5 Very Green Benefits You Will Obtain When You Mow Your Lawn With a Scotts Push Reel Mower

By John L. Freeman

Whether you enjoy getting a green thumb in the garden or consider that mowing your lawn is worse than doing a load of dirty dishes, this may be down to the type of lawn mower you own.

Push reel lawn mowers were some of the first lawn mowers ever invented and they perhaps had a negative image because they were hard to push and did not really do the best of jobs.

In an age of machines where almost everything is automated, would it surprise you to learn that human powered mowers are selling as well as ever? Consider the Scotts Push Reel Mower for example.

Some of the obvious and perhaps not so obvious advantages include;

1. The environment benefits. Your push reel mower will not emit any greenhouse gases and you won't have a face full of fumes every time you mow the lawn. In fact you will probably be able to smell flowers and fresh air, things which would have alluded you if you owned a gasoline powered machine. We all know that gasoline powered lawn mowers are notorious for breaking down too.
2. Your finances benefit. No more trips down to the gas station to fill up your lawn mower. Most push reel mowers are cheaper to purchase initially than their mechanical counterparts anyway, so the savings will just keep adding up.
3. You benefit. Think of how much exercise you will get after you have been using your mower for a few months. There is a tremendous self satisfaction in the thought that you are helping yourself while helping the environment.
4. Your lawn benefits. Ordinary rotary blades slash at the grass at different angles which can damage your lawn and may it look unsightly. Remember, it is a living thing and needs to be cared for as such. The difference with push reel mowers is that they chop the grass finely like scissors and leave a fine coating of mulch in your wake.
5. Your neighbors benefit. Considering that a Scotts push reel doesn't make any noise, you could theoretically use it at any time of day or night if you wanted to and not wake the neighbors. Don't like sleeping in on a Sunday morning? No problem, you could head out at the crack of dawn and no one would even know you were out there.

Overall the advantages of owning a Scotts Push Reel Mower far exceed the disadvantages of owning one, of which there aren't many to be honest. The only constraints may be that manual mowers take a bit more time to complete the task, but it is by no means excessive. Mowing the lawn is something you should enjoy doing by taking your time.

One such example of a Scotts Push Reel Mower is the Scotts 2000 20 20 Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower.

Click on the above link to find out more about this superb piece of environmentally friendly machinery and discover exactly what sized yard it is designed for. The size of your yard may play a big role in your final decision. Either way, this green lawn mower puts a lot of other motorized lawn mowers for sale to shame.

How to Sharpen Push Mower Blades

By eHow Contributing Writer
One of the beauties of a push lawn mower is that it sharpens itself to some extent: As you push the mower, the revolving blades scrape over the cutter bar, and the action tends to make both blades keener, not duller. Every year or two, though, a sharpening job is in order. You could take the machine to a pro, or use this backlapping technique.

Step 1

Prop up the lawn mower so you can turn the reel by twirling the wheels.

Step 2

Check the blades for nicks and burrs. If you find any, remove them by holding a file flat against the blade and pushing away from the edge.

Step 3

Examine the cutting bar. It should just meet the blades along their entire length. (To make sure it's in the right spot, grasp a wheel and turn it forward; you should hear a whispery sound as the blades pass the bar.)

Step 4

If the bar is out of alignment, adjust it using the screws on the ends of the bar. (There are two at each end; when you look at them, it will be obvious which one will move the bar closer to the blades.)

Step 5

Using your fingers or a soft paintbrush, cover the blades with a thin, even coat of automotive valve-grinding compound (available at auto-parts stores).

Step 6

Grasp a wheel and turn it slowly backward so that the grinding compound is squeezed between the blades and the cutting bar, thereby sharpening both cutting edges as they pass each other. Be sure that each blade touches the bar as you rotate the wheel.

Step 7

Make about a dozen turns, applying more grinding compound when necessary.

