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How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:54 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:... for clearing grass clippings off the sidewalk...

See, here's a perfect example of what I consider the insanity surrounding lawn care/equipment.

First, I simply don't understand the compulsion to do this to begin with. It's not like some grass clippings on the sidewalk are a hazard or anything.
Second, firing up a power tool really seems easier to you than a broom?
Finally, you do know that if you do nothing, those grass clippings will disappear all by themselves via the magic of wind and rain, right?

I'm not really knocking you, 'cuz I know everyone does this, I just don't know why.

Considering the "firing up" involves literally flipping a switch, I'm gonna vote "yes" on easier than a broom, not to mention the actual effort is more effective. And no one said they're a hazard. But as to letting nature take its course:

1) They get tracked into the house, which I then have to clean up anyway.

2) They don't actually blow away; they migrate to the edges of the sidewalk, where they build up--becoming unsightly (to my eyes, anyway), and sheltering the growth of weeds along the edge of the lawn.

3) "Not really knocking" me does not, apparently, preclude talking down to me a little with the "magic of wind and rain" bit. But that's cool.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:02 am

Even some professional landscapers offer an option to have your yard work done with minimal carbon-based power input. I know, a leaf blower is one itty-bitty thing. But doesn't anybody think about home energy usage when doing this kind of routine maintenance?

I hate lecturing, but this one is so darn easy.

On Capitol Square, the landscaping crew purposely leaves the grass clippings on the lawn. They say the clippings actually contribute to soil health like compost. At least they did this until Walker -- for all I know he's decided to pour coal dust on the whole thing to pay off his campaign donors.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:08 am

TheBookPolice wrote:1) They get tracked into the house, which I then have to clean up anyway.

Fair enough.

TheBookPolice wrote:2) They don't actually blow away; they migrate to the edges of the sidewalk, where they build up--becoming unsightly (to my eyes, anyway), and sheltering the growth of weeds along the edge of the lawn.

Forgive my ignorance, but don't they just migrate to the edges of the sidewalk when you use the leaf blower on them? Seems to me wind is wind, whether coming out of a tube or occurring naturally, but I readily admit that I don't know squat about leaf blowers.
TheBookPolice wrote:3) "Not really knocking" me does not, apparently, preclude talking down to me a little with the "magic of wind and rain" bit. But that's cool.

My post shouldn't have been directed at you specifically, it was a rumination on what I consider the pointlessness of the process and everyone who participates in it. And honestly, there is no way to argue with anyone else's aesthetic notions of what a yard/walk/home should look like, so just saying "I like it better that way" is reason enough. I'm just trying to understand that position because to me, it all just seems like a waste of time. But that's how I feel about yards in general. If it were up to me, I'd just let Nature have her way with every inch of my yard.
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:12 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:2) They don't actually blow away; they migrate to the edges of the sidewalk, where they build up--becoming unsightly (to my eyes, anyway), and sheltering the growth of weeds along the edge of the lawn.

Forgive my ignorance, but don't they just migrate to the edges of the sidewalk when you use the leaf blower on them? Seems to me wind is wind, whether coming out of a tube or occurring naturally, but I readily admit that I don't know squat about leaf blowers.

Not really. The leaf blower usually shoots them back up onto the lawn. (Sno, I have a mulching mower so the clippings on my lawn stay there--though they're so small you don't see 'em anyway.)
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby barney » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:19 am

Carbon impact notwithstanding, leaf blowers are really freakin' annoying. Maybe it's just because my OCD neighbor mows his damn lawn every other fucking day and then blows off the sidewalk and his whole driveway for what seems like hours on end.

Book, I see your point about not tracking the shit in the house, other than that, I don't really see a point. I mow my lawn with the discharge pointing in, so I double mulch stuff and have less on the sidewalk.

