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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by hudson, Apr 17, 2015.
Ended up buying the hedge trimmer also, it gets here today.
Any thoughts on a battery operated leaf blower? I have a Toro weed eater that has a 20V battery so would be cool to just use that but also not sure if that will be powerful enough. Think I saw it claims 115mph. Would really only be using it for sidewalk cleanup and maybe blowing some leaves off my mulch in the fall.
I received an 18v Ryobi leaf blower as a gift a couple years ago and would upgrade to something stronger if not for the fact that I'm moving to a new build where I won't need the power. It handles clearing concrete fine but it's not great with the big maple leaves that fall on my rocky and grassy areas.
That’s kind of what I figured after looking into the 18V Ryobi. Was honestly just trying to get a cheap option by using a battery I own.
It’s only labeled for partial control of crabgrass. We do two apps of Prodiamine in the spring. One granular with our fert, one liquid with the first weed control, but depends on the grass type
I wouldn't recommend anyone with a decent size property go with battery operated blower. My neighbors have more trees and use a backpack battery powered unit, but I'm not sure it has much blowing power.
I have a smaller gas handheld (~350 CFM) and while a backpack unit would be overkill for a normal property - it would save me plenty of time. I used them as a kid because my dad sprung for them.
I'm waiting for an opportunity to trade or upgrade to maybe 500+ CFM.
150 mph, 480cfm, includes battery and charger, may have to wait for it to get back in stock but this is always an option.
Put premergent down March 1st in Atlanta. Too late. Crabgrass everywhere sprouting. Trying to spray to kill it
I like to watch this lawn guy on YouTube, he’s from Iowa so we have similar weather/timelines. He pointed out the exact weed I’m seeing in my yard already, called it a Curly Dock. Looks like in my “zone” they germinate in December so I actually wasn’t crazy for thinking these things were growing under the snow the past couple of months.
Sprayed them with some broadleaf concentrate last week and they’re already wilting at least.
This guy said he’d never seen them before either. Wonder if the extremely wet conditions after the snow helped them come up.
My echo leaf blower took a crap. Looks like I need a new one. Prefer not to go battery, thinking Stihl? Any opinions on gas leaf blower brands?
Stihl or Red Max would be my recommendation. I've had my Stihl BR600 since 2014 with absolutely no issues.
What went wrong? Echo sells repair kits for the typical maintenance stuff that you can get to repair yourself...
Something with the ignition switch or something. Guy I know said the part alone is $70. I’ve had it for 5 years or so. Figure just get a new one?
Went ahead and just picked this up.
Stihl BG 56 C-E
I'd strongly urge you to consider a backpack.
Why's that? I've always used a handheld and didn't mind it.
Man, just an absolute game changer. Not only are you not having to lug it around wearing your arm out, they're significantly less powerful.
Honestly, I wouldn't even consider a handheld for any sort of 'full time' type work. I have a 600 CFM EGO that I use for light duty (patios, my garage, driveway in a pinch). If I'm doing any sort of 'real' blowing (think leaf cleanup) I can't imagine not having a backpack. After 1 time with a handheld I'd be at my closest dealer upgrading.
I'm a bit late here, but I'm in NC and moved into a place with an extremely shady backyard, which was covered in wild violet and ground ivy, maybe only 10-20% lawn grass
I overseeded pretty heavily in the fall with a generic shade mix -- Scotts or Pennington, I forget which, but it had Chewings Fescue, creeping red fescue, fine fescue, and some other stuff.
I'm absolutely amazed at the results so far. I still have patches of violet and ground ivy in areas where a stream overflows and leads to ponding, but I now have about 80% lawn grass and all I did was overseed.
However, it looks different than the warm-season grasses I grew up with in South Carolina. It clumps in certain places, it stays green in winter, it is sort of unusual IYAM
you don't happen to have one of these for electric mowers, do you?
