Q: I will soon have a new bermudagrass lawn and I want to get the best mower. After reading about how rotary mowers rip the grass and seeing the “swirls” they leave sometimes, I’m not sure that’s what I want. I’m looking into a manual reel mower. What should I consider?
A: It all depends on how big your lawn is. If it’s bigger than 1000 sq feet I think you’ll be so exhausted after each mowing that you’ll not mow often enough. Sharpening a reel mower should be done every six months, but I don’t know of a place in Atlanta where a homeowner can get it done. Golf courses and large lawn maintenance companies use automatic sharpening machines that cost thousands of dollars.
The swirls left by rotary mowers are caused by ruts and bumps in the lawn surface. You can hire a topdressing company to make your lawn “pool table smooth” so that’s the route I’d take: level the area, buy a rotary mower, sharpen the blade every three months and enjoy your beautiful lawn.