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DISCOVER THE QUIET SIMPLICITY
OF REEL MOWERS

Whether you look forward to getting outside and mowing your lawn everyweek or dread it as a necessary chore may depend not only on yourattitude, but also on your lawn mower.

"People who use gas mowers put up with ear-splitting noise, headache-and nausea-inducing fumes and mechanical problems," says Lars Hundley,owner of Clean Air Gardening. He prefers the serenity and simplicity ofold-fashioned reel mowers. "There is a real element of pleasure to usinga manual mower," he says.

Today's reel mowers are a far cry from the one your grandfather used."Reel mowers are light, quiet, and virtually maintenance-free," notesHundley. The mowers are environmentally friendly, and also better foryour grass. "Rotary mowers tear the grass -- reel mowers cut grass likescissors, leaving a fine spray of clippings as mulch for your yard," heexplains. They do take some effort, but they aren't any harder to pushthan an 80-pound gas mower that isn't self-propelled.

While it does take a bit longer to mow with a manual mower than a powermower, it is a much more pleasant experience. Instead of the roar of amower, you hear the pleasant mechanical sound of the blades, thechirping of birds and buzzing of insects. Instead of the smell of gasexhaust, you have the smell of fresh air and fresh-cut grass.

A manual mower is best suited for 8,000 square feet of grass or less."If you live on a half-acre lot or smaller, then a manual reel mower isa very reasonable choice," says Hundley. "But if you have more grassthan that, then it's going to be too time consuming for the averageperson." Hundley says that if it typically takes someone 45 minutes tomow their lawn with a power mower, they can expect to spend 60 to 70minutes doing the same job with a reel mower.

Hundley shares these tips for getting the best cut with a manual reellawnmower:

1. Walk at a good, steady pace. With a manual reel mower, you are theengine; the mower will tend to bind up and skid if you walk at a snail'space. So get moving at a comfortably quick walking pace and youíll getthe best results.

2. Overlap your rows. This will make the mower a bit easier to pushbecause youíre mowing less grass, and it will also help catch any spotsyou might have missed on the previous row.

3. Experiment with different mowing patterns. Different types of grassand different lawns have different growing patterns. The direction inwhich you mow can make a difference in the quality of the cut.

4. Don't let the grass get too tall. Manual mowers are harder to pushwhen the grass gets too tall, so keep your lawn mowed weekly.

5. Experiment with your cutting height. Once you've looked up your typeof grass and know the recommended cutting range, try different cuttingheights to find which height makes the grass easier to cut and whichheight gives you the best cutting results.

6. Embrace imperfection. Grass is a living organism. It's not carpet. Ifyou miss a few blades of grass and they're sticking up in the yard, moveon. Youíll get them next week.

7. Mow early. This is one of the neatest advantages of having a reelmower. You can get up at the break of dawn and mow, and yoClean Air Gardening sells two brands of reel mowers, Brill and Scotts."We considered dozens of different models before deciding to only sellthese two," says Hundley. "The Brill has the advantages of lighterweight and a longer sharpening interval. The Scotts has the advantagesof a lower cost and higher maximum cutting height. Both do an excellentjob cutting the grass." wonít wakeyour next-door neighbors. Take in the cooler morning temperature, listento the birds, enjoy yourself.


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