May 30, 2016

At the Greener Grass Café...


... you can talk about anything you want.

The grass is greener in this Meade photo because the sun came out shortly after he took the green-grass photo that I posted 2 days ago, here.  There was a good deal of discussion about the lawn in the comments, and Meade did eventually come around and answer all the questions (the "Fiskars" in question is this thing):
Thanks, to everyone who said nice things.

David, I give it a dry fertilizer in the fall and a couple rounds of liquid fertilizer twice 3 weeks apart in the early spring after the first mowing. I only water lightly (and often) if I'm trying to get new seed to sprout. Otherwise, I stop mowing and let the lawn go dormant in July and August. I'm always humming some silly tune or another.

Left Bank, the Fiskars gets half an inch from the edge. So I bought the Fiskars stand-up grass shears and now I'm addicted to trimming along with mowing.

Paco, you are right — reel mowers are best for small lawns.

Ron, no catcher. The Fiskars throws the clippings forward where they get a second slicing, decompose, and then feed the soil biota.

Humperdink, Kubotas are great. Years ago, I used a Z series Kubota when I took care of 15 acres. But I don't think they made a 72" deck back then (in the 70s). I'm pretty sure it was 48". Yours is probably hydrostatic and zero-turn. Nice.

I've had a scythe identical to rhhardin's for 30 years. Great tool. Like most cutting tools, the primary thing is to keep it sharp. If I owned more than 1/2 acre of lawn, I'd use a scythe like he does or more likely a combination of scythe and a reel mower.


Curious George said...

"Like most cutting tools, the primary thing is to keep it sharp."

If you don't have time to sharpen the blade, you don't have time to use it.

William said...

I know some great lawn trivia. Great lawns, like you find at Downton Abbey, have a calming ffect. A huge, well tended lawn, dotted with clumps of sheep or tame deer, is a predator free zone. It registers with our subconscious minds that here at last is a place where the world can't hurt you. Great lawns were the original safe spaces. I don't think smaller lawns have this effect, but they do demonstrate that your neighbors are conscientious citizens. I suppose that's sort of reassuring.

Meeeea said...

Worth a look.

Edmund said...

We had a reel mower for a while when I was a kid. My dad inherited it from his dad and brought it down from Indiana when we bought a house with a reasonable sized lawn. We sharpened it up and used it for a while. Lesson learned: reel mowers don't work well on St. Augustine grass like we have in Southeast Texas. They are a bear to push and get a clean cut. Too much work in 90 degree heat. Got a power mower by the end of the summer.

madAsHell said...

Years ago, I lived in East Texas. I went to the Sears, and asked for a reel lawn mower. The clerk pointed to the array of rotary power mowers, and said "Those are real mowers." I never did find a reel mower in Texas.

....and now that I have read Edmund's comment, I know why.

Coconuss Network said...

Roboters seem to be the craze. Any Ad-vice ??

jimbino said...

In Brazil, my gardeners cut all the grass, whether on level ground or on a slope, with an electric string cutter. And they always remove the guard, with the effect of shortening the life of the electric motor, probably because it has to drive a lengthened string.

ALP said...

"I've had a scythe identical to rhhardin's for 30 years. Great tool. Like most cutting tools, the primary thing is to keep it sharp."

Oooh...I've been interested in trying a scythe. How does the operator's height factor into the design/size of the scythe? I am only 5' tall - are they sized, one size fits all or do they have to be scaled to the person using it?

IOW - do I have to buy a "Petite Scythe" like I have to buy petite clothing?

Meade said...

Here you go, ALP.

Hagar said...

Reel lawn mowers are great for your son to push.

Have you watched how they sharpen the blade on a scythe?

ALP said...


THANK YOU! I have always had an attraction to manual methods of doing things. We have a fairly large lawn (.75 acre of it is lawn). Been dying to try a scythe to keep the grass and weeds under control. Many thanks!


rhhardin said...

Scythe supply will cut the snath for your measurements (Meade's link)

Get the straight snath. They put too much bend in the bent snath these days.

26" grass blade is nice. Longer ones take more skill to avoid damage to the blade.

You need a stone and something to carry the stone in, a bar peen hammer and one of the anvils.

The automatic anvil is easiest but leaves you with a dull edge that needs stone work.

Stone work occurs in addition every couple of minutes while working. Work so that you're out of breath at the same rate and it all works out.

Pigskin gloves are almost a must so that they don't harden from getting wet.

If you want a pretty lawn, cut right down to the dirt. Enough grass is left to look like a nicely trimmed lawn. If you want to go fast, cutting at a height above that takes more skill but is much easier.

After all, it's the top of the grass that you want level, not its length particularly.

If you do a cut and there's a circular ring of uncut grass, the blade needs to be sharpened better. Grass cuts partly and hangs up on the blade, preventing other grass from being cut by that piece of blade. Razor sharp is needed.

It's easier to cut wet grass and cold grass. Avoid frost, which dulls the blade instantly.

Do some work, go outside and cut a swath or two across the lawn, come back inside and do some more work. In a couple of days, the lawn is done.

Scythes are no good in inside corners, and very inefficient around posts and trees because there's no good cutting pattern.

They excel under fences, assuming your aim is good so you can avoid the posts.

Freeman Hunt said...

I watched this because of this conversation.

What about hills? Not little mounds like the one in the video but real hills.

traditionalguy said...

Those reel type mowers are great machines, but better used mowing over glaciated flat ground. That is so much easier than a foothills of the Appalachians area. My Grandfather was from Buffalo (Lockport) NY and he proudly had one of those in Ansley Park in Atlanta where the front 20 feet of his front yard went downhill at a 45 degree incline. We had to run it down fast and then tug it backwards up slow, and repeat.