6 Benefits of a Robotic Lawn Mower. The robotic lawn mower

What You Should Know About Commercial Robotic Lawn Mowers Your Property

So you’re driving along in southern Maryland and see a commercial riding mower cruising along cutting the grass. No big deal.

Except there’s nobody on board.

It’s not haunted.2. You’re not seeing things. 3. It’s OK to stop everything and just watch the magic happen.

These things are really cool.

While you may have seen small robotic lawn mowers scooting around doing their thing, the size of one of those Roomba vacuum cleaners, get ready for the next phase — full size 60-inch ride-on commercial robotic lawn mowers.

Except maybe we shouldn’t call them ride-on anymore, right?

These full-size commercial robotic mowers aren’t being mass produced anywhere yet, but Level Green Landscaping is ahead of the game, beta testing four of the next-generation machines in partnership with Electric Sheep Robotics, a developer of autonomous navigation technology for lawn mowers. The San Francisco company turns existing commercial lawn mowers, both gas and electric, into autonomous mowers.

Michael Mayberry, chief technology officer at Level Green Landscaping, shares why this is exciting — and what you can expect next.

Commercial Robotic Lawn Mowers are Getting Bigger

Level Green has been using four small Husqvarna robotic mowers on client properties for a while now.

The small mowers bustle around the lawn completely on their own, running on a battery charge quietly, efficiently mowing the lawn.

A boundary guide wire installed underground around a property keeps the mowers contained, sort of like invisible fencing for dogs.

When they’re done mowing, they head back to their charging stations — right on the clients’ property — and get ready for the next day’s work.

But these small commercial robotic lawn mowers only cut a 12-inch section of lawn at a time. That’s not practical for a commercial landscaping company like Level Green, with customers that often have large expanses of turf.

Meet Electric Sheep

Now Level Green has partnered with Electric Sheep to beta test four of their large mowers. The 60-inch zero-turn machines were manufactured by Gravely and fitted with autonomous technology by Electric Sheep. The robotic mowers use laser-based computer vision technology, cameras, GPS and ultrasonic sensors to maneuver across diverse terrain.

Level Green is using the mowers in Southern Maryland to mow the expansive properties of the St. Mary’s County parks and schools, which have lots of wide-open areas.

It’s Win-Win Mowing

The partnership benefits everybody involved, Mayberry says.

“As we use these robotic mowers it gives Electric Sheep data they need to improve the mowers’ function,” he says. “Meanwhile, it helps us get ahead of the game by figuring out the logistics well ahead of our competitors.

“Everything that’s happening on the mower is captured,” Mayberry says. “How much overlap is there in each pass? How is it doing on 3-point turns? How many acres are mowed in a day? How does temperature and weather affect function? Everything is logged.”

Meanwhile, Level Green is working out the complicated details of using larger commercial robotic lawn mowers — much sooner than any of their competitors.

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

“It’s a big challenge,” Mayberry says. “We have to rethink how we deploy mowers with our crews. Transportation is a challenge.”

These commercial robotic lawn mowers are fitted with delicate sensors, which means they need more space around them on trailers than standard riding mowers. That might mean two mowers per trailer instead of three.

Level Green has to work out the logistics in charging the mowers, too, including upgrading the shop’s power supply to power a whole fleet of electric equipment.

“As we give Electric Sheep the data they need to improve, we’re working through wrinkles on our end, too,” Mayberry says. “We’re doing it now, ahead of this technology going mainstream. We’re dealing with some inefficiencies now as we figure this out, but when all our competitors start doing it, we’ll already have all the logistics figured out and be ahead of the game.”

Why Should Our Customers Care?

Robotic Mowers Are Quiet

These mowers are nice and quiet, allowing early morning or nighttime use.

The Mowing Quality is Great

Commercial robotic lawn mowers have sensors on board, combined with algorithms that ensure there are no skipped spots in your lawn.

A robotic mower understands its location down to less than a centimeter. It will absolutely know what it has mowed and what it hasn’t, providing a very consistent cut.

Meanwhile, human crews can FOCUS on details like pruning, trimming, weeding, adding seasonal color and making sure your entrances look great.

They Help the Environment

Commercial robotic lawn mowers’ reduced noise and zero emissions are a big bonus for the environment.

They’ll Help Control Costs

“Long term, robots will help us keep labor costs down,” Mayberry says. “It’s changing the way we use crews. Maybe we send robot mowers out first, and send crews later for clean-up.

