Are you thinking about buying your first push reel mower? If you are doing online research, you may have noticed the mixed reviews. People who love their reel mower often say that their manual reel mower is easier to push than a power mower, gives a better cut, is quieter and easier to maintain than a power mower. Detractors complain that reel mowers are difficult to push, don’t give an even cut and won’t cut weeds.
The happy customers understand how reel mowers work and they chose the right reel mower for their lawns. The unhappy customers usually have unrealistic expectations or has been given misinformation about reel mowers. They may not have chosen the best mower for their needs.
Reel mowers work best, and are easy to push, when used regularly. Reel mowers cut like a pair of scissors, with the reel blades spinning around and meeting the “cutter bar”, sometimes called the “bedknife”, at the bottom of the mower. Grass which is too tall cannot get caught between the reel blades and the cutter bar, so it does not get properly cut. This is not a limitation for a well-maintained lawn.
Turf management experts at universities all over the United States recommend cutting no more than one third of the length of the grass at a time. Cutting more than that off with any mower puts a strain on the grass. So if your goal is for your lawn to be three inches high after you cut, then you should mow it when it is no higher than about four and a half inches. A reel mower that is made for cutting at three inches can easily handle that. If you are cutting Bermuda or one of the other bent grasses commonly found in the southern states, you are probably setting your mower to mow to 1.5 inches. In that case, you would want to mow before the lawn exceeded 2.25 inches in height.
The scissors mechanism that works best on regularly mowed lawns also explains why people often say that “reel mowers can’t cut weeds”. Actually, a reel mower can cut almost any non-woody weed, as long as it is not too tall. The problem with weeds is that they tend to grow faster than the grass. So the weeds that tower above the lawn do not get caught between the blades and therefore do not get cut. It is not because they are weeds; it is because they are too tall.
The reel mower scissors cut is a superior cut. You can tell what kind of mower was used to mow a lawn by picking a blade of grass. The grass cut with a reel mower has a nice clean cut straight across the blade. A rotary mower rips the grass, leaving ragged brown tips. Many Reel Mowers, Etc. customers have noticed that their lawn looks greener and more even when cut with a reel mower.
Choosing the right reel mower for your lawn, and your family, is important. I will address that subject in other blogs, or you may call me toll free, M-F 8-4 PST at 888 384-1033.for personal assistance.