Push Mowers

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Lately I've been seeing lots of ads for old fashioned 'push mowers' - light weight, 16". I have an average sized yard, sloped in several places and was wondering just how good and helpful a push mower would be. Does anyone have any comments about these mowers? TIA
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You will kill yourself trying to mow with that in the heat of summer. If you had a postage sized lot with a tiny lawn it would be excellent. We bought a rechargeable, electric mower. We can mow two times with one charge and it is quiet, gives off no emissions and mulches and works beautifully. Draw back is the price...they can be expensive.
Victoria
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exercise is good for you. when i had a mere 2 acres of lawn i used a pushmower (it was a very gentle slope). this house has 3 acres of lawn, with some steep hills, so we use the JD 52" mower on most of it & the push mower for detailing. one thing i'd do before getting a push mower is find someone who knows how to sharpen one or someone to teach you how to. they aren't much fun to use when dull, & they are a bit trickier to sharpen than power mower blades. lee <my push mower is 22" BTW)
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Most people in excellent health would get heat stroke mowing three acres of lawn with a push by hand mower. Also, I doubt acreage has anything near as lush a turf grass as a common sized lawn. I could never get a push mower to go through my St. Augustine. It's a very thick, wide bladed turf and when fully hydrated would kill me dead if I tried to mow it all with a push mower. I would say I have about a thousand square feet of turf on my half acre lot.
Of course this is my opinion.
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It all depends on the type of grass. A push mower goes very easily through blue grass, fescue, bent grass and other northern soft blade grasses. However, as someone who has a large pine tree on his lot, I find it annoying to have to stop every other pass to pull a bit of pine-cone out of the blades before I can move on. However, I LOVE the quietness of a push mower. It's such a gently, true summer sound - unlike the jet-engine-taking-off quality of some of the bigger gas mowers. It takes me 10 minutes to do my postage-stamp size front yard, even pulling bits of pine-cones out of the blades, with no extra time to start it up, to deal with spark -plugs, or to make sure there are no drips before I store it in the garage, etc.


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enigma wrote:

Who in their right mind would have 2 or 3 acres of lawn?
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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i have 62 acres. approximately 2-3 acres is "lawn", that includes the areas where we grow blueberries & fruit trees. the house is set about 200' back from the road, so there's a large expanse of lawn out front. i'm very slowly planting shrubby things out front, but since we're a working farm pretty landscaping isn't a top priority. we do also usually have to mow the 10 acres of pasture at least once/year. that's real fun. lee
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Travis wrote:

anybody with an orchard of at least that size. But then again, that depends on what you'd call lawn.
<g>
Maren (not dropping by this newsgroup too often, but some of the people in this thread I've come across in other ones)
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I've used one. I find them very quick, easy to manoeuvre on slopes and fiddly bits, and light to use, though not everyone has the stamina to keep smoothly walking and pushing, so some people do a push forward (cutting) , pull back (which also cuts), another step, push, pulL. There's virtually nothing to go wrong and servicing is just a matter of getting the blades sharpened once a year, so they last a very long time (decades).
Geoffrey Dutton (UK gardener, poet, author of gardening books) has a fabulous large hillside-and-gorge garden (10 +acres), partly woodland with mown grassy paths and open clearings, many sloping. He keeps several of those little old mowers dotted about in tiny hidden sheds at different levels, and doesn't use any others.
Janet.
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JC wrote:

Although I'm not overly fond of grass, I have some. I used a push mower for a while. Now I use a cordless electric mower. I liked the push mower well enough -- no pollution, quiet, good exercise for me.
The reason that I stopped using the push mower was that I simply could not get the cutting height I needed to avoid scalping my grass. It matters what species of grass you're growing. I have tall fescue, which wants to be mowed about 3" high. I could not increase the clearance of my push mower higher than about 1 1/2".
I looked into buying another, taller push mower, or mounting larger wheels on the mower I had, or even machining some new holes in the frame of the push mower in an attempt to lower the wheels. Eventually I gave up.
Push mowers are the preferred tool among people who maintain the fussiest of lawns -- i.e., bentgrass. If you don't have bentgrass, you might have a hard time finding a push mower that is right for your lawn.
Good luck!
(ObGardenLocationInfo: San Jose, California; USDA Zone 9; Sunset Zone 16)
-- Rainforest laid low. "Wake up and smell the ozone," Says man with chainsaw. John J. Ladasky Jr., Ph.D.
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what brand and model?
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On Tue, 10 May 2005 10:41:34 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net opined:

