New Homeowner needs advice: Lawnmower for Bermuda grass

Hello All:
Just moved into a house after living in an apartment all my life. The lawn is Bermuda and the total yard is about 4000 sq. ft. It is time to purchase a lawnmover but the types/models options are sooooooo confusing. I have never used a lawnmower before.
The neighbor suggested not buying a Rotary mower (because of the Bermuda grass) but instead going for a reel mower or a high end rotary mower (not as good though in comparison). I have also been told that Rotary mowers are the more popular ones used by homeowners. I don't want to get a riding mower because of lack of storage space.
I have narrowed it down to 2 new Year 2005 self-propelled models: the Honda HRX and the Toro SR4 20056 (Super Recycler). Both models will bag, mulch, and side discharge, have a 6.5HP engine and the usual features such as
Personally I don't mind paying a little more upfront for the machine but would like it to be sure I get the best one that offers lowest maintenance in the long run. Any advice on: 1) reel vs. rotary mowers, and 2) deciding between these two models listed above for Bermuda lawn will be appreciated.
Thanks in Advance
Neil
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On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 19:12:33 -0500, Neil wrote:

Good day Neil. I'd doubt that the Bermuda grass will care what it's mowed by. I say 'doubt' because I don't deal with warm weather grass. Most all types of grass will look better if mowed with a reel mower, but reel mowers have some major draw backs imho.
The mower of Zen. This is what I call reel mowers. The soft clipping sounds, the clippings flying through the air... ahhh, makes ya like mowing. Then your Zen get's crushed by a pine cone, stick, pebble..etc. Hopefully you'll only need to remove the offending object, but chances are you'll be sharpening your blade. Worst case you bent the drum (reel).
Other draw backs of the reel mower are the fact that they work best on a flat lawn. Lawns with lumps or holes really gum up things real quick. The other issue is that you have to stay on top of the mowing. If you let the lawn get long, mowing is a real time consuming pain.
With all that said, 4,000 sq ft isn't too bad to cut with a reel mower... if that would be something you like to do for enjoyment. Otherwise I would suggest that you look in to a powered mower. A powered reel mower can be very cost prohibitive. So on to the rotary mowers.
Toro SR4 This is a rather good machine, but it's not a real toro. I know, I know... toro sells it, toro's name is on it... but at the end of the day it's a lawnboy painted red. Yes I know, lawnboy is owned by toro.. yadda, yadda. The brigs engine is just a bit better than a Tecumsum, which I personaly can't stand. This mower is just a collection of parts made from other manufacturers and assembled by toro. With all that said... at least it's not a mdt.
Honda HRX I personally love these mowers. I know of many commercial lawn jockeys who use these in the field. I was going to buy the HRX217HXA , but it doesn't have a long enough testing period for my liking and the 90 commercial warranty just doesn't do it. I went with the HRC215SXA instead. The honda motor just can't be beat, they multch really well and they have to be just about the best bagging mowers on the market.
Good luck.
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Neil wrote:

Neil,
Two words. Lawn_service.
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G Henslee wrote:

A lawn service for a measly 4000 sq. ft.? Writing out the check to a lawn service is almost as much work as mowing 4000 sq. ft.
My neighbor uses a lawn service for his 8000 sq ft yard. The lawn guy spends less than a half-hour, including trimming the corners, and a little edging. What he does do is he cuts (what's left of) the lawn way too short, and applies way too much fertilizer. This year the first day of spring hasn't even gotten here yet, and he's already turned 1/3 of my neighbor's lawn brown, and 1/3 is down to bare dirt again.
So soon he'll come out for the annual re-seeding. My neighbor will spend more time moving the sprinkler around for the constant watering than he would have spent mowing the lawn. It'll green-up for the end of spring, and then, thanks to the crew-cut, that will be the first lawn on the block to go brown for the summer again. Which means the lawn guy will be able to get my neighbor to pay for another autumn lawn renovation.
In the end, my neighbor spends a lot of time and money watering his yard, in addition to the money he spends on the lawn service, and he has the worst lawn on the block. (Second place goes to the folks who pay for the chemical company to come out and spray chemicals on their lawn.) The lawn service's interest is in always having something more they can charge for. Lawn services are self-sustaining, and not in the best interest of the home owner.
Meanwhile those of us who spend 1/2 hour behind our mowers ultimately spend less time, and much less money on our yards. If they were only 4000 sq. ft., the savings by doing it ourselves would be even greater.
So to the suggestion of a lawn service for a 4000 sq. ft. lawn, I'd have to offer my two words: Get Real.
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Warren H.

