Lawnmowers, as their name suggests, are used to make longer grass short. These machines generally use one or more rotating blades that cut the surface of your lawn to an even height.
Users can adjust the height of the grass in most situations, so you could even out your lawn to a desired level. In some models, this might be fixed by the design, especially if you’re using a push mower that doesn’t have any external power source.
In general, people use lawnmowers to simply shave their lawns to an even height. Many jurisdictions have specific laws limiting the height of one’s lawn, which means they’re required to do so in order to avoid getting a ticket.
There are a number of specialty uses of lawnmowers outside of the residential market. Most notably, they’re used by landscapers to cut decorative designs into grass that can then be enjoyed from above.
If you’ve ever seen a flower clock or one of those big topiary designs, then you’ve probably seen this effect. They’re also used by landscaping companies to cut lawns commercially for clients.
Most commercial landscaping services use riding mowers, especially if they have to chop down grass on relatively large plots of land. Farmers have long used them as well, since they can cut down plots of grass and make fields clean for planting.
While these uses are somewhat on the way out due to a rediscovery of traditional farming methods and the phased-in use of goats and other animals to keep grass short, they’re still major uses of lawnmowers. Many riding mowers can even double as tractors.
Some have enough towing power to pull trailers while others have the ability to swap out their attachments. Those who are looking for something that can perform a wider variety of tasks may be more interested in looking at a garden tractor, however.
Golf courses use specialized precision lawnmowers to cut the greens down to an exacting height. This enables golfers to putt the ball comfortably without running into any strong divots or bumps.
Gardeners will also use lawnmowers to cut down weeds. If you have an entire lot filled with weed growth, then it’s reasonable to simply cut it down.
This is usually within the design specifications of most mowers anyway, seeing as there are a large number of weeds in most patches of grass. Lawns that are filled with dandelions or other troublesome plants can usually be made even again simply by cutting these down.
Since lawnmowers even out the grass, they can also be seen as a way of dealing with pests like ticks that might grow in taller fields.
How Does the Lawn Mower Work?
Push lawnmowers use an electric or gas-powered motor to rotate a blade. When this blade comes into contact with the grass underneath it, the tops are sheered off until the grass is rendered an even height.
Riding mowers use the same concept, albeit the motor is also tasked with propelling all four wheels in other to provide a degree of locomotion. In traditional non-powered mowers, simply pushing the mower back and forth is enough to spin the blades.
Once the grass gets cut, the clippings are normally taken up into a bag and have to be removed later on. A more environmentally-friendly and less labor-intensive manner of dealing with them is to simply have the mower mulch them right back into the ground.
Is a Lawn Mower Necessary?
Lawnmowers are somewhat necessary for those who live on grassed lots. Assuming that you want to keep your lawn an even height and live somewhere that you can’t simply allow it to grow, a lawnmower is normally a necessity.
If you don’t have pest problems in your area, then you might be able to classify your lawn as a nature preserve and not have to mow it. Another option is to use a traditional tool like a scythe or sickle to cut the lawn by hand.
What is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Lawn Mower?
During the summer season might be the best time to buy a mower, but it depends on where you live. It used to be that many hardware stores would have deep discounts right before fall started, but many of them now like to have sales during the spring and summer to attract customers who need to replace a lawnmower that recently failed.
Almost any time of the year is good to buy used lawnmowers, though, since individual people don’t keep to any schedule.
How Much Horsepower is in a Lawn Mower?
Smaller push mowers might have engines that are somewhere around ½-3HP while some larger riding ones will have 25-30HP motors. Full-sized garden tractors can have 50HP motors and will come with other attachments besides just grass-cutting blades.
Self-propelled lawnmowers need to move their wheels while also spinning the blade, so they normally have around 5-7HP if not a little more.
Why Are Lawn Mowers So Expensive?
Over the years, lawnmowers have gotten very techie. Advanced safety systems and new motor technologies have cost a lot to develop.
Modern drive systems, powertrains and mower deck engagement equipment have cost even more to design and test. Unfortunately, many of those costs have been passed on from the manufacturer straight to the consumer.
Advertising and market research has also become major sources of expenses for manufacturers, and these to have been passed onto consumers looking to buy a mower.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Self Propelled Lawn Mower?
Look for a sturdy unit that includes a lever to adjust the height of the cutting blade. Self-propelled lawnmowers should normally have motors that are around 5-7HP, though you might want a little extra strength if you’re going to be cutting any grass that’s particularly long or thick.
Take a look at the warranty as well. Since self-propelled lawnmowers are more mechanically complicated than other models, they might end up needing a bit more maintenance over their lifetimes.