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 Post subject: Why use a Reel Mower?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:15 pm
Posts: 6
Location: McKinney, TX
I saw a post from the moderator suggesting that they use a Reel mower for their lawn. Well, that piqued my interest and I decided to google "Reel Mower" as I had no idea what one was.

Much to my surprise, I found out that a reel mower is a mower that looks like one out of the 50's. That said, why would one want to use a Reel mower as opposed to one I have now (A nice Honda from home depot). I mean, what positives does one of these archaic devices have over todays modern mowers?

Also, what exactly happens to the grass clippings? Looking at the mower I found through google, there is no bagging system on it, so I was curious what happens with that?

Last question. If I am convinced that this is the way to go and to ditch my Honda, what are some good brands of Reel mowers to look at? Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:06 am
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Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
Pros:
you can hear birds while mowing
never runs out of gas
runs on sweat
no exhaust to breathe
cleaner cut (most golf courses use reel)
contributes to cardiovascular health
you can laugh at your neighbors when they can't start their gas mower

Cons:
Your neighbors will constantly ask if you need a loan
On occation, you will run into a twig that will stop your progress

The grass clippings question is easy. Most people on this forum don't bag. The clippings are doing their job, rotting and contributing to the life of the soil.

They have improved over the years and there are several good ones out there.

Kent

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:15 pm
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Location: McKinney, TX
I would agree with you that the clippings would help naturally fertilize the yard, however, I am concerned about thatch build up, and most importantly for me, the look of the yard.

The sole reason for me switching to a Reel mower over a conventional mower would be because of the superior cut of the reel mower over the conventional. However, if using a reel mower leaves grass clippings visibly all over the yard, doesn't that totally cancel out the superior cut of the grass? I mean, I would think that myself along with the average person would look at and notice the grass clipings first over the superior cut of the grass blade.

Also, can you give me an specific mowers to look at that you know would be good for a St. Augstine yard?

Thanks for your reply and let me know what you think.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:23 pm 
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Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
Thatch is one of the words you hear from those not inclined to use organic techniques. Kinda' like promoting "grub worm treatment." Your yard will die if you don't treat!

From the Dirt Doctor's mouth on thatch:

"You won’t have it in an organic program so let’s get with it. Aerate heavily and apply sugar or dry molasses at 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet and an organic fertilizer. For sure don’t use de-thatching tools on St. Augustine grass."

As far as "the look of the yard" I think if you mow often enough, the clippings just disappear into the grass. That's been my experience. Of course, if you let it get too high you will need to work the clippings into the lawn with a rake, but you should NEVER remove clippings. That's old-school to me. The benefit of clippings can't be over-sold and do not cause thatch.

On brands, I can't specifically recommend one or another. I know that you can do a google search and pull up many fine brands over $100. Maybe someone else can help you there. Mine is a dinosaur but still works pretty good. I now maintain a yard that is too large for a small mower.

Good luck, Kent

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Last edited by kbrew on Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:27 pm 
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Location: Garland, Texas
brig2221,

I have and use both a reel mower (people powered) and a power (gas powered) mulching mower (Toro branded). My turf is a mixture of St. Augusting, Bermuda, Tall Fescue, and weeds :roll: . The reel mower definitely cuts the St. Augustine just fine. Better in fact than the power mower. Close inspection of the leaf blade will show the difference. The power mower "rips/tears" the blade with sheer power, while the reel mower cuts the blade smoothly smiliar to a scissor cut. If, however, you do not mow regularly allowing the grass to grow tall, then the mulching mower may be your better option because the reel mower does leave the clippings on top of the remaining turf. That leaves you the option of either buying a bagging attachmet or raking the grass. You can remedy this by mowing with the appropriate frequency.

Another "con" that is not mentioned is the price of blade maintenance for the reel mower. It is roughly similar to having your power mower maintained yearly. More expensive if you perform your own maintenance (tune-up, oil changes, blade sharpening, etc.).

My mower is from this company http://www.reelin.com/

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:30 pm 
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Location: Garland, Texas
kentobrew wrote:
On brands, I can't specifically recommend one or another. I know that you can do a google search and pull up many fine brands over $100. Maybe someone else can help you there. Mine is a dinosaur but still works pretty good.


What brand is your dinosaur?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:34 pm 
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Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
It's some off-brand that I bought at a gargae sale for $12. Probably came from M Wards or somewhere like that.

