I have no problem edging with my push mower; I just run one wheel in the
flower beds. And since I have no corners, I don't even own one of those
noisy polluting string trimmers.
That is true, but I've read that cutting off more than a third of the
length of the grass blade stresses the grass, which is why well kept
lawns have to be mowed often. Another advantage is that the clippings
don't have to be picked up; they can be left to decompose.
The people who sell push mowers assert that the scissors action of the
mower produces a cleaner cut than a rotary mower, which is supposedly
better for the grass. I wonder what they would say about a scythe,
which appears to cut (or tear, as they would say) in the same manner as
a rotary mower, but slower?
We used to have our family reunions at the farm of one of my great
uncles, and he always brought out a scythe to demonstrate the ways of
his youth, but it was not practical for his lawn (farmers don't have a
lot of free time for hobbies), so the single day demonstration was the
only time he actually used it.
For someone with a lot of time who enjoys it, a scythe is not a bad
thing. It's sort of like golf, without greens fees, and you don't lose
any balls, I would hope.
He very likely had a scythe with an American-style blade, which is too
hard a steel (and stamped) to keep sharp enough constantly.
The softer steel hammered European-style blades peen and sharpen easily,
and for short grass you need an absurdly thin and sharp edge.
I sharpen every 10-30 strokes, not that it slows you down, for that rest
period is known to be coming up, and you can work harder in the meantime.
Sharpening takes about 15 seconds. It's a regular rhythm.
For cutting brush, you'd peen a much thicker edge than for lawn grass,
and sharpness is only necessary if you want to reduce the effort at some
point, rather than to get it to cut at all.
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