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Latest posts by Joe_the_Gardener


Posted: 03/02/2013 at 15:54

I think it's a great ambition, Carly, but it would demand a considerable change of direction from the manufacturers, and they would need to take the public with them if they were not to be left with a warehouse full of unwanted mowers, however well-engineered. 

I bought my daughter an electric mower for about £50 from B&Q to do her little squares of lawn front and back, and I doubt if a push one would be cheaper. And I can cut her privet hedge to perfection in about five minutes with the machine.

She is of a generation that prefers an electric gadget, and she prefers zumba to gardening. I was brought up push-mowing with a Qualcast, but I'm not sure there's any way back.

Trees and shrubs for peat?

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 15:11

Is this area literally a bog, i.e. water table permanently at surface? 

Lawn Trouble

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 15:08

I'd agree with Geoff.

How short you cut the grass is a separate issue. A lot of damage is caused by scalping lawns; just raise the mower by one notch at first and see the difference, then try another notch.

Talkback: Garden birds in the snow

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 11:27

What kinds of hedges do your House Sparrows prefer? My observations suggest that beech is particularly popular, followed by other semi-dense deciduous, then hawthorn, with any sort of evergreen a long way down the popularity list.

National DIY chains remove bug killer containing neonicotinoids from sale

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 11:16

Thanks for the useful list of products, Tim.


Posted: 02/02/2013 at 11:09


The questionnaire doesn't really suit my circumstances, because the only lawns that I mow are other people's, and I use their mowers. It's likely that there are other professional gardeners on this board who might wish to answer, with the benefit of their wider experiences with different machines in different circumstances and with different priorities. Interested?


Posted: 31/01/2013 at 15:16


I've only ever used one Hayter and it was a bit of a pig. The 'skirt' round the blade was too low and the grass box was very low-slung, so these two things meant it scraped or jammed on any ground that was even slightly uneven. And it was a bit difficult to get the grass box in and out compared with other mowers. (By the way, I wouldn't recommend your elastic loop round the dead man's handle to keep the engine running. I see people doing it and pray that they never have an accident.) There's obviously a need there for a better design of electric starter.

I've never had any trouble fuelling a mower; surely, provided you use the nozzle pipe that is supplied with the petrol container, there's no problem?

I don't know how keen manufacturers would be to put a side blade on a mower - I can see there might be some nasty accidents. I use edging shears, which seems perfectly easy.

Rollers are probably a personal preference. Unless they actually drive the machine, there will always be conflict between the setting height of the roller and that of the driving wheel. Driving off the edge of the lawn occasionally is an occupational hazard and I find I just have to take extra care. A wider front wheel would have to be so wide that it would flatten a lot of grass in front of the blade and it would become less effective going round a curved lawn edge.

Was your Atco a cylinder or a rotary? I'll bet it had an engine with really good torque and weighed a fair bit. The other problem with rollers, which can weigh a heck of a lot, is that they can compress the ground over time, depending on the soil type.

Clogging is quite a problem and it would need a lot wind tunnel experiments to design the optimum profile for the chute. I suspect that most of the better mowers have already come to somewhere near to the optimum by an iterative process. Cleaning after every mow obviously helps a lot, but I'm not sure that using, say, Teflon for the surfaces would help, because it would be easily damaged. Otherwise, if I'm mowing wet grass and the mower keeps clogging, I just resort to inaudible swearing.





Posted: 31/01/2013 at 10:03


I have to mow in the wet or I wouldn't get round all the jobs, and two of my lawns are almost permanently wet, so if I left the cut material the lawn would be impossible to deal with after a month.


Posted: 31/01/2013 at 09:58


I make a living out of doing people's gardens; I don't think they'd be very happy to see me on my hands and knees with a pair of nail scissors! And those women in India were probably being paid about one rupee a day. Same principle applies to shears and push mowers. (My granddad used to cut lawns with a scythe back in 1910, but that was because (a) the landowner was filthy rich and could afford an army of serfs and (b) lawn-mowers weren't that good.)

I agree that noise from machines is bad - it's even worse when you spend quite a lot of the week causing it! Unfortunately, we have got to the position where people demand neatness and tidiness and there is no alternative to doing that by machine. Your plane to India was much quieter than 50 years ago, but it's still very noisy, polluting and irritating to people near airports.

Two-stroke engines, essential for hedge-cutters, strimmers and blowers, are naturally noisy and silencing them would make them heavier (try waving a 7kg hedgecutter around all day) and more unwieldy.

Mowers could be made quieter, but again at a price that people may not be willing to pay, because they only use it for 30 or 40 hours a year. Most people buy the cheapest mower they can get away with, which is a good approach if you've only got 20 sq m of lawn.

I've no problem with Luke wanting to look for innovative ideas, but he did invite comments, so don't shoot the messenger.


Posted: 29/01/2013 at 09:59

As I said, bunnysg, you can get mowers that do all sorts of things, including mulching, but not everyone wants to do that - for instance in wet conditions.

Discussions started by Joe_the_Gardener

Swifts in decline

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Useful tool

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Gardeners World Quiz

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Silver birch

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Hedging shears

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Last Post: 14/05/2012 at 20:05
8 threads returned