Down Garden Services

7 Top Lawncare Secrets
How to have a healthy
green lawn even if
you know nothing
about lawn care.


Preparation  Laying Turf  Seed and Sowing   Lawn Maintenance  Weeds and Pests

When choosing a lawnmower the size of the plot and the quality of finish required are two important factors to consider. A small patch near to the house which just needs to be kept neat will only require the smallest electric mower. A larger area extending further will need a petrol driven machine. If the same plot is laid out in luxury grass, has an even surface and the keeper requires a bowling-green finish, then a traditional cylinder mower is the machine of choice.

Rotary Mower

A rotary mower has a blade mounted horizontally which is spun by the motor. They can be powered by electricity or by a petrol engine and are mounted on a number of deck types. Most run on wheels, but some have a roller which replaces the rear wheels - the roller leaves the classic striped effect. Larger petrol-engined models have a link which drives the wheels or the roller and some have a battery-powered starter. For very large lawns a ride-on mower with a wide cutting swathe will be needed, most have a rotary blade and sometimes two mounted side-by-side.
Most of the rotary models have a grass collecting system, but there are some which have a mulching deck. The cuttings are deflected from the chute which directs the cuttings into a collector and forced downwards into the sward where they decompose. This means that the lawn requires less fertilizer and there are no cuttings to be taken away. More frequent mowing is necessary so this method of cutting may not suit if time is at a premium. Because the soft cuttings rot away they do not contribute much to the problem of thatch (see below), which is mainly grass stems that have died back and arise to a similar extent in traditionally cut grass.
Another type has a deck which hovers on a cushion of air created by the spinning blade. Earlier models did not collect the grass, but most now do so. Petrol-engined machines use a two-stroke motor as these mowers are recommended for cutting steeper slopes and the engine is lubricated by the fuel mix, not from a sump as in four-stroke models.

The latest development in mowers is a rechargable, robotic machine with sensors which guide it around, it can keep a small lawn trimmed without human intervention - in theory anyway. It uses a rotary blade and mulches the cuttings.

Cylinder Mower

Cylinder mowers were the first type to be developed and the idea came from the woolen industry as a similar mechanism was used to finish the woven cloth. The blades are mounted on a cylinder in a spiral fashion and cut against another fixed horizontal blade in a scissor action. This arrangement leaves a better quality of finish, but is unable to cope with longer grass so has to be used more frequently than the rotary type. There are small push machines, electric and petrol-engined models. They all have a roller at the rear and the latter machines have a drive link to this roller. Relative to the width of blades, cylinder mowers are more expensive than rotary models due to their more complex construction.

Whatever the lawnmower it is important to ensure that the blades are sharp, otherwise the cut grass will have a frayed edge which will leave a white sheen over the surface, although some of the cheaper electric rotary models will always give this result as they use a plastic flail to do the cutting. With petrol driven models the engine should be regularly serviced and the lubricating oil-level checked every few weeks - some engines burn off a little of the oil during use.

Grass  Preparation  Turf   Seed and Sowing  Weeds and Pests

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