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Friday 10 February 2012

Choosing a Lawn Tractor - FEBRUARY

A 'sweeping' collection system avoids grass clogging
When it comes to the weather, the only thing you can count on is its unpredictability. The British climate, for instance, is notoriously wet and on most days, even when it has not rained, the grass is often damp.

If you live somewhere where long dry summers are not guaranteed, you definitely need to take the weather into consideration when choosing your next lawn tractor.

Avoid the GREEN ARM

Many lawn mowers, not just tractors, struggle to collect wet grass. The tell tale signs that your mower is failing are rolls or clumps of grass left in the cutting path. This usually means that the discharge chute is blocked. The blades continue to spin, throwing clippings to the edge of the deck where they are deposited in soggy piles behind the mower.

An unsightly lawn is not the worst symptom of cutting wet grass. There is, of course, 'the green arm'! This common condition of lawn enthusiasts is caused by the regular practice of unclogging the collector discharge chute or cutting deck. Your arm reaches in and fumbles around in the soggy clippings trying to free up the blockage. On retraction, you will discover beautiful green staining all the way up to the armpit. For those who are particularly unfortunate, a mown stinging nettle mixed in with grass adds additional discomfort.

What's the answer?

If you are purchasing a new lawn tractor, pay particular attention to the collection method. Cheaper, vacuum based collection systems are more likely to clog in wet grass. Look for a powered collector. They use a spinning brush to sweep the clippings from the lawn and they work independently from the cutter deck. This type collection system allows you to mow in most weather conditions.

Consider the number of blades and the configuration of the cutter deck, Single or twin bladed decks may not perform as well as triple cut decks which use air disturbance to throw the cuttings to the rear of the mower.

When cutting, ensure that you are operating at maximum RPM. The lawn tractor will need the extra torque from the engine to cut through the heavier, wet grass.

If the grass feels really damp, consider raising the cutter deck and 'topping' the grass rather than mowing. This will tidy the lawn until it has dried sufficiently for a full cut.

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