The mowing season is upon us and it is a very exciting time of the year. Everything is starting to grow, especially the grass, so I thought that I would tell you about some of the different ways we mow in the Formal Gardens.
The mower above is a Honda Izy, a four wheeled rotary pedestarian mower, but what does this mean? Rotary mowers have blades underneath which turn on a vertical axis. The pedestrian part means that they are operated by a person walking behind the mower. The box at the back collects the grass.
This type of mower is good for cutting small areas of lawn. It also works quite well when the grass is long and/or wet. Typically we will use this mower to mow areas that are on a slope, for example the lawns outside the Bampfylde Hall, or on lawns that are quite bumpy.
The mower above is a Masport Olympic cylinder mower, meaning that the blades spin on a horizontal axis this time. It has a roller on the back to give stripes to your lawn and the metal box at the front collects the grass.
We use this type of mower for the finer areas of lawn, such as here on the Victorian Terrace. It is great for areas where you have a slightly raised lawn (like in the photo) as the roller at the back allows you to get right up to the edge without falling off!
This is a Gianni Ferrari ride-on mower and as you can see you sit on the mower to operate it as apposed to walking behind it. The deck at the front has two sets of ratary blades and the yellow box at the back collects the grass by sucking it up.
This mower is used for all the large areas areas of lawn, such as the drive and the Orangery Lawn.
Problems and Solutions
Below are a list of common problems associated with mowing and some tips to give you a good finish:
- Blockages and dropping of grass - This can happen especially when the grass is long and wet. Always be safe when clearing a blockage by ensuring that the mowing is not running and that the spark plug is disconnected. It may help to raise the height of cut or to empty the box more frequently.
- Scalping or doughnuts - This is when the ground gets scraped by the mower blades. With rotary mowers, a ring or doughnut of earth may be exposed and this may take weeks to recover. Make sure you select a height of cut appropriate to the lawn you're mowing. Any bumps in the ground may cause you to scalp the grass so if in doubt, raise the height of cut.
- Cylinder mowers sometimes cause the blades of grass to be flattened rather than cut. The blades of the mower may need to be sharpened or their alignment adjusted.
- At the start of the mowing season, cut the grass on a high setting, and gradually lower the height of cut as the weeks go past. Similarly, at the end of the season start to raise the height of cut again. You will find this makes mowing easier and it causes less stress for the grass.
- I tend to mow a ring all the way around the outside of the lawn before starting to mow in straight lines. Turning at the end of each line will give you an attractive striped effect. When I come to an obstacle such as a tree or flower bed, I will mow a circle around the obstacle before continuing with the stripes. This gives a neater finish and also allows more room for manoeuvre.