Spoiler: Battery Push
Spoiler: Battery Self Propelled
Spoiler: Lawn Mower and Tractor Buying Guide
Lawn Mower & Tractor Buying Guide
Last updated: March 30, 2021
Looking out at a lush green lawn is one of life's simple pleasures. But cutting all that grass may not be. A lawn mower or tractor you can depend on to get the job done right is key. Every year, Consumer Reports cuts acres of grass to test both to see which models are top performers.
Interestingly, if you bought a new home in the past few years, keeping your lawn nice and neat may be easier. Contractors are building on smaller lot sizes than they did a decade ago, so lawns are also fairly small. The median lawn size in the U.S. is at an all-time low of less than one-fifth acre, a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau report says. Six in 10 new homes are built on lots that are a quarter acre or smaller.
Mower manufacturers have taken note. In recent years they've introduced numerous new models of battery-powered mowers, which are well-suited for small yards. Many of these machines perform as well as their gas brethren and are also more eco-friendly because they run on electricity. They're also not as noisy, which can be important when you're living close to your neighbor.
But whether you have a tiny patch of grass or acres of lawn, you’ll need a capable mower. Consumer Reports tests all types of mowers for mulching, side discharge, bagging, ease of use, and maneuverability. We also evaluate features that save you time and effort.
Our tests show that you don’t have to pay top dollar to get a great mower or tractor. Some models cost hundreds—even thousands—of dollars less than our top-scoring machines, yet they perform almost as well. But our tests also show that paying just a little more can often buy a lot more mower, especially at the lower end of the price spectrum.
How CR Tests Lawn Mowers & Tractors
To get you ratings and reviews of the latest models by early spring, our testers travel to Florida to conduct tests in late winter at grounds we specially prepare each year. We plant 1,800 pounds of grass seed (predominantly annual rye, prized for its dense growth). We cut 500,000 square feet of grass in three modes—mulching, side-discharging, and bagging a total of 3,000 pounds of clippings. We mow both level turf and slopes to get a feel for each and every model. We also review the convenience features on every model we assess.
The Overall Score for each model in CR's mower ratings incorporates all that performance data, along with predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our latest member surveys. The surveys leverage data on more than 78,000 lawn mowers and tractors that members purchased between 2010 and 2020.
Lawn Mower Ratings by Consumer Reports
Types of Lawn Mowers & Tractors
Your options for the best walk-behind or riding lawn mower range from $170 gas push models to lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers that can cost upward of $4,000.
If you're worried about noise, know that our tests show gas mowers are much noisier than their battery-powered counterparts. Nearly all the gas-powered machines we tested emitted more than 85 decibels at the user's ear, and only a few were somewhat quieter. For all, we recommend hearing protection.
Battery Lawn Mowers
No longer second-class citizens, the best battery-powered electric mowers cut grass just as well as their gas counterparts. Battery mowers utilize rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs and are available in both push and self-propelled varieties. They are much easier to store and maintain than gas mowers, but their relatively short battery run times make them better suited to smaller yards. Our run times with battery mowers were generally 30 to 45 minutes, regardless of the capacity of the battery. However, battery technology continues to improve, and some of the best performers can provide 60 minutes or more of run time.
Pros: Most battery mowers cut a 20- or 21-inch swath, and their batteries are interchangeable with other outdoor power tools from the same brand. They also start with push-button ease, produce no exhaust emissions, and run more quietly than gas models. They don’t require oil changes or frequent tuneups.
Cons: They have a limited run time—usually enough to cut 1⁄3 acre. Battery-powered self-propelled models use up to 20 percent of the battery charge to power the wheels, so you won’t be able to cut as much grass unless you buy larger or additional batteries. And they’re pricier than gas models, though you’ll recoup that cost over time.
Upkeep: Battery mowers require little upkeep beyond blade sharpening.
Best for: Yards of ⅓ acre or less.
Battery Mowers Ratings
Gas Lawn Mowers
Tried-and-true gas-fueled mowers aren’t limited by rechargeable batteries and can cut much larger yards in one go. They come in both push and self-propelled varieties and usually cost less than their electric counterparts, though you might spend more in the long run on fuel and maintenance.