Meanwhile, other landscaping companies without commercial robotic lawn mowers will always need to pay their people more year after year. They’ll be less competitive when it comes to cost.

“These mowers help us be more efficient, and that helps us control costs,” Mayberry says, “so we’ll be more competitive in pricing.”

The Future is Now

Riderless mowers cruising around your property might still seem like science fiction, but get ready.

“This is 100 percent happening,” Mayberry says. “At every single landscaping event or conference there’s a robotics panel.” He’s often on them, a sought-after expert in landscaping technology.

“It’s really intriguing to see how quickly this is catching on,” Mayberry says. “In five to 10 years these robotic mowers will be mainstream. The industry will be changed by this.”

Trust Your Commercial Property Landscape Maintenance to Level Green

As we add more commercial robotic lawn mowers to our fleet of equipment, we hope you’ll be as excited as we are.

The potential for your property is huge.

High-quality service. Even more attention to detail. Plus, they’re really cool.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our FOCUS is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities, and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC, and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

Benefits of a Robotic Lawn Mower

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

Pushing a lawn mower, even a self-propelled one, can be tedious, time-consuming work. But what if the mower pushed itself? Think Roomba for your yard. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the five benefits of a robotic lawn mower as an alternative to traditional push or riding mowers.

In this article, we will cover the six reasons to switch to a robot lawn mower:

Robot lawn mowers are convenient

Importantly, robotic lawn mowers don’t cut into your free time. They operate at night, or while you’re at work. You set the mowing schedule. Besides the occasional edging, you won’t need to spend any time worrying about the state of your grass so you can spend more time entertaining or relaxing outdoors.

The initial installation will likely take the better part of a day, but once everything is set up, your mower is almost entirely self-sufficient. Simply select the mowing schedule you wish on the onboard control panel and it will handle the rest. Many mowers connect to your home Wi-Fi or use a Bluetooth signal, allowing you to program and control them from your mobile device. This lets you set your mowing hours and weather protocols with almost no effort at all.

Because the mower makes frequent, shallow cuts, your robot will maintain a consistent cutting height throughout your turf’s growing season.

Robotic mowers cut efficiently

Yes, robotic mowers really work. Grass grows at different rates, depending upon the nutrient content in different areas of your lawn. Mowing just once a week can lead to inconsistent patches of thick and sparse growth, especially during the warmer months. A robot mower gives you that clean, even look by mowing more frequently.

Many autonomous mowers have an automatic spiral-cut feature that identifies thicker patches and dedicates extra mowing time to that area. This keeps your grass even and presentable all week long.

Consistency is key when it comes to keeping your lawn looking great. The random mowing pattern of a robot mower is designed to cover the whole lawn without leaving streaks or tire marks from following a set path. There’s no easier way to cut grass evenly than by trusting your lawn’s care to a robot.

Robo mowers are better for the environment

Like all other electric tools, robotic mowers are an eco-friendly way to cut grass. Gasoline-powered mowers present a range of problems that are solved by going electric. The emissions from gas-powered tools contribute to atmospheric carbon buildup and are harmful when breathed in. Leaks and condensation can pollute your lawn and your local watershed.

Electric mowers present an eco-friendly alternative to gas tools. While they aren’t always carbon-neutral (the electricity from your home still has a carbon footprint), they greatly reduce the environmental impact on your lawn and its immediate vicinity.

Electric motors, such as those found in robotic mowers, are also far easier to operate than their gas cousins. Engine maintenance is a thing of the past – no burning fuel means no residue or buildup. Starting a robotic mower takes a simple button press; gas engines require an air purge, choke, and cord pull to get up and running. And they are cordless, unlike many of their electric push mower cousins.

Whether or not you’re planning to switch to a robotic model, electric mowers are a much healthier and greener alternative to gas tools.

Robot mowers are quiet

Robotic mowers have another advantage over traditional lawn mowers. Their smaller cutting decks and lightweight razor blades require less motor power than full-size electric mowers and allow them to operate virtually silently. Some models, like the Gardena Sileno series, operate with as few as 56 decibels of sound output, quieter than a window-unit air conditioner.

Because you don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors, you can let your robo-mower run at night without losing sleep. For homeowners that want a beautifully manicured lawn without ever having to see or hear the mower, this option is invaluable. Most autonomous mowers come with built-in anti-theft features, so you can sleep soundly while your mechanical mower pulls a graveyard shift.

