View Full Version : reel mowers

12-16-2002, 06:28 PM
Has anyone here used reel mowers for commercial use as part of an environmentally friendly lawn care program?

12-16-2002, 08:57 PM
i only use them on sports fields. That is the only use i have for them.

12-16-2002, 09:31 PM
I've potentially got a market for people who don't want the noise and polution of moterized mowers. Was considering as a selling point, using regular push reels for small <5000 sq ft lawns.
I would charge 1.5 times regular rate (or more depending)

I figure lower maintenance, higher rate, although lower production, may give me a niche :confused:

12-16-2002, 09:33 PM
I know a guy that uses one. Very expensive machine and it breaks down quite a bit. I don't think he maintains it properly. I never looked real close at how well it cuts but from the street, I can tell which lawn he does because the striping it leaves is perfect. It looks like the lawn is "painted." Last I knew, he was trying to sell it. I think it is a Toro? but I'm not sure.

I think there would be problems with maintaining the reels. My rotary blades can get beat up from rocks, golfballs etc. Just imagine the headaches with reels!!

12-16-2002, 09:44 PM
there is a lot of maintence even in a manual oush reel. You can not sharpen them just like a rotary blade. everything is presion ground. Daily tightening of reel to bedknife, and if the HOC is going to over about 1-1 1/2 then you are better off with a rotary. This is just my 2 censt from using reel mowers alot. Good luck

12-16-2002, 09:56 PM
Scott's has a reel that cuts as high as 3" (which is what I need in my colder Zone 4. Do reels work at that height? Or will they miss a lot?


12-16-2002, 10:09 PM
yes they work, at that hieght i perfer a rotary. What types of grass will you be cutting with it?

12-16-2002, 10:32 PM
I found an old push type reel mower by a dumpster, ive been told it could be a collectors item. But about reel type mowers, I worked at a golf course for 2yrs and they use reel types for the greens and fairways and approach areas around the greens. The rough is cut by rotary mowers. From what i have experianced i wouldnt use a reel type to cut say a 1acre lot, they do follow the contour of the ground nicely and stripe incredible, but for say 2inches and above reel types will show their downside which is what i mentioned earlier they scalp and leave uneven of cut considering not every lawn is flat as a parking lot. They also dont chop leaves up that well or spread out the clippings that well after being cut. Yes those types of machines are a headache to maintain, watching the mechanic do daily maintenance on the blade height and sharpness. Much quicker with rotary.

My uncle told me I should find a old beater of a truck put my reel mower in the back along with those scissor type weedeaters from the old days and a broom and shovel and show up at a customers home, charging them the regular price of a mowing. See what they say :D

12-16-2002, 10:40 PM
got a 1958 model i've been restoreing for on an off the past 2 winters got it for 10 bucks at yard sale .Other than that no ya ! but i'am in a different part of the country than you are .good luck

12-17-2002, 12:23 AM
Yes, but not as a 'environmentally friendly' service. I take care of seven acres of soccers fields with a 7' wide reel mower.
The work this machine performs versus my time in adjusting it, the mower paid for itself much more quickly than my other machines.
Additionally, I also repair machines similar to these, and yes, like those used on a golf course as well.
I have never tried to sell an environmetally friendly lawn care service. I have no idea if a niche market exists, particularly when you consider the shape the current economy and markets are in.
As far as your uncle's comment - I'll bet him, if I pull up in front of a property with my reel mower equipment, and you pull up with your rotary, the turfgrass I cut will be in better shape and look better than yours.
The only thing a reel mower won't do is bag leaves - so you got me there.

12-17-2002, 09:51 AM
Yeah im sure your commercial type reel mower will make the lawn look alot better than a rotary. Just as long as the lawn is flat i think.
I was talking about pulling up with this old push type reel, but i get what your saying. Yeah ive seen the grounds crew at Miller Park here in Milwaukee use Toro reel types to make the stripes and to cut the grass really well. Looks nice. :)

12-17-2002, 01:03 PM
I use a reel mower attachment on one of my older Gravleys for a customer that requested this type of mowing. It does take a lot of maintenance to keep the equipment up but I enjoy doing that. I have tried this on lawns that were not too flat and the results were not good in the least. Demo what you are thinking about purchasing first!


12-17-2002, 08:20 PM
Used to achieve awesome results from reel mowers by treating lawns with primo maxx. Meant we could cut shorter without over stressing the lawn. ie see any major league baseball park etc. Had to walk lawns before hand and pick up every stick or rock on the property. Sharpening weekly & adjusting the reels everyday is always fun. Never went anywhere without a spanner. Cant beat a reel mower though for quality of cut and finished product.

edward hedrick
12-17-2002, 09:40 PM
I started with a 70" Locke triplex, bought a 44" toro w/b.

it was easier to useand maintain than the Locke. They are still in

business have a great web site. Ed

12-17-2002, 10:23 PM
I used a National triplex mower 84inch cut. They reminded me of a garden tractor. But yeah those reel mowers can cut short grass without damaging the root structure.

12-17-2002, 10:50 PM
Our greens mowers and fairway mower are reel mowers once had a rough mower that was a reel mower but finnally went with a large Jacobsen Ranger rotary but I would not ever think of mowing a lawn with a reel mower seems like way to much work.

The Mowerdude
12-17-2002, 11:00 PM
This has turned into a pretty good thread. But one thing that no one has mentioned, so I'm thinking that I may be wrong.

Isn't it true that reel type mowers do a very good job on stemless types of turfgrasses such as bermuda, centipede, St. Augie but not so good on grasses with stems such as fescue?

12-17-2002, 11:09 PM
I think you are right here is some ways but I can mow stem grassas like Fescue as long as I don't let it get to tall or stemmy with my reel mowers. Which can be a reel pain in the Butt!