Pros: Most gas mowers cut a 21- or 22-inch swath, can handle long or thick grass and weeds, and can bag, side-discharge, and mulch clippings. They also cost less and run much longer than their battery-powered counterparts.
Cons: Gas mowers are noisy (use ear protection), produce emissions, and require more frequent maintenance.
Upkeep: Gas mowers require regular tuneups, oil changes, and blade sharpening.
Best for: Yards from ¼ to ½ acre.
Gas Mowers Ratings
These gas-powered machines can cut two to three times faster than simple push mowers, making them best suited for larger lawns. Models with hydrostatic transmissions are easier to use and provide smooth operation.
Pros: Most models mow a 42- to 48-inch swath (though wide-deck models cut 54 inches or more in a single pass) and can bag, mulch, and side-discharge clippings. Steering them is easy and familiar because they use a wheel, just like a car. The best models have comfy, high-backed seats and make it easy to engage the blades and adjust your cutting height.
Cons: Bagging kits cost extra and tend to be expensive—a major reason the majority of tractor owners mow in side-discharge mode. And even today’s cleaner machines create exhaust emissions and require lots of storage space. And tractors have a wider turning radius and lower top speed than zero-turn mowers.
Upkeep: Gas mowers require regular tuneups, oil changes, and blade sharpening.
Best for: Yards larger than ½ acre.
Riding Lawn Mowers & Tractors Ratings
Think of these like souped-up tractors. Rather than a wheel, you control a zero-turn with a pair of levers—pushing one forward and the other rearward causes the mower to turn in place. They also have nimble handling and higher top speeds than tractors.
Pros: These are similar to the mowers landscapers use, with a rear engine and rear-wheel steering. They're easy to maneuver around obstacles, such as trees and flower beds. Some new models have steering wheels. They can side-discharge, bag, and mulch clippings, and typically mow a 42- to 50-inch swath. Their nimble handling and high top speed make it easy to get across your property quickly. Typically, zero-turn mowers are gas-powered, but a few battery-powered, zero-turn mowers have entered the marketplace in recent years.
Cons: Zero-turn mowers cost more than most tractors, and not all of them cut as well as tractors. Rear steering wheels can tear up grass during turns. They're not well-suited for hilly properties because they can lose traction and be hard to control on slopes. Their lever controls also require practice. And though they offer a higher top speed, that won't necessarily save you time—you'll still want to go 3½ to 4 mph to get an even mow. Bagging kits can be pricey, and because a much smaller fraction of users opt for that option, we no longer test a zero-turn mower's bagging performance.
Upkeep: Gas engines require tuneups and oil changes. Electrics need at least blade sharpening.
Best for: Yards larger than 1⁄2 acre without too many hills.
Zero-Turn Mowers Ratings
Bridging the gap between walk-behind mowers and tractors, rear-engine riders are typically cheaper than tractors but don’t cut as well—or as quickly, because they have narrower decks, typically around 30 inches wide.
Pros: Many of the usual lawn-tractor behemoths require more storage space than you might have, but this type of rider is more compact. It’s also cheaper: Some start at $1,300, a few hundred dollars more than most of the best self-propelled mowers.
Cons: Even the top-scoring models won’t cut as well as some of the lowest-scoring tractors in our ratings. They also usually cut in 30-inch-wide swaths, more than a walk-behind mower, for sure, but far less than the 4 feet many lawn tractors will mow. Many have a jerky gear drive rather than the smooth hydrostatic drive on most tractors. We also found that those in our tests weren’t great at fully filling a bag. You also might not get higher-end features such as a high-back seat or cruise control.
Upkeep: Gas engines require regular tuneups and oil changes. Electrics need the blades sharpened annually.
Best for: Yards from ½ to 1 acre.
Riding Lawn Mowers & Tractors Ratings
What to Consider Before You Buy
Push vs. self-propelled. Push mowers tend to be more affordable. Self-propelled models draw energy from the engine (or motor on electric models) to power the wheels, which makes them easier to maneuver if you have a larger lawn or live on a sloped lot. All-wheel drive offers the best traction on slopes, followed by rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive, which is standard on most models, is still well-suited for flat parcels though is not the best choice if you bag clippings. As the bag fills, it can cause the front wheels to lose some traction.
