Lawn Mowers For Bermuda Grass
Lawn Mower 101 - Bermuda Grass
There are two basic types of lawn mowers: rotary mowers and reel mowers. The blades on a rotary mower spin horizontally (parallel) to the ground while the blades on a reel mower spin vertically (perpendicular) to the ground.
Both rotary and reel mowers are available for bermuda grass as walk-behind and riding models. In addition, rotary and reel motors can be found as both gas-powered and electric-powered machines.
What lawn mower is best for Bermuda Grass?
First, let us clarify that we are not here to recommend a specific brand and model of lawn mower. Organizations like Consumer Reports provide great evaluations for lawn tools like mowers. What we will focus on is a recommendation of the best types of mowers.
Let's start with how bermuda grass needs to be cut. Bermuda grass looks and performs best when cut short, usually between 1/4 and 3/4 inches. However, if you are not looking for a putting green in your front yard, a length of 1 to 1.5 inches will still force the bermuda grass to leaf outward rather than upward and create a thick carpet that helps choke out weeds.
So here are the facts. Reel mowers are best for cutting short and clean. The best bermuda grass lawns in my neighborhood are mowed with power reel mowers and they look like golf courses. For bermuda grass, you should consider a reel mower with no fewer than seven blades. And if your lawn takes more than 20 or 30 minutes to mow, you should consider a power reel mower. The drawbacks are that reel mowers generally require sharpening by a professional service and power reel mowers are usually more expensive to purchase and maintain than power rotary mowers.
So, if you are OK with your bermuda grass being a touch longer, a walk-behind rotary mower will do a very nice job for the best price. Just check the manufacturer's specifications to be sure the mower can lowered to about one inch.
Riding mowers, both traditional and zero-turn models, can make large bermuda grass mowing jobs easier on the body and the time schedule. Our one big complaint about riding mowers is their weight. Soil compaction can lead to several problems that eventually cause your bermuda grass to thin and riding mowers accelerate soil compaction second only to driving a car across your lawn. You should core and aerate your bermuda grass lawn every year or two already so don't make things harder on your lawn if you don't have to. Nevertheless, we've seen plenty of bermuda grass lawns mowed with a riding machine that look just fine.
Otherwise, keep your mower blade sharp, mow at least once per week (twice is ideal), and follow our other recommendations and you'll find your bermuda grass lawn a beautiful and practical enhancement to your home.