I use one also and it's a Black and Decker. I don't know the model, but we are extremely satisfied with its performance. It mows at 4" in height if we want it to, it is near silent, turns on with one flip of the lever, mulches perfectly well, has bag as well need be, and mows our turf area twice on one charge. I'm guessing, but we have about 2,000 square feet of grass, but most likely less.
V
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How heavy is it?
Could you easily pick it up and set it in trunk of car if needing to transport is someplace?
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On Tue, 10 May 2005 13:52:29 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net opined:

I'd say an average person with a good back could easily do it. I cannot do it because of my physical limitations, but certainly my husband can lift it, easily. I have mowed with it and can tell you it is not heavier than a conventional gas mower, and maybe weighs a bit less.
Victoria
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I still have my rotary, but I've been using a push mower for about 4 years now. I got the Lee Valley 20 inch model, which is well made and they also have a sharpening kit. My sole complaint is that the handle feels flimsy, but everything made now has light tube handles that don't seem strong. I think a 16 inch mower would be too small. I spend less time and money on mowing with the push mower, since I don't have to be filling the gas tank, checking the oil, starting the motor, etc.
Advantages of the push mower are: 1. The cutting action is superior. My mostly bluegrass lawn looks much better since I have switched to the reel mower. I have no experience with other types of grasses. 2. Its virtually impossible to scalp the grass with a reel type. My rotary would occasionally draw dirt in some of the rougher areas. 3. It is the easiest mower to push that I have ever had (I resisted getting one for a while because of childhood memories of a much heavier mower). It is quite light and easier to push than my mother's electric or my rotary. 4. It never needs gas or plugs or recarburation. I think it is the only non-polluting mower available. I know some say the electric motors are non-polluting, but the electricity they use is, in most cases, generated by some polluting plant. 5. It takes little storage space. I can hang mine on the wall. 6. It handles a lumpy yard better than my rotary does. The blade stays fairly level and it doesn't chop of the tops of the bumps as my rotary did. 7. Since it is not powered, it is safer. There is a thread here about someone who wants to mow a 45 degree slope and is apparently unconcerned that the mower could overturn and mow him!
Disadvantages are: 1. It has no vacuum effect, so its no good for mulching grass or leaves. In fact, I bought the optional catcher bag with mine, but it didn't work well so now I leave it off and let the clippings fall in place and decompose. 2. It absolutely won't handle tall grass. One spring we went on vacation for a few weeks and the lowlife I had hired to mow my lawn didn't. When we got back the grass was quite tall and I had to break out the rotary to chop it down. With a reel mower you have to mow fairly frequently, which of course is better for the grass. 3. If you have a lot of debris in your yard, such as sticks or stones, the reel will jam easily. I'm not sure this is a disadvantage. I think I would rather have the reel jam, than have a rotary propel the debris in my direction, or anyone's direction.
JC wrote:

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The reason I'm thinking abt getting a manual push mower is that the cemetery where both my parents are buried is not kept so well.
I'm looking for a lightweight device I can put in the truck of a compact car and take to the cemetery and cut the grass with
I tried putting my gas rotary mower in the trunk and its too dang hard on my back
I only need to cut an area abt 15 foot by 15 foot at the cemetery
Push mower best for this?
Will it be lightweight and fit in car trunk well?
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Look at their site:
http://www.leevalley.com
Search for mowers. They have a 14 inch model that weighs 19 pounds and an 18 inch model (I thought it was 20) that weighs 24 pounds, so either is fairly easy to lift.
Depending on your trunk, you might have to remove the handle. On mine there are four carriage bolts holding the upper handle to the lower, but I think it is not really designed for repeated removal the way my rotary is; from the picture at their site, I can't see how to remove the handle on the smaller model.
snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

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I don't "think" that will be as much of a problem as just the weight of picking a unit up and setting it in trunk
IOW....I'm more interested in something lightweight
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote in

If you have a home center (Hippo Depot, Lowes) in your area, they might have one on display (they do around here), that you can try yourself. I *think* mine is 30-35 lbs and I don't have any problems carrying mine through the garage. Should fit easily in a trunk, if not, you can remove the handle entirely by prying off two clips or just unbolt the midsection (of the handle). I don't know about the smaller ones (16") that may be more suitable for your application. For some reason I think they may cut tall grass better.
Depending on how much of the area is actually grass, a string trimmer might be better, although I don't know if using in string trimmer in a cemetary is very respectful ... better than using a scythe while wearing a dark hooded robe and various Halloween accoutrements, I guess.
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