On another note, do people prefer spirals or rows? I never knew people mowed in rows (other than ballparks) until I saw the aforementioned neighbor do it. I had a ton of trees and shit to mow around as a kid, plus I lived in the country with a giant lawn, so I've always been a spiral person.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby jman111 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:29 am

Definitely rows. But I've always used push mowers. I understand spiraling with riding mowers, given the turning radius usually required.
My preference is actually diagonal rows. Of course, alternating diagonals at subsequent mowings is expected. How's that fer OCD.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:40 am

I used to mow my grandma's yard in diagonal rows when I was a kid. I only did it out front where people could see. In the back yard it was spirals. Now it's spirals front and back at my house.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby Ducatista » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:51 am

Off topic, but worthy of note (to me, at least—I can't get it out of my head): last week I was sitting outside at Maduro with a few friends, and not one, but TWO of the guys had gotten a foot run over by a lawnmower. One of them has a full big toe but the others are dramatically shortened. The other has no toes at all on the mown foot.

Weirder still: just the day before I'd told a Japanese coworker about the American cultural meme of foot-in-the-lawnmower. I said I wasn't sure how often it ever happened, that maybe it was one of those super-rare occurrences that gets overblown because it's so creepy.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby gargantua » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:54 am

The thing I hate about leaf blowers is that the sound carries so damn far. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, all it takes is one guy, a couple of blocks away, and the quiet of the day is ruined for however long he feels he needs to run it.

By the way, I've never seen a woman using one of these. I'm sure there must be a few, maybe grizzly mamas in Alaska, but it seems like one of those "guy things".

One wonders how civilization got by before these things were invented. Must have been pretty awful.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby supaunknown » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:13 pm

A spriral is a curve that starts from a central point and works it's way outward. This is how some people mow their lawn? Strange. I do the opposite - start by mowing around the entire perimeter and gradually work my way around the perimeter inward. Hardly ever do I make 180° turns and mow "rows". I mean, why turn 180° when you can turn 90° to keep mowing?

Leaf blowers = noise pollution
Personal watercraft = NOISE POLLUTION
A loud hi-rev motor + the efficient way sound can travel over water means just one rich prick on a Jetski can ruin an entire lake's serenity.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:20 pm

gargantua wrote:The thing I hate about leaf blowers is that the sound carries so damn far.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa-QUaqUN3w
(Bonus: recorded at the High Noon. NSFW language.)

Stebben84 wrote:I used to mow my grandma's yard in diagonal rows when I was a kid. I only did it out front where people could see. In the back yard it was spirals. Now it's spirals front and back at my house.

Ok. So someone once told me he varied mowing patterns to "help the grass grow thicker." I'm calling bullshit on this. Is there any reason to worry about patterns, other than to serve one's visual OCD and throw the gauntlet down to the neighbors?

Incidentally, I notice diagonal patterns more in affluent suburbs, for whatever reason.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby jman111 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:41 pm

supaunknown wrote:A spriral is a curve that starts from a central point and works it's way outward. This is how some people mow their lawn? Strange. I do the opposite - start by mowing around the entire perimeter and gradually work my way around the perimeter inward.

I assumed that's what we meant by spiral.

ilikebeans wrote:Ok. So someone once told me he varied mowing patterns to "help the grass grow thicker."

I think it was a bigger issue before mulching mowers. And I think it dealt more with evenness of growth than thickness. We had to do it with our old mower to prevent rows of dead grass buildup that were inevitable if we always mowed rows in the same direction.

ilikebeans wrote:Incidentally, I notice diagonal patterns more in affluent suburbs, for whatever reason.

Cuz they pay someone to do it. It's kind of a pain (relatively speaking, of course) with most yards. That's why it's not as common.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby barney » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:04 pm

Spirals can start on the outside and work in too (that's what I do). I think in lawn terms it refers more to the pattern that's left when you're done?
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:09 pm

barney wrote:Spirals can start on the outside and work in too (that's what I do)


Technically no. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral. But it's a yard and I don't think the neighbors are gonna quibble over mathematics.
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Re: How early is it OK to start mowing the lawn?

Postby brentron909 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:47 pm

All this talk of grass-cutting patterns reminds me of the last few years at Milwaukee County Stadium. Although the stadium was a bit of a dump, the outfield always looked great.

Image
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