Yard size. Consider the size of your yard to find the perfect walk-behind mower. Gas self-propelled mowers will be best for larger yards, and push mowers (electric or gas) are better for smaller yards. Check out our guide to finding the right mower for your yard size.
Washout port. You should clean the underside of your mower after each cut. When it’s time to do so, a washout port makes it easier: It accepts a hose connection for clearing clippings beneath the mower deck without the need to tip the machine.
Electric start. On gas models, this feature lets you start the engine with push-button ease, rather than yanking a pull cord. All electric mowers start this way.
Folding handle. Models with a folding or collapsing handle require less space to store.
Upright storage. Almost all electrics can be stored vertically in a cramped garage. Some gas models have special engine seals that allow for upright storage, too, without the risk of oil or gas leaking out.
Uniform wheels. Some mowers boast larger rear wheels. Skip them. In our tests, mowers with uniform wheels are easiest to maneuver.
Interchangeable battery. Some power tool manufacturers are making string trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and even snow blowers that can all accept the same battery that powers their lawn mowers. That can save you money if you can buy the second tool without a battery. Check for battery mower brands that offer this interchangeability—and sell other highly rated, battery-compatible power tools.
Landscape needs. Get a riding mower or tractor that best matches the size and slope of your property. And if your yard resembles an agility training obstacle course, you might want to consider a zero-turn mower; that type is favored by professionals.
Hour meter. This indicates how long the engine has run and can help track when it's time for an oil change or other maintenance. A few models can link to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, to keep track of maintenance and order parts.
Ability to check fuel. A tractor with a cutout that allows you to see your fuel level—preferably from the seat—is ideal.
High-back seat and cup holder. The first is more supportive and comfortable than a conventional seat, and the second is for when you’re sweltering in the hot sun—you’ll appreciate it.
Cruise control. As with a car, cruise control lets you lock in a ground speed with a riding mower.
well. after doing some research, i guess i'll be buying one that's made in China
So my dogs are destroying my yard. I get the worst pee spots burning up my St. Augustine. My neighbor recommended adding tomato juice to their food but I read that isn’t really great for the dogs. And I’m skeptical of the treats that supposedly balance the ph of the urine. Any suggestions or recommendations?
I laid 6 pallets of zoysia last year ... 3 pallets one weekend and 3 pallets 2-3 weeks later.
The portion I laid in the second weekend is greening up nice. The first segment is still dormant. I don't think it's dead because the roots are still holding the grass when I pull on it.
Interested to see how this turns out.
Scalp it down and get the dead material out. Will warm up the soil and let the new growth breathe and flourish.
did that last week
I have two red oaks (deciduous) in the front yard. Same yard conditions, same size so probably the exact same age, only 20 feet from each other.
I was worried when one greened up and saw nothing for 2+ weeks on the other one. I looked last night and the first hint of spring growth has shown up in the past few days, meaning it is roughly 3 weeks behind the tree right next to it. Looks like it will end up being nothing.
I'm hoping my neighbors crepe myrtles are the same cultivar as mine - because theirs are budding and mine has not yet started. Neil Sperry had a deep dive post on crepe myrtles so I'll look into that if mine doesn't begin shortly.
Yeah, I *think* it'll be fine and see no reason not to think that, but I certainly have a little anxiety about it.
Both of my crepes will likely need to be cut down to the soil. I have shooters from the soil but no buds on the existing limbs.
Same. It's a shame because mine is a perfect blend of size/maturity. I'd hate to have to cut it all the way back. I'm definitely in a wait and see on it.
Edit: Link, and a couple posts prior to this one.
Are you in DFW?
You mind posting the riding mower and zero turn ratings?
The corn gluten pre emergent worked amazingly. Way beyond my expectations.