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 Post subject: reel mower
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:55 pm 
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Thatch build up is caused by excessive top growth stimulated by high nitrogen. the thach then builds up under the soil in the roots because they are growing faster than they should. healthy layer of thatch should be about 1/2". and also, you can save 30% of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash a year by returning the clippings to the yard. the only time clippings are bad is if your lawn is kept under an inch, the grass gets shaded and crowded out by the clippings and will eventually fade away and thin out. grasscycling does NOT lead to thatch build up, grass clippings are mainly water and will decompose in a few days if they are left fine enough. check peoplepoweredmachines.com for a very good reel mower, both electric and human powered.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 3:05 pm 
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Location: Garland, Texas
So does anyone actually own one of these Brill mowers? They always seemed to be a bit on the expensive side to me...BUT if you NEVER have to sharpen their blades (can I swallow that????) it would pay for itself soon enough.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:23 am 
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:lol: :lol: :lol: kentobrew :lol: :lol: :lol: Neil Sperry - I LOVE it!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Don't get confused. You can get a power reel mower and make just as much noise as with a rotary. From what I read, the better reel mowers have more blades (is it 10 blades?).

If you're mowing St Augustine, I would not spend the money for a reel. Reels really come into their own when you are mowing very short, like at 1 inch or lower. St Aug should be kept above 3 inches. If you set your Honda deck all the way up, you'll be good. When the grass gets tall enough to mow (4 inches), that one inch of clipping will fall into the turf and you'll be hard pressed to find it on your hands and knees.

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 Post subject: Reels
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:47 am
Posts: 9
Location: Burleson,TX
I converted over to reels about 3 years ago, I have a 7 blade push reel and a 10 blade slef propelled. I use the 7 blade to get a general cut (still looks better that any rotary can put down) Then when I want to fine tune the yard for weekends I use the 10 blade. The Self propelling wheen on the back acts like a roller. When I am done it has a half inch cut and stipes when its finished. Usuallly when I mow I get the wird looks folowed by "Havent seen one of those since I was a kid"- Pizza Delivery Guy.
Both of Mine are McLanes. They are pretty much residential/professional mowers. You can find a Scotts version at the local homedepot or lowes. But what I can tell they dont have a good gear ratio. Meaning they are allot harder to push.


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 Post subject: Love my electric mower
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:37 pm 
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My yard is not that big, so a 50 foot power cord works fine.

I considered a manual push mower, but wanted to be able to mulch also.

BTW, had a new neighbor stop by as I was cutting my front yard. He wanted to know how I got my grass looking so good compared to other homes.

Lawncare for Dummies. My favorite. Also, scotts.com offers some good information.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 3:09 pm
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Why not go to your local hardware store or sears and get one to try it out. If you don't find it to offer any advantages over your Honda, take it back.

I have a personal theory that any lawn mower that costs more than $100 new, is a waste. Unless you need it for professional use or for a large lot.
Not only that, I don't know what regular unleaded runs in your neck of the woods, but around here, it's over $2.00 a gallon. Even though it's just a lawnmower, it still adds up.

The last few times I've mowed, the grass has been 12"-14" tall (Bahia) and gets that tall after 2 weeks time this time of year. I mowed it with my Murray that I got at Walmart for $99, set to the lowest setting. You can imagine what kind of clippings I have. It looks like a freshly mowed alfalfa field that literally could have been baled. After 2 days time the clippings were totally gone.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:16 pm 
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Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
jvolstad wrote:
BTW, had a new neighbor stop by as I was cutting my front yard. He wanted to know how I got my grass looking so good compared to other homes.

Lawncare for Dummies. My favorite. Also, scotts.com offers some good information.

No offense, but I wouldn't recommend anything Scotts.com has to offer. One of the worst offenders of the synthetic/chemical pushers. Maybe 2nd only to Bayer. Stick with the advice offered at dirtdoctor.com and you will have compliments on your yard.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:12 am
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Location: Dallas, Texas
Quote:
... I wouldn't recommend anything Scotts.com has to offer...Stick with the advice offered at dirtdoctor.com and you will have compliments on your yard.


I recommend the Scotts drop spreaders advertised on scotts.com. They cheaply and reliably distribute my organic fertilizers.


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