I decided to get a reel-type mower after our gas-powered, self-propelled mulching mower developed a major problem after years of use, and our trusted equipment repair person told us it could not be repaired. I bought two Scott's reel-type mowers, one with 22" blades in 2014 and a year later, one with 12" blades (after the 22" "scalped" and killed two narrow grass paths between some of our gardens). Both reel-type mowers worked pretty well the first time they were used. After that, neither could cut an increasing variety of unwanted intruders that began to be a problem. The first year this happened, I just ignored the unusual grass-like weeds, applied Turf Builder and Turf Builder for weed prevention. The next year, the weeds had multiplied and for the first time in 30 years, many spots on our lawn didn't look good at all. I had to do major preparation and seed replanting on about half of our lawn. Here is what I learned from this experience:
1. You WILL need to do something about sharpening blades, because the quality of the cut appears to deteriorate after the first use. It may take a while to find someone to sharpen the blades on the reel-type. My repair person for the gas-powered mower told me they don't touch reel-type mowers. I finally found a business that sharpens reel-type blades that is about 35 minutes away, and I must bring the mowers to him - they do not do any sort of pick-up/delivery.
2. What I considered to be quality products did not cut some types of wiry, wide blade unwanted "greenery", which allowed those to put out seeds and multiply.
3. With the 22" mower there was no way to raise the blades enough to avoid the "scalping" of narrow grass paths.
4.The 12" mower fit on the narrow paths mentioned above, but it came pre-set at a very low blade height, and changing the height is not as simple as it is on the 22'. The 12" required time-consuming partial disassembling to change the blade height.
5. Mowing and re-mowing then hand-cutting/pulling the grasses that wouldn't let the reel mower cut it has increased the time it takes to mow and edge the lawn - from approximately 90 minutes with the gas mulching mower and edger to OVER THREE HOURS with the two real-type mowers
6. Get ready to rake! Changing from a mulching mower to these two reel-type meant that the lawn under four large Spring-flowering trees was left with thousands of dead, dried flowers when the flowering season ended. Large parts of the grass under those trees died from being smothered ball the dropped flowers. Too late in 2015 I figured out that the spent flowers needed to be raked up once they fell - something I never had to do with the mulching mower that mulched the spent flowers along with the mowed grass. This year I raked the lawn under the tree that shed the greatest amount of dead flowers, and the lawn did not change from how it looked before the flowers dropped. I didn't yet rake 'the lawn under the three slightly smaller flowering trees, but I have to do it soon because I can see patches of soil are forming with caked, dried dead flowers over the soil. There had been grass in those spots, but the dead flowers smothered and killed the grass If you previously used a mulching or bagging mower, you did not have to rake - do not forget to rake with any reel mower if you have trees that shed flowers or leaves. And, of course, if you mow when your lawn has gotten too high, don't forget to rake that, too.
Anyone want to buy two reel-type mowers? I'm going back to a mulching gas-powered mower.
Date published: 2016-11-01