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Mowers

The need to shorten the turf grass involves the use of a more or less elaborate machine, the mower. Indeed, manual mowing would not achieve the regularity of surface required for any lawn worthy of the name. A beautiful lawn must be short, regular and always green. If watering allows a regular growth of the grass and avoids its drying out, the mowing ensures the regularity that befits a lawn and prevents the formation of the flowering stalk. It also hinders its reproduction, which makes it necessary to regenerate the lawns periodically by carrying out complementary sowing, or even a total reconstitution, similar to their creation.

The different cutting systems

The helical cutter cylinder is by far the best cutting system. Hand clippers are always equipped.

The helical cutter cylinder is by far the best cutting system. Hand clippers are always equipped.

There are four main mowing systems today:

  • the helicoidal blade cutter cylinder 3,5 or better yet 10 blades
  • the rotating blade
  • mower
  • the rotating filament

The latter system was used until now for mowing finishes (which will be discussed later), but should soon be adapted to real lawn mowers.

The cutting cylinder also equips a number of mowers of the type

The cutting cylinder also equips a number of mowers of the type

The cutting cylinder
It comes in the form of a series of helicoidal blades that cut the grass very clearly by blocking it against an anvil (counterblade). This is by far the best cutting system, which, thanks to its precision, ensures immediate regrowth without intermediate yellowing. Collecting grass is however rarely possible with this type of machine, which implies a very regular mowing (every three days) during the growing season (May-June). The cut grass is then very thin, which makes it practically invisible. It is also an excellent green manure (but it must be ensured that its fermentation does not favor cryptogamic diseases).

Most amateur lawnmowers are equipped with a rotating blade protected by crankcase.

Most amateur lawnmowers are equipped with a rotating blade protected by crankcase.

The rotating blade
The rotating blade is the most widely used cutting system in continental Europe; it is also the most basic. A beveled blade at its ends, mounted parallel to the ground and driven by a motor, cuts the grass because of its speed more than the edge of its bevel.
The cutting is powerful (allowing a high grass mowing), but its quality is lower because the blades of grass are less well sliced ​​than with a cutting cylinder and, therefore, frayed, hence a risk yellowing between mowing and regrowth. Machines equipped with this system can almost all be equipped with cut grass collection equipment.

The operation of the cutter bar of a mower is comparable to that of a barber trimmer.

The operation of the cutter bar of a mower is comparable to that of a barber trimmer.

Mower
The mower represents the most basic and traditional mechanical means for cutting grass. It is not actually a mowing tool, but rather a way of cutting grass, such as a lawn meadow, when its height may turn it into a field of hay grass. Its operating system is based on the principle of the cutter bar used most commonly in agriculture for mowing the grass of the field, the mower consisting of a number of pointed fingers slightly bent upwards and a blade in saw teeth which, by a very fast transverse movement, cuts the grass caught between the fingers, in the same way that a hairdresser mower cuts the hair.

A nylon filament is a cutting system used on finishing machines.

A nylon filament is a cutting system used on finishing machines.

Rotating filament
Rotating filament is the latest in cutting systems. It is usually a nylon wire rotated by a motor and, because of its speed, cuts the grass parallel to the ground. This cut, we imagine, is even less precise than the systems mentioned above. The rotary filament has so far only equipped lightweight machines consisting of a handle and a small motor, to access where the mower could not go (along a wall, around a tree, a pole, etc.); the appearance of models with high-power engines and high efficiency (up to 50 cm wide) classify them as complementary mowers. Several manufacturers have also studied the adaptation of this principle to real lawn mowers, because the nylon filament has the advantage of not being damaged like a blade when it encounters an obstacle (stone, small stump, etc.): indeed its very principle being to wear, its replacement is done manually or automatically from a reserve included in the device.

The different types of machines

This machine uses a nylon thread which cuts the grass because of its very fast rotation. The model shown is equipped with a gasoline engine.

This machine uses a nylon thread which cuts the grass because of its very fast rotation. The model shown is equipped with a gasoline engine.

