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MANUAL "REEL" LAWN MOWERS YIELD HEALTHIER, GREENER LAWNS

 MANUAL "REEL" LAWN MOWERS YIELD HEALTHIER, GREENER LAWNS
 SHELBYVILLE, Ind., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Golf-course greenskeepers have long used reel lawn mowers for lush, smooth, greener greens. You too can maintain healthier, greener grass with a reel lawn mower -- the manual kind with no engine.
 "A reel mower is for the guy wanting a quality cut," said Ed Etchells. Etchells is in charge of grow-in and course maintenance for more than 85 Jack Nicklaus golf courses around the world. "Reels are used to cut the tees, greens and fairways. The reels follow the contour of the ground better than a rotary. Rotary can scalp when the terrain is uneven."
 According to Dick Crum, horticulturist with the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, "Reel lawn mowers yield greener grass since the blades snip grass like a pair of scissors, cleanly and evenly -- sealing in vital fluids. Rotary mowers tend to make the grass look yellow since the mower blades dull easily and end up tearing the grass -- drying out the grass."
 If not sharpened monthly, rotary power mower blades often become dull, chopping and ripping the grass. According to "Consumer Reports" (June 1990), "...dull blades tear grass, leaving a larger area of tissue vulnerable to disease organisms."
 Reel mowers can go through one or more cutting seasons before needing to be sharpened.
 The forerunner to power mulching mowers, reels precisely snip grass blades, providing a fine spray of grass -- no clumps -- that decompose quickly. The natural mulching mower.
 "With a reel mower, you can leave the clippings on the lawn, which adds up to one free application of fertilizer," Crum said.
 This is now called "grasscycling." If you do want to collect your clippings for a compost pile, grass catchers are available.
 The nation's largest and oldest manufacturer of reel mowers, the American Lawn Mower Company/Great States Corporation in Indiana, has been handcrafting reel mowers for nearly 100 years. In 1991 American experienced a 30 percent increase in demand -- 135 percent since 1985.
 Why the revitalization? American's vice president, Jim Hewitt explained, "In the 1980s, with real estate costing so much, yards became smaller and people wanted a lawn mower that was hassle free. In a recent customer survey small lawn and the environmentally friendly benefit tied for first for the reasons people bought our reel mowers. The response was 21 percent for each, followed by ease of maintenance, health reasons, low price, safety concerns, superior cut and nostalgia."
 Reel mowers work well on yards less than an acre, as well as for trimming.
 According to Etchells, "Fescue, bent, Bermuda and most blues and rye work best with reels."
 American's reel mowers cut every type of turf grass. One specific model, the deluxe/light mower, cleanly cuts even the thick-bladed St. Augustine grass. And the seven-blade bent-grass mower is designed for Bermuda and other low creeping grasses. On rough, hilly lawns, five-bladed reel mowers with cast iron wheels are recommended. (American handcrafts nine different models of reel mowers, its sole product).
 Using the reel mower isn't the chore it used to be. Today reel mowers are lighter: 16 to 31 pounds, compared with the 40 to 60 pounds years ago. They're easier to push -- cutting as quickly as you can walk. They're also easy to lift or store.
 American/Great States designed its mowers so they can be sharpened easily at home, even by novice do-it-yourselfers. Detailed sharpening instructions -- just a few simple steps -- accompany each mower. A newly designed sharpening kit is also available directly from the manufacturer.
 Reel lawn mowers manufactured by American/Great States may be found at a variety of retailers coast to coast. For information: American Lawn Mower Company/Great States Corporation, P.O. Box 369, Shelbyville, IN, 46176, or call 317-392-3615.
 -0- 2/25/92
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Media kits and photos available./
 /CONTACT: Rick Thompson or Ann Woolman of CRE Public Relations, 317-631-0260, for American Lawn Mower Company/ CO: American Lawn Mower Company ST: Indiana IN: SU:


SM -- NYGFNS4 -- 2147 02/25/92 07:14 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 25, 1992
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