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Show me a service company that doesn't use that business plan, brainiak.

Oh bullshit, put down your broad paint brush. I've owned a planned chemical lawncare service for 28 years, and my cancellation rate due to customer dissatisfaction is less than two percent. How is that possible if I'm not doing a great job at a fair price.
There's bad apples in -any- business. What do you do for a living?
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A NO response from the lawncare company hater is noted.
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wrote:
Depends on the service and the person running it. I trained the guy mowing my yard (due to allergies and asthma, I can't do it myself). When he started, he cut way too short because that's the way he'd been told by his dad. By the end of the summer, he began to see what I was talking about. Now, he only cuts peoples lawns short if they demand it. Otherwise, he cuts them at 2 1/2 to 3 inches.
I've also trained him to seed in the fall (WNC, Z7), weed in the spring, etc, etc.
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Warren, chill.
It's like this, and I realize some folks don't see it this way, so your YMMV. There are some who feel they have better, let me say "other" things to do, rather than certain menial tasks that can be had for minimum or less wages.
There are some who, as I said, don't look at it that way and love to do these things themselves even if it means they spend little or no time doing anything else in life, just as there are those who spend their time and money writing checks to doctors and druggists for high blood pressure problems and meds... :o)
To each his own. Fore!
Warren jumped up on a soapbox and declared:

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I've got both. With a properly leveled and smoothed (no holes, no bumps) yard, the difference between the quality of cut with a reel and a rotary mower is minimized. With that small of a yard, I'd be tempted to mow with a manual reel mower, which can be purchased for $100 or so. Sharpen it once a year and you're good to go unless you like to run over rocks and sticks. It doesn't need gas or oil and it'll never refuse to start or need a tuneup. The downside is that you'll need to mow more often, because manual reel mowers simply can't deal with tall grass.
If you don't want to mow every 4 days, get a rotary mower. I like Honda, because they *always* start easily and seem to be as reliable as a hammer.

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Well Neil, it looks like the jury is back: Reels are the Way To Go.
Now have I got an offer for you.....
How about a Ransomes Sportcutter 7? I'll give you a "reel" fair deal on it, it'll get your mowing done in a jiffy! 15, yes FIFTEEN foot cutting width, seven hydraulic motors spinning the reels powered from a 3-impeller PTO pump and hydraulic control of the wings so you can scoot around those "tight" spots. I suppose if you really need it I'll sell you the tractor it was mounted on, but then I have to get a new tractor.....
And while that's a kind of a joke for his 4000', if it suits YOU reader then drop me a line...

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I have an unpowered reel mower and I'm real happy with it. It is as easy to push as a rotary; easier in fact as it is lighter. It starts with no pulls, every time. It is non-polluting and does an excellent job of cutting, far better on my lumpy lawn that the scalping rotary it replaced. A valid criticism is that it does not handle tall grass well, so I have to mow fairly often, but I need the exercise anyway. I actually spend less time on lawn care with it, because I don't have to be filling a gas tank, checking oil, starting, etc., and the actual mowing time is the same (although now I sometimes cross-cut for that special look).
One feature I like is that it takes up no floor space in my garage; I hang it on the wall.
Neil wrote:

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