Step 8

Examine the blade edges. If they look sharp, wash off all the valve compound with soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Step 9

Test for sharpness. Insert a sheet of newspaper between the blades and the cutting bar, and rotate the reel forward. (You may need to try a few times to get the paper in the right position.) When the blades cut the paper as easily and as cleanly as a sharp pair of scissors would, you're ready to roll.

Tips & Warnings
  • After each use, hose the mower clean and wipe it dry. Then wipe all the metal parts with a thin film of WD-40 or mineral oil.
  • If you've got a new push mower, check your owner's manual for any specific sharpening guidelines.
  • Sharpen blades only by hand. The heat generated by a power grinder or an electric drill with a grinding wheel attached can destroy the temper of the metal.

Manual Push Reel Lawn Mowers

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Simple, classic, mechanical push mowers are

* Emission-free and environmentally friendly.
* Low maintenance.
* Safer than gas mowers.
* Pleasant to use: quiet, smokeless and smell-free.

Standard Lawn Mowers

Pushing the mower causes the wheels to spin the barrel of curved blades (the reel), which move across the bottom cutting bar (bed knife). This slices grass just like a pair of scissors. Like scissors, the revolving blades are forced against the cutting bar by the tension in the mechanism. This prevents thin blades of grass from slipping through.

This does make noise and the friction dulls the blade after about a year. Sharpening kits are available for some brands (gritty grinding cream is spread on the blades and the reel is spun backwards).

Popular brands include Scotts and American Lawn Mower Company.
Self-Sharpening Push Mowers

Self-sharpening mowers (such as those made by Gilmour) cut grass in the same way as standard mowers. There is an additional mechanism to sharpen the blades as the reel is turning.

The disadvantage of such mowers is that they can be noisier. Some people find the noise unremarkable. Others find it unbearable even with the blades freshly oiled. "Try before buy" is the best way to avoid disappointment.
No-Contact Push Mowers

Mowers from brands such as Brill and Sunlawn have reel blades that do not touch the cutting bar. Their precise construction allows a constant gap of about 0.05 millimeters to be maintained. The gap is small enough that grass cannot slip through unmolested.

This results in

* Quieter operation.
* Longer life for the blades. Claims of over 5 years between sharpenings are not uncommon.
* Less effort pushing the mower.

The gap should be checked every year with a gap gauge: a strip of metal as thick as the required gap (normally provided with the mower).

Because the blades stay sharp for years, contactless mowers are sometimes mis-labeled as self-sharpening mowers.
Major Mower Features

Reel mowers are specified by the length of the reel. A 20 inch mower will mow a strip 20 inches wide. Most mowers range from 14 to 20 inches. The wider models are good for larger lawns but

* may require more effort to push
* will be harder to maneuver in tight spots

Mowers have an adjustable cutting-height setting to vary the height of the cut grass. Most can go as low as 1/2 to 1 inch and as high as 2 inches. Some can be raised up to 3 inches. The higher the setting, the fewer problems there will be from fallen sticks jamming the mower.

Grass catchers are useful to collect grass for compost. Unfortunately this is a big problem area for reel mowers. Complaints of grass catchers

* not catching grass
* detaching from the mower

are common. A mower with a matching grass catcher is best, but no guarantee that it will work well. Some mower brands do not have matching catchers and rely on third party manufacturers.
Disadvantages of Push Mowers

Push mowers are not suitable for some situations

* Large lawns.
* Some varieties of thick grass.
* Lawns with many fallen branches and pine cones (need to be raked or will jam the mower).
* Lawns with many weeds, dandelions.

Troubleshooting Tips

Problems with reel mowers can often be resolved by

* Sharpening the blades.
* Adjusting the alignment of the blades and the cutting bar.
* Adjusting the cutting height of the mower.

Gas versus Push Mowers

Push mowers aren't just practical and green. They're also fun. Their relatively safe operation means that children and pets don't need to be locked in the house when mowing.

Quiet mowing means being able to

* mow at any time without disturbing neighbors
* listen to music or the birds, while mowing

Homeowners should also consider electric lawn mowers.