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Rotary Mowers part 2

Never try to free a jammed blade on a cylinder mower or clean out the build-up of clippings on the underside of the canopy of a rotary one while the power is on, and the engine is running (unless of course, you feel some of your ten fingers are surplus to requirements).

How to mow: It may seem unnecessary to mention this, but the only way to use a mower is to walk up and down behind it. It is dangerous to walk backwards, pulling the machine towards you (you cannot do it anyway if it is self-propelled), you could fall and mow yourself instead, and you will never get neat, straight lines if you cannot see where you’re going. It is also not a good idea to walk ahead, dragging it behind you — you cannot see what it is up to. It should not be necessary to cut grass in a series of short pushes and jabs, such as you often see with people using a hand mower. If the mower will not cut properly unless you do this, there is something wrong. In the case of a hand mower, it is usually because the grass is overgrown, the blades need adjusting or the cylinder is just plain blunt, and a good service will put it right. With a powered cylinder mower, it is often because it is attempting to cut grass which is too long. Try raising the blades. If this does not work, the grass is too much for this type of mower, and should be shortened first using a rotary kind. If you have the same trouble with this, raising the blade to its highest point will usually help. With a hover-mower, it is generally because the grass is either too long, or the blade is blunt. It is not a good idea to mow wet grass. This compacts the soil surface, the grass cuts badly, and if there is no grassbox, solid chunks of soggy clippings are left all over the lawn.

The rotary cultivator: This is a petrol, diesel, two-stroke or, occasionally, electrically powered machine with rotating tillers which will turn over clean soil and produce a fine tilth. It is useful for large, well maintained vegetable plots and the final preparation of soil in new gardens but it is not a substitute for digging, especially in weed-infested ground, where perennial roots can have spread to create a major problem. The most efficient machines are very expensive and the capital outlay is only justified if you think you may need to use it regularly. Cultivators are available from hire shops, which might be a useful consideration for occasional work.


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