best type of mower for Palisades Zoysia???

jeffgdulaAugust 12, 2009

We have a brand new lawn of Palisades Zoysia and I am still debating what type of mower to get. The lawn is about 1/5 of an acre. I only have experience with rotary mowers, but it sounds like a reel mower may give the better cut. I don't mind a little more work mowing if the results will be better. Any suggestions?

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

rotary mower at 2-3 inches cutting height (you decide what looks best) is fine as long as you maintain sharp blade at all times. Zoysia tend to wear out blade fast. Keep air filter clean too. Most people don't do that and it saps power...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:29PM
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wrager(Z5 OH)

I would use a manual (no engine) reel mower for a lawn that small. Is there a 10 blade manual available. I use a Brill for my front yard, but it is only 5 blades...and I have Bermuda.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 2:06PM
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If you have to ask chances are a reel mower is not for you. A powered reel is expensive and requires more maintenance than the rotary and only provides that better cut when it is adjusted properly. You need to like to tinker if you become a "reel man". I have a reel and love it but I also have a walk behind rotary and riding mower as back up because sometimes conditions force me to use them. A top of the line rotary will provide an excellent cut that isn't far behind the reel. I use a toro self pace and am very happy with it. The only thing I would like to change is the wheel width. Wish I could find some wider wheels.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 8:06PM
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I have a sun lawn lm40 push reel and i dont have to really tinker. Its a non contact version so i wont have to have it sharpened for several years. Its near totally silent and light enough i can pick it up with one hand. I wipe the blades off and spray w/ silicone on occasion but that about it. It was also much cheaper than a powered mower.

If had a medium yard i might go for an electric reel or a large yard a gas reel. Im hooked on the nice cut that a reel does. I cant imagine a golf course or a pro baseball diamond with a rotary.

If i make a big adjustment in cutting height, which ivolves loosening two knobs i may have to also check the blade/bed gap and adjust that by turning a bolt. If its too close it will hit and make noise, too far and i can fit a foil strip into the gap that came with the manual. I can adjust everything in less than a minute, though i rarely ever have to and im sure with alot of reels you wont need to mess with the gap spacing when adjusting cutting heights.

I imagine that zoysia would be harder to cut than bluegrass since many of the manual push reels arent recomended for zoysia or bermuda. Some are though.My grass is extremly easy to push though, a little small kid could do it.

If you let the grass get too tall it would be best for the grass and you to cut it shorter in several steps than all at once.

You will have to pick up any twigs and rocks before running a reel mower over the lawn. Manual push reel mowers, at least the kind i have mine doesnt suck up leaves or chop them fine enough so i have to collect them from the yard another way.

For a yard your size you might be able to get a rechargeble cordless electric reel or electric rotary and not have to deal w loud smelly maintance hogging gasoline engines if manual push is too much.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 8:55PM
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I am a bit confused by some of these comments. I am not a girl. I have used a push rotary mower for several years. I don't mind a non-selfpowered mower. I just have never used a rotary before and wanted to know which one would give the better cut.

Any reccos as far as what type of reel mower would work. I assume we are not talking about the $100 ones on