Just getting into lawn care, and so far the grass is looking awesome. Lots of helpful stuff in this thread. So, thought I'd give back with a helpful resource I came across. I know people have mentioned greencast for tracking soil temps which is great. However, I found another resource which is helpful for a variety of lawn care timing needs... https://gddtracker.msu.edu/
Just enter your zip and you can see the forecast for various lawn pests.
Lawn noob here: I moved to a house in the Chicago suburbs last Fall. Because the house was getting flipped, the grass wasn't well taken care of. I tried to reseed in the fall (but probably didn't do a good job) and now I still have some dead spots in my front lawn and under our large tree in our back yard.
Advice on Spring reseeding in northern climates? Even though I'm 38, this is my first time taking care of a yard and with Spring finally getting here, any and all suggestions to help out with brown spots is appreciated.
I have the HRX217 and really really like it. I have zoysia and cut every 5-7 days to make mulching and overall maintenance easy.
In fact, I left town at the end of grass cutting season for work, and I had already winterized my mower. My wife decided to “mow for me” and started it without out oil and ruined the engine. I didn’t hesitate to buy the exact same model again I like it so much.
somewhat lawn related, but does anyone have any experience with putting in artificial grass? We're having a pool put in and there are small areas that won't be covered by the deck that we were debating on filling with either artificial grass or rocks. I lean towards the artificial grass, but didn't know if there are types I should be targeting or avoiding.
Spoiler: Lawn Tractors
Spoiler: Zero Turn
Rake up any loose vegetation and loosen the soil, seed, cover with straw or top soil. Water twice daily until it’s 3-5 inches tall.
Other advice is go light on any fertilizer, or better yet, don’t use anything for several months. I made the mistake of thinking more is better, and destroyed some pretty new grass I had just nurtured to life.
What kind of fertilizer did you use? For new seed I would highly recommend using some kind of organic fertilizer like milorganite, no real concern for doing any damage with something like that.
I don’t recall what I used but probably one of the Scott’s products labeled for weed/feed.
Tommy Jefferson Always read your labels. Good products will usually have a paragraph for new sod and seeding/sprigging .
I want to say 60 days was on whatever I applied last.
Just popping in to state i hate st Augustine grass the fuckers who laid my sod and graded my yard
I see most people already answered your question, but since I'm also in Chicagoland, I thought I'd provide something I found helpful as a beginner. It's the Chicago Botanic Garden's lawn care guide. It provides general timing and other info for our area.
This is heresy.
it’s probably shitty sod and shitty soil over the variety of the grass but I hate it.
Seed sooner than later. It's going to be a pain keeping it moist and alive one your get into the heat of the summer. If you can't do it soon, wait until late August. The temps will still be high, but there is much more humidity and moisture in the air that will help seed germination. Don't over water the seeded area. Just mist it a few times a day. You don't want the seed to wash out. Most important fact when seeding is getting a good "Seed to Soil Contact". Make some rake marks in a cross pattern over the area you're working with to loosen up the soil a bit, lay your seed down, then compact it. Make sure the soil is dry or all your seed will come with whatever you're compacting with. Mist it in the AM, Afternoon, and Evening. If you have weeds popping up in the area, pull them out by hand, because your new grass is competing with those. Just basically have to baby sit it. One you start getting some good growth, don't be afraid to mow it. Lightly pull at the new grass and if it seems loose, wait another week or so and check again. It will encourage the grass to start growing out instead of up. Also, depending on what you're seeding with, don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away. Kentucky Bluegrass can take up to 28 days to start germinating. I'd start with a Rye / Blue Mix. Rye germinates faster, and then over time the Bluegrass will outcompete and choke out the rye and you'll be left with Bluegrass predominately.
The Carbon Robotics Autonomous Weeder leverages robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and laser technology to safely and effectively drive through crop fields to identify, target and eliminate weeds.
Unlike other weeding technologies, the robots utilize high-power lasers to eradicate weeds through thermal energy, without disturbing the soil. The automated robots allow farmers to use less herbicides and reduce labor to remove unwanted plants while improving the reliability and predictability of costs, crop yield and more.
I am excited for our glorious weedless future