Buying reel mower need good advice

tom.044March 17, 2013

Saw a mclane 17 inch reel mower used a few times.i have a 6500 sq ft yard and want to know is the mower to small for yard.i moved from jersey to Alabama and new to Bermuda grass.
I also see people getting rid of reel mowers after a season or two is it because they have to mow there grass more frequently.
Anybody who has a reel,would like you guys to chime in with some good advice.
Cutting yard with mulch mower but want to mow shorter than 1 1/2. I have hybrid sod called Greg Norman - gn1 - it calls for less than 1 inch to look its best.
Thanks a lot. Tom

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rager_w

There are a few key questions-
1. How flat (level) is the ground? Most people, me included, have had to level the surface with sand to be able to cut lower than 1 inch (w/o terrible scalping). Is this a new lawn or well established?
2. Are you willing to cut every other day or every 3rd day to keep it under 1 inch?

http://www.shark.com/gnturf/gn1_sod_specs.php

It looks like it doesn't grow as fast as typical 419, so that's a good thing.

Mclane makes both a manual reel (no engine) as well as powered. Which are you referring to? I have owned and used them all push (mascot, brill), powered (Mclane 10 blade, Tru-cut and finally Trimmer).

I would definitely lean toward a gas operated version. Early in the season I can use the manual one, but by mid July the turf is jsut too dense to push the mower through it. It ends up skipping across the top and chattering. Even with routine back lapping.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 10:58AM
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tom.044

Thanks for reply.my front yard does slope pretty good,back yard is flat and yes I would have to do some leveling.
I don't mind cutting every couple of days.
Going on 3 years old yard with sections that still need work.i would only consider power reel.been looking at new and used reel power mowers but in no big rush.north side of house needs some sod put in which I will do soon and also a few bad spots in front.
I think my yard is almost ready for a reel.and I want to cut yard low.
Looks like you have used them a lot,how low do you cut your yard?and did it make a difference filling in yard better.
What kind of grass are you cutting.
How often do you get your reel sharping.thanks again

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:28PM
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rager_w

I have Bermuda, combination of Tif II (419) and Tif-Grand at the bottom of the slope under the pine. I cut every third day during the peak growing periods. I'm going to try a growth inhibitor this year to see how that affects my mowing. I backlap the reel monthly. Haven't had to get the reel ground yet. That's usually $100 to get it done, unless your friendly with the local greens keeper.

I have quite a slope too as you can see from the picture. It is hard work using the powered reel mower on the slope. The Trimmer (brand) is by far the best becuase it is very heavy so it climbs easily. The previous Mclane and Tru Cut had to be pushed some up the hill. I need to slow the Trimmer down (change gears) so I'm not chasing it down the hill. The speed is variable, just not enough.

You can tell the difference because the turf begins to grow horizontally and gets incredibly dense. I have a power rake that I use monthly during the growing season, to thin the canopy a bit. I also use straight N2 every 30 days and alfalfa annually. My neighbors think I'm nuts. One guy stopped his car and asked me what kind of lawn mower I was using, Ha! Keeping Bermuda at this level is quite a hobby!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:11PM
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rager_w

Here's a picture of my 25" Trimmer. I think it was made in the mid to late 90's. It's a beast.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:16PM
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tnjdm

rager,

How many square feet you doing? The reason I ask is the thread started with 17" for 6,500 sq. ft. That seems like a lot of lawn for a 17" (of course from a physical standpoint this statement is coming from a 58 year old who smoked for a good portion of his life).

I have about 11K square feet of Bermuda I had put in last year and picked up a 58" pull behind and drove down to Atlanta and picked up a 20" Tru-Cut of of Craigslists a couple of weeks ago.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 7:27AM
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rager_w

My front turf area is only about 3500 sq ft. The back is roughly 10k, so I use a tractor (rotary) for that.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:53AM
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