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 Spring into Lawn Mowing

 By Lillian & Dave Brummet

Ahh. Spring arrives with the beautiful twittering of birds preparing their nests for the unborn. What - can't hear them? The low rumble of lawn mowers not only drowns out natures' symphony, but also disturbs skittish wildlife and sleepy neighbors.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some older gas-powered lawn mowers produce in one hour as much air pollution as a new car does in 11 hours. Lawn mowers newer than 1996 have to comply to new exhaust emission standards, which is a fantastic place to begin. However, these standards are not yet satisfying for the health of the world.

Gasoline-powered mowers produce a cut that results in greater water loss and increased disease problems in lawns. Although many are now made with 4-stroke engines (much less polluting than 2-stroke engines), they still produce emissions.

There is a returned interest in push mowers due to environmental awareness of gas engine pollution and electricity use. Typically, crowded cities are resulting in smaller lawns, reducing the need for large, heavy mowers. Push mowers are light and easy to operate and, being much smaller, take up less storage room and do not pollute. These mowers are actually quite cheap and many stores are rising to meet the increased consumer interest. We have read that 7-blade models are considered better than 5-blade models.

There are other choices on the market than electric, push and gas lawn mowers. There are solar-powered models, too. We read of one featured in Omni magazine that operated on its own, traveling the entire lawn area during the day and resting at night. It looked to be about the size of a vacuum power-head. Apparently, a special fence is used to keep it within the lawn boundary and there is a built in alarm to prevent theft.

Old defunct lawn mowers that are not operating still have some use. Remove the blade, motor, cords, wires and gas tank, leaving the four-wheeled caddy and its push handle. Secure a box to this and create a wheeled cart that is perfect for harvesting or toting material around the property.

The metal frame of most lawn mowers is recyclable and its' wheels are often prized by workshop-creation crafters. The motor and remaining parts might also be appreciated at a repair shop where they could be reused.

There are alternatives to traditional grass, from wildflower mixes to low-growing ground covers, which rarely need mowing. Landscaping a portion or the entire area with drought tolerant, wildlife supporting plants is a very environmentally active engagement that either eliminates or reduces mowing needs. And really, who couldn't use a little more time on their hands?

So get your exercise, reduce air and noise pollution; save yourself some money and have a healthier lawn. Or let the sun run the mower for you. Either way, the world will breathe a little easier and maybe you will hear a songbird or two.





About the Author
-- Written by Dave and Lillian Brummet based on the concept of their book, Trash Talk. The book offers useful solutions for the individual to reduce waste and better manage resources. A guide for anyone concerned about their impact on the environment. (http://www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit)

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