The evoked cutting systems can be moved in different ways, both as regards the actual cutting as the progression (traction or propulsion) of the machine.
This is how we will find lawnmowers:

  • by hand, which is pushed in front of you, whose cutting system is the cylinder with helical blade
  • electric motor (sector or battery) with power between 800 and 1500 watts using rotary and filament blade systems
  • with thermal engine (2-stroke and 4-stroke), which are associated with the rotary blade, helical blade, cutter bar and, recently, filament (some machines are already operating in the US, they require of course a very fine turf).

Which lawnmower to choose?

Everything that has just been written is puzzling to the amateur gardener who for the first time decides to create or maintain a lawn. The ideal machine is the one that best fits the type of grass, the surface and terrain, the requirements and possibilities (time) of the gardener.
In general, we can consider that a fine turf corresponds to a very neat lawn deserving a high quality cut; in this case, only the mowing cutter can be suitable.
The area Terrain will be critical in your choice of mower power source.
The hand mower can only be retained if your lawn is very small (less than 200 m2). Choosing a lawn mower

Maximum area200 m²400 m²600m²800m²1000m²
Nature of the grassGrassGrassGrassGrassGrass and grass
Type of engine-ElectricElectricElectricThermal 2 or 4 times
Power500W800W1200W to 1500W3 HP (about 2237W)
Cutting memberCylinderRotary bladeRotary bladeRotary bladeRotary blade
Cutting width30cm to 40cm30cm to 40cm30cm to 40cm30cm to 45cm45cm
displacementManualManualManualManualManual
Start-upLight switchLight switchLight switchLauncher
Maximum area1500 m²2,000 m²5,000m²
(0,5ha)
10.000
(1ha)
20,000m²
(2ha)
Nature of the grassGrass and grassGrass and grassGrass and grassGrass or grassGrass
Type of engineThermal 2 or 4 timesThermal 4 timesThermal 4 timesThermal 4 timesThermal 4 times
Power4VC5CV to 6CV6CV to 7CV8CV to 11CV
Cutting memberRotary bladeRotary blade
or cylindrical
Rotary blade (s)Rotary blade (s)Several cylinders
Cutting width50cm50cm to 60cm60cm to 70cm70cm to 100cm120cm to 140cm
displacementManualautotractéautotracté
autoporté
autotracté
autoporté
autotracté
autoporté
Start-upLauncher or SwitchLauncher or SwitchLauncher or SwitchLight switchLauncher

The electric mower can only be used for small lawns (here, cutting width: 0.36 m).

The electric mower can only be used for small lawns (here, cutting width: 0.36 m).

You have better choose a lawn mower electric motor if your pitch is between 200 m2 and 600 m2 and that the farthest mowing area is less than 50 m from the feeding point (unless taking a battery model).

There are many models of thermal engine mowers to push. They are suitable for medium-sized, flat terrain.

There are many models of thermal engine mowers to push. They are suitable for medium-sized, flat terrain.

From 600 m2, choose a lawn mower thermal motor, to push up to 1,000 m2, propelled or self-propelled up to 2,000 m2, Lawn (mini tractor) beyond.
For mowers other than on-board lawn mowers, the choice between 2 times (mixing) and 4 times (gasoline) is not just a matter of taste. The first are less noisy, but more polluting, and are suitable for sloping terrain, 4-stroke engines losing oil in the crankcase as the inclination increases. For steep and particularly uneven terrain, choose a 2-stroke or electric air-powered lawn mower.

Mowers: mowing

Finally, for very large areas, we will choose, if the condition of the grass and the terrain allows, a mower with helical blades with high efficiency (up to 1.50 m wide) and 4-stroke engine high power or a micro-engine diesel engine, always more economical than gasoline engines, but infinitely more expensive to buy. Both solutions can only be considered if you have between 5 000 and 10 000 m2 (1 ha) of mowing grass, which is rarely the case.
The time that you have for mowing a lawn is also an important factor in choosing between the different types of machines mentioned. It goes without saying that a small machine (cutting width of about 40 cm), low power (3 hp or less), not self-propelled will not be suitable for a large lawn: mowing would then require a lot of time and physical effort. So here, obviously, the budget that you can spend on the purchase of mowing equipment, the mower price range easily ranging from 1 to 30 (between a hand mower and a high-end lawn tractor).

(photos / visuals: © DIY PROD, except special mention)

On the same topic

  • DIY tips
    • Lawn mowers: selection criteria

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