Q: My husband and I just bought a house with an established bermudagrass lawn. We need to buy a lawn mower but we can not agree on the type to buy. He believes that we have to have a reel mower for a bermudagrass lawn. I think that it is not so necessary, particularly considering the price! Our lawn has been very well maintained and we really would like to keep it looking good.
A: I see plenty of Bermudagrass lawns that are very attractively maintained with a rotary mower. A sharp blade is the key to a good looking cut job. While a reel mower does give a carpet-like appearance, its initial cost and future upkeep is higher than with a rotary mower.
If you choose a rotary mower, let me put in a plug for buying a powerful mulching mower. Most mowers can be configured to mulch lawn clippings rather than bagging them. I favor mulching (some people call it GrassCycling) because the practice returns nutrients to the soil. Given two similar mowers from which to choose, buy the one with the more powerful engine. The extra power is needed to finely chop the clippings. You won’t be able to detect the clippings after mowing with a good-quality mulching mower. Research has proven that returning the clippings to the ground does not increase weeds or thatch or disease.