Choosing the right mower for you

Published 7:00 pm Monday, May 7, 2012

(ARA) – As the weather continues to warm, it’s time to get back outside and start working in the yard again. If your mower is on its last leg, it may be time to invest in a new one, and now is the perfect time to research which unit is right for you.

“Whether you have a small patch of grass or sprawling acres of lawn, choosing the right lawn mower can make the task easier and more enjoyable,” says Peggy West, marketing associate for Yard-Man, a manufacturer of dependable lawn equipment. “While it may seem as easy as walking into the store and picking one out, there are several features to consider.”

There are two basic choices when it comes to lawn mowers: walk-behind or rider. With different options for each category, you’ll want to consider the size and terrain of your lawn to help with your decision.

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Walk-behind mowers

Walk-behind mowers can be divided into two categories: push mowers and self-propelled mowers. If your lawn is less than one acre, a walk-behind is a great choice for you.

* Push mowers: Offering basic power and performance, push mowers are best for trimming or mowing lawns up to a half-acre. A gas-powered engine provides more cutting power than a reel mower and can cut through taller, tougher grass.

* Self-propelled mowers: Easiest to use and best for lawns with hills or more than a half-acre in size, these mowers are powered by a transmission that propels them forward rather than relying on your strength to push them along. For example, the Yard-Man 12AEB2JA001 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is easy to maneuver, offering smooth cuts with less exertion.

Riding mowers

Riding mowers are designed for large yards over an acre. Three things to consider when looking at lawn tractors and zero-turn riders are horsepower, cutting deck size and transmission type.

* Lawn tractors: With higher horsepower engines, lawn tractors are better for larger lawns and rougher terrain. They may also have various attachments available and can be used for hauling materials in addition to mowing your lawn. You should also look for mowing decks that are easily adjustable and have mulching capabilities.

* Zero-turn riders: For a lawn that is more than an acre with multiple obstacles, a zero-turn rider would be a good fit. The time it takes to mow your lawn can be cut in half, because the zero-turn radius enables quick turns and trimming. In addition, these mowers are fast, so you can quickly cover a large lawn.

Once you’ve decided which mower will best meet your needs, Yard-Man offers five simple tips for keeping your grass looking great all season long:

1. Before you start mowing, make sure to clear the area of any sticks, rocks or other debris to keep them from getting caught in the blades.

2. Keep your grass approximately 2 inches in length, always taking off only 1/3 inch of new growth.

3. Alternate the direction you mow each session. The wheels will create a rut in the grass if you mow in the same direction every time.

4. Mow your lawn in a pattern by mowing back and forth instead of walking in a spiral pattern. This keeps the grass from becoming permanently bent in one direction.

5. Make sure your lawn gets 1 inch of water per week to keep it healthy and growing properly.