find the appropriate rotary mower for his application. The size of the area as well as the application is very important when choosing a model.

300-520mm rotary mowers with grass collection are the most popular for gardens. Options include push type and larger self-propelled models. Electric mowers have the disadvantage of requiring a trailing power cord that limits its range. There is the obvious hazard with these machines of mowing over the power cable, which is extremely dangerous. Powerful petrol driven mowers are better suited for larger areas. Contrary to popular belief, a well maintained petrol mower is easier to operate and can shorten the cutting time considerably.

Ride-on Mowers

With larger lawns you will want the power and convenience of a ride-on mower or lawn tractor at your disposal. You can cover wide areas of ground quickly and efficiently, reducing the time you spend mowing lawn, so you can increase the amount of time spend relaxing in your garden. Ride-on mowers resemble small tractors, with a cutting deck mounted between the front and rear wheels. An alternative layout is a rear-mounted engine with a front-mounted deck. These mowers are usually more maneuverable around tight corners than the tractor type, but are generally more expensive.

Engine power varies widely, running anywhere from 8 hp to 25 hp or greater. Ride-on mowers can perform a number of other useful functions. They can accept a variety of attachments including tillers, trailers, fertilizer spreaders, sprayers, sweepers and several more.

Hover mowers

Hover mowers are rotary mowers that use an air cushion to lift the mower off the ground like a hovercraft. The operator can then move the mower as it “floats” over the grass. These mowers are generally used against slopes, where it is difficult to push a mower on wheels. They typically have plastic bodies with an electric motor, although larger models with petrol engines are available. No pick-up is available with grass boxes.

Robotic mowers

Robotic lawn mowers are now available in South Africa. Imagine never having to cut your lawn again. Sit back, relax, and watch the mower doing all the work from a distance. A robotic mower requires the user to set up a border wire around the lawn that defines the area to be mowed. You then set up a weekly schedule. The unit will automatically depart at the times you have pre-set, cut your lawn and return to the Charging Station at the end of each operation. It will then recharge and wait for the next scheduled operation.

ATV Mowers

Turn your ATV into a lawnmower. Tow-behind finishing or rough cut mowers are available, driven by a petrol engine varying in size. Off-set models are also available which can be pulled behind ride-on mowers to increase the cutting capacity. Several other implements are additionally available to ease your gardening task, including trailers, tillers, sprayers and fertilizer spreaders.

Heavy duty mowers

Several options are available for heavy duty mowers. You can cut large areas of lawn or rough including tall grass. Especially on terrain that is not mown frequently, e.g. orchards, high grass meadows, path borders as well as undergrowth. The various options include:

- Three wheelers:

Two large rear wheels for easy pushing and a swiveling front wheel with height adjustment makes a mower that is highly maneuverable around obstacles and on uneven terrain. Petrol models with engine sized similar to normal lawnmowers are more popular, but electric is also available. These mowers have no grassboxes.

- Four wheelers:

Available in smaller(500-600mm) push type, as well as large(750mm upwards) self-propelled models. The large 750mm type machines are built to cope with large turf areas such as sports fields, parks and informal or formal lawns.

- Tractor mounted mowers

This range includes specialized rotary models for general grass cutting, bush cutting and haymaking. They are pulled behind tractors. Slashers can be used widely, and the more modern models include grassmulchers, pick-up models, and side discharge units. Some models can give a finished cut look on lawns similar to standard lawnmowers. Models are available from 900mm up to 6m, and height setting ranging from 0-100mm.

Choosing the correct mower for your specific application may seem like a daunting task, but with the correct advice from your sales representative at Grassnyer Kliniek/Lawnmower Clinic, you can purchase a machine which will simplify your lawn cutting task, and make your lawn one to be proud off.