Robotic lawn mowers promote a healthy lawn

Many lawn mowers on the market include a mulching option. Whether included or available as an optional kit, mulching systems are a great way to reuse the grass clippings generated by mowing. Mulching mowers use airflow to keep the clippings airborne inside the cutting deck for a long enough time that the cutting blades slice them into fine particles.

Because robots work more frequently than traditional mowers, they cut smaller clippings. The small, lightweight razor blades on a robotic mower are sharper and spin faster, resulting in powdered clippings that are finer than most traditional mulching mowers.

Mulching your grass clippings can benefit your yard’s health greatly. Leaving full-sized grass clippings in your yard contributes to thatch buildup, a layer of dead grass that sits atop the soil and can prevent nutrients from sinking in. Finely mulched grass returns the nutrients from the blade tips to the soil, seeping in with the rain to deliver valuable nitrates directly to the roots.

Robo mowers require little maintenance

There is no oil to change, no gas to refill, there are no plugs to replace. In short, robot mowers require little maintenance: Hose off the undercarriage occasionally, change the blades once or twice a year and replace the battery every 2-4 years, and you should get 10-plus years out of your unit, and perhaps as much as 20 years.

Because of the robot mower’s convenience and utility, traditional push mowers may soon become extinct on smaller urban and suburban lawns. One important caveat: Robotic lawn mowers are still limited by the size of your lawn. Some models, like the Husqvarna 450XH, can handle yards well over an acre, but that extra capability comes with a higher price tag. The vast majority of robotic mowers are designed to cut between a quarter acre and half acre of grass. If you have a large lawn, check out our list of the best battery-powered lawn mowers or our guide to the best available riding mowers.

FAQ about robotic lawn mowers

Though it’s been improved upon considerably since, the basic technology that powers a modern robot mower was invented in the late 1960s. Most mowers are guided by a lightly electrified perimeter wire that marks the mowable area. The mower cuts often in random patterns to create consistent streak-free grass. Modern mowers will use an algorithm or GPS tracking to create a digital map of your yard to ensure complete coverage.

Curious about how robot lawn mowers work? Read How Robot Lawn Mowers Work.

Lawn Love’s independent research has shown that the WORX WR155 Landroid L has the best-value mower available today. If price is no object, the most advanced mower is the Husqvarna Automower 450XH.

For a more complete picture, check out our picks for the 8 Best Robotic Lawn Mowers

Mowing robots aren’t cheap, but some are more affordable than you might think. The main factor in a robot’s price tends to be the size of the lawn you plan to mow. Robots that mow between a quarter acre and a half acre tend to run between 1,000 and 1,500. Small urban and suburban lawns, especially those around 5,000 square feet, can find adequate robo-mowers for well under 1,000.

While you’ll certainly see a drastic reduction in the amount of time you spend thinking about your lawn, a robot won’t perform every task you need. You’ll likely need to go out every once in a while with a string trimmer to clean up the edges, especially along fences and walls. Some robots, namely the WORX Landroids, have a cut-to-edge feature that reduces or eliminates the need for extra weed wacking.

If you’re still not sold on the idea of robots, you can still take the hassle out of maintaining a beautiful lawn. Lawn Love pros are always on-call to deliver gorgeously manicured lawns at affordable prices. Until there’s a robot built for tree-trimming, leaf-raking, or weed control, nothing can beat a professional touch.

Main photo credit: Pexels | Pixabay

Are Robotic Mowers the Future of Lawn Care?

Robotic lawn mower experts sat down with us to discuss this cutting-edge technology.

Cori Sears has several years of experience in the content creation and digital marketing space, with a fierce passion for houseplants, gardening, and home decor. She contributes regularly to publications like The Spruce and Apartment Therapy, and covers news and trends for Better Homes Gardens.

In the everyday hustle and bustle of life and work, we often turn to technology to save us valuable time on tedious housework. Whether it’s your digital coffee maker, dishwasher, electric stand mixer, or robo-vacuum, advances in technology are helping homeowners everywhere spend less time on household tasks and more time doing the things that they love. It may come as no surprise, then, that you can now automate the lawn mowing process, as well.

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

Just like robotic vacuums can clean your house with just a few simple settings, robotic lawn mowