Mower Basics

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Regardless of the size of house, the cost, or even the location, almost all homeowners in Florida have one thing in common - the desire to improve their property by landscaping. Landscaping is one of the greatest ways of turning a house into a home and of turning and investment into profit. However, understanding the need to landscape does not automatically impart the knowledge to do so.
Understanding a few key concepts from the onset will help you as you decide your approach, not only to landscaping but to the ongoing task of lawn and garden maintenance. Since your lawn is the very foundation of your landscape, it is important to understand the fundamentals of lawn care. No aspect of lawn care is more important than the routine task of lawn mowing.


Mowers are pretty much the front line of lawn maintenance. Even if you have very little experience with lawn and garden care, chances are you have at least mowed a lawn or two in your life. There are two types of lawn mower, the rotary and the reel.

Rotary Mowers

Rotary mowers are the type of mower familiar to most people. Rotary mowers can be either gasoline or electrically powered. Of the two, gasoline powered mowers are by far the most common. The rotary mower classification of mowers encompasses push-style mowers, self-propelled mowers and riding lawn mowers.

Rotary mowers operate by means of a horizontal blade which is spun by the mower's engine. The grass cut by the blades is then either ejected away from the mower by means of a chute, or is injected into a bag where it is collected for use as mulch. This later type of mower is referred to as a "mulcher" and uses a special mulching blade.

Reel Mowers

Reel mowers are much less common than rotary mowers, though the small push type of reel mower was used predominantly in the past before the advent of the rotary mower. Though now fallen out of common use, they are still manufactured and are ideal for smaller areas. Pull behind reel mowers are still commonly used in the maintenance of very large pieces of land.

Since they require no gas or electricity, they are an effective option for those wishing to conserve fuel or minimize cost in lawn care. Reel mowers operate strictly by mechanical force exerted by the mower. A series of blades in a cylindrical pattern are propelled by force by the mower. As the mower pushes, the cylinder of blades turns, chopping the grass in a manner similar to a thresher.

This style of mower continues to be in use because it is a completely environmentally friendly means of mowing. However, users of reel mowers must take care not to allow their grass to grow too high as the energy needed to push a reel mower increases exponentially with the height of the grass. Nevertheless, reel mowers continue to provide a fuel-efficient method of lawn maintenance for those willing to expend a bit of extra personal energy in keeping their lawns trimmed.