If You Really Want A Healthy Lawn, Consider What You're Mowing With

Having a healthy lawn is something every gardener aspires to, but what you may not realize is that the type of mower you use could be working against you. In fact, if you're opting for a rotary mower, you could be doing more harm than good. Your best bet is a reel mower — and there are a number of reasons why.

Thanks to their speediness and ease of use, rotary mowers are undoubtedly the best-known type, but that's not to say they're the best for your grass. Essentially, they work by shredding the lawn, rather than merely cutting it. That leads to the jagged appearance of individual grass blades — but aesthetics are just one part of the problem, here. Per Jonathan Green, shredded grass blades offer up an easy entry point for diseases and fungus. Not to mention, grass blades that need to work harder to rebound.  A reel mower, unlike the rotary option, snips the tops of the grass cleanly. This is just part of what makes reel mowers such a good option for garden enthusiasts, though. There are a ton of benefits to these oft-overlooked mowers — and it certainly doesn't hurt that they're great for your health, too. 

Reel mowers make grasscycling a breeze

As Jason Kruse of the University of Florida's environmental horticulture department told Wirecutter, the clean cut of a reel mower allows blades of grass to retain water. A definite benefit when trying to cultivate a lush-looking lawn. If the thought of needing to rake up clippings post-mow is what's stopping you from going the reel mower route, think again. Once you've mowed, simply leave the leftover, nutrient-packed clippings on the lawn to do their thing. Reel mowers often don't come with a built-in mulcher, but the fact that they only cut to a certain height means you really can just mow right on and allow the cuttings to fall as you go, without worrying about photosynthesis-blocking clumps. 

A note for those with concerns about the look of clippings left on the lawn, the minuscule size of the reel mower clippings, coupled with their high water content (also aided by the sharpness of the cut) means the mulch itself is fast-evaporating — it could even be gone completely in less than a day. The remaining, cut lawn, on the other hand, will remain lush. 

A few things to keep in mind

There's no question that a reel mower is a great option for a healthy lawn, free from fungus, disease, and even damage-causing insects enticed by broken blades. However, there is one thing to keep in mind before adding a reel mower to your collection of gardening tools. Let's just say, this isn't a great option for those wanting a quick fix. 

Reel mowers don't rely on gas, electricity, or batteries. They're completely dependent on your efforts — so even if you opt for a lightweight option, know in advance that you will get some serious steps in, pushing it around. What's more, because reel mowers can only cut shorter grass, if your lawn isn't already fairly short, you'll probably want to break out that rotary option just once more to make things manageable. Finally, be aware that reel mowers require regular use. We're talking twice a week if need be.

If the thought of regular, self-push mows doesn't scare you off, Amazon offers some options, like this Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 5-blade reel mower. Your grass will certainly thank you. As for the physical exertion portion, getting a workout in the process is what makes this mower the perfect two-in-one for a healthy lawn and gardener alike.