My Little Lawn Mower

I was amused recently to see a manual reel lawnmower on Facebook with an invitation to repost if you ever used one of them. The suggestion was these were antiques not used today. Au contraire, they are used today a lot and I’ve had one for a number of years.

There are a number of manufacturers. Mine is a Scotts. I’ve posted a photo of it here.IMG_0311

These mowers have a number of advantages. They cut the grass (when they are sharp) more cleanly than a power mower which tends to pull on the grass and chops it. This is better for the grass. Reel mowers are used on golf courses and baseball fields because they cut the grass better.

They are so quiet. I can cut the grass any time of the day or night without bothering the neighbors. (No, I do not cut the grass at night, but I suppose I could.) The reel mower makes a gentle snipping sound that is soothing.

Reel mowers create no pollution. No fumes.

Maintenance is easy. Once a year I sharpen the blades. I tighten nuts and inspect it for any problem. No gas, no spark plugs, no oil to drain and refill. No hazardous waste to dispose of. No carburetor to clean.

They are cheaper. You can get a good one for $120. They last forever which power mowers do not.

They require more effort, but that gives you exercise. They are much safer, you could not cut off your foot with one and since they only operate when you are pushing them they are very safe.

The do not throw rocks and other objects at supersonic speed like power mowers do.

There are some disadvantages. In the spring they do not cut that first wet and thick grass very well. It takes a lot of work. Sometimes I borrow a power mower for that first cutting if I have let it grow too long. But the rest of the season the reel mower is great.

There is no need to bag clippings. On the one hand this is a problem because composting really benefits from those green clippings. But since it returns the cut grass to the lawn it feeds the lawn and makes it healthier.

If your lawn is large (over 8000 square feet) the reel mower may not be practical. If your lawn is very bumpy it wont work well. I have a very small lawn and it is very flat so those are not problems.

I like my reel mower and as long as I have a small lawn I’d never go back to fume belching and noisy gas engines.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy


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