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 10:02AM
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If my thread confused let me clarify. My comments were not directed at any ones physical desire/abilities to cut grass. I was sharing my personal experiences using both the motorized reel and rotary mowers. Obviously there will be a wide variance of opinions. The "best" cut will always be an elusive term because of a variety of situations, (mower condition, length of grass, condition of grass, and the levelness of terrain and others). All conditions being perfect I would rank them as follows: 1. motorized reel 2. rotary 3. push reel. With that said under those conditions each of these mowers would provide excellent cuts. The rotary mower would move up in standings the less level the yard becomes or the taller the grass. The push reel provides a decent cut but my observations show when grasses become longer the quality of cut can decrease based on the uniformity of the power provided by the pusher. The most important factor is the sharpness of the blades on all the mowers. The scissor cut style of the reels leaves less browning on the tips of the grass. The rotary is the easiest and cheapest to maintain while the motorized reel is by far the most difficult and expensive to maintain. My question is when does a good looking yard need to be cut? Answer: A good looking yard never needs to be cut. A yard under those principles, a push reel would cut as well as the other two. However, if a yard is like mine and sometimes goes a bit long before cutting one would be wise to have another back up mower to sometimes bail themselves out.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 11:27AM
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If you are willing to accept the challenges that a gas powered Reel mower will adjusting reel to bedknife clearance frequently, and backlapping twice a season or so..Maybe more with Zoysia... I would highly recommend a powered reel mower. Zoysia will be very tough to cut with a push reel mower. You asked for actual recommendations and I will give you mine. Of the three most common home owner Reel Mowers, Tru-Cut, IMO is far and away the superior machine. I also own a McLane and previously owned a Trimmer when they were called California Trimmer several years ago. They have changed ownership and I don't know if the design is the same. Tru-Cut is designed better, built MUCH better, and is very easy to adjust cutting height, and vary your ground/reel speed independently. McLanes are the cheapest price-wise but also the flimsiest. I'm sure you have checked prices on all three of these and have found they are not cheap. With McLanes running close to 1200.00 and Tru-Cut into the 2000.00's, you have to be fairly commited and be willing to learn how to work on them.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 3:34PM
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I spent $110, it was a discontinued model, so it was marked down $50. Much higher quality than the ones sold at home depot. My grass isnt thick tough and doesnt contain silica like zoysia does though. Its too cold up here for zoysia.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 7:17PM
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the Easun ideal40 and the lower quality American bent, are manual push mower that can cut zoysia. I dont know how much effort or time it would take with zoysia though. The Eason sunlawn EM-2 Cordless is similar to the ideal40 but with a 75minute battery and motor.

Theres a like a half dozen different brands of cordless elctric rotary mowers on the market.

the trucut will defininly give you the best looking cut and i think can go down to putting green height if you had that kind of grass or desire, reelfanatic will corect me if im wrong there.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 7:44PM
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I cant compare, the push reel to the powerd since i dont have experience with powered, but i would rate good push reels ahead of rotary unless you have a yard that is uneven and your grass is grown tall.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 7:50PM
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by manual or push, were refering to lightweight sharp fully muscle powered mowers, reelfanatic can tell you if the gas powered kind are 'self propelled' or not.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 8:08PM
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reelfanatic do the powered kind spin the blades at higher rpms than the manual push kind or the larg gang reels you pull behind a tractor?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 8:12PM
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@mike... Yes the powered reel mowers are self propelled. The McLane utilizes a pulley and belt system to activate the drive wheels and another pulley belt and chain system to operate the reel. The Trimmer and Tru-Cut both use clutches, but the Tru-Cut uses two automotive type clutches so you can creep along very slow or move quickly, and everything in between. Imagine a gas pedal for your left thumb. The reel speed is also independent of the ground speed clutch. And yes the reel speed or (clip rate) of the powered reels is much higher than that of muscle power. This can be detrimental though, if you are using a 10 blade reel or using a very high ground speed. You would need to slow the speed of the reel in relation to the forward motion. This can only be done with the Tru-Cut. Tru-Cut's and Trimmers can cut down to 3/8ths, which is low but not close to putting green heights. McLane home putting green models can cut down to 1/8th.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 8:25PM
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I have a Mclane push reel (no motor) that I like very much.Produces an excellent cut on my bermuda.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:11AM
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looking at the mclane website they make hand push reels, non self propelled gas reels and self proppelled gas reels.

Their hand push reel looks like it has the wheels in front instead of on the side which might help it get closer to walls and obstacles. It doesnt look like that mclane can be hung up flat on the wall like my lm40 can though lol. I wish i had some bermuda or zoysia and a few good push reels and powerd reels to test and play with.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 7:43PM
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Also that push mclane throws cliping in front instead of the rear like other push reels. weasel does that mclane weigh under 20lbs without the grass catcher? It looks alot heavier.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 7:59PM
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I just installed a new Zoysia lawn, too. The plot with Zoysia is only 900 square feet, so I feel like a push reel mower wouldn't be too much trouble. Do people have any positive or negative thoughts on the classic Scots 20"?

Also, I read the previous post that stress the importance of sharpening the blades. Is this something that I could do with a simple hand file in less than 30-minutes, or do I need to take it to a pro?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 8:05PM
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Check out the link below for a recent discussion on your question.

Here is a link that might be useful: Reel Mower

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 4:03PM
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