Cooler weather and moister conditions are keeping the lawn happily lush and still growing. I figure that we’ll need to do one or two more mowings before the season ends – that is, unless you count yourself a member of the anti-lawn movement.
The vendetta against lawns is twofold. First, those lawn areas could be used for growing food. “Food not lawns” is the calling cry (and the website, www.foodnotlawns.com) for those who have repurposed their front and/or back yards for food production. And second, lawns often are ecological disasters – especially those maintained lush and weed-free no matter what the summer weather.
But even a lackadaisical lawn needs regular mowing, or it becomes something other than lawn. One hour of mowing with a gasoline-powered mower spews as much fumes into the air as does driving a couple of hundred miles.
I choose a middle ground, and enjoy the appearance, the convenience and feel of some well-placed turf. Many years ago I gave over some of that lawn to growing all our vegetables and much of our fruits.
My original property of three-quarters of an acre has grown to almost two-and-a-half acres; much of it was once regularly mowed (by previous owners). I originally maintained it with a scythe, but have since acquired a tractor for giving most of the fields a once-a-year haircut, with more frequent cutting around orchard and vegetable gardens.
But just suppose I had a smaller property – a much-smaller property, say an eighth of an acre with a smooth lawn. An environmentally friendly and pleasant option for this lawn would be a push mower. Newer materials and newer engineering bumped weighty, clunker push mowers of yore into modern sleek, lightweight grass-eaters.
An excellent choice among the many push mowers offered today is one of Fiskars’ Reel Mowers. They’re relatively easy to push and sing a pleasant tappity-tap beat as they roll along, spewing cut grass in front.
The only caveat with a push mower is that mowing grass that has grown too long is very difficult. The solution? Mow frequently enough. It’s also better for the grass.
No need for the roar of exploding gasoline for a bigger lawn. For three-quarters of an acre, perhaps more, I’d opt for an electric mower – a cordless one. Battery technology has greatly improved in recent years, giving contemporary cordless mowers a lot more power and longer running times.
My choice among these mowers is Stihl. The cutting width is a bit narrow, but the mower is extremely light and very spry to push around. With a mere push of a button and squeeze of a bar needed to start it, this mower won’t make you give a second thought to stopping to move a lawn chair or dog bowl out of the way. This mower plows through even long grass. Run time is 25 minutes on a charge, but charging (with the more expensive of the two chargers available) takes only 45 minutes. Take a break; have a cup of tea.