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Lawn Mower History and Information Guide

By Denise Valenzuela

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This is the first in a series of posts about everything lawn mowers.  In the following series of blogs we will take a deep dive into their usage, their cost and their impact on the environment.  Read on for a quick background check of the history of lawn mowers and their constant evolution.

Pay Attention to What Your Mowing

Once you purchase a mower, don’t overuse it. Lawns originated in England, where rainfall was sufficient to keep lawns watered naturally. When Americans adopted the green lawn, we realized that we needed to use lots of water in maintenance. A hose running a sprinkler is estimated to use nine gallons per minute, or 530 gallons per hour. Ways to reduce water waste include planting drought-resistant local grasses, leaving grass clippings on the lawn, using organic fertilizers, and using xeriscaping tricks, such as building zen gardens with rocks and statues. These water tips will help reduce the time you spend mowing.

Debris

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the most deadly threat from lawn mowers is flying debris. Riding mowers cause 95 deaths each year, while walk-behind mowers cause three.

To prevent injuries, wear shoes while mowing. More than 80,000 people are sent to U.S. hospitals each year because of lawn-mowing accidents, mostly because of debris shooting out from the blades. It’s also a good idea to wear glasses, earplugs, and even a face mask.

In rare cases, lawn mowers have been known to spread fatal diseases, as was the bizarre result in 2000 on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a man died after his mower turned tularemia—an infectious disease spread by rabbits, beavers, and other animals—from a carcass in his yard into an aerosol.

And while it is always nice to get kids to understand the importance of a strong work ethic, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that they should be at least 12 years old before mowing the lawn. Kids should also never ride along while adults are cutting the grass.

Check out the next feature to get a better understanding of these shocking EPA Statistics: Gas Mowers represent 5% of U.S. Air Pollution. One hour of gas-powered lawn mowing produces as much pollution as four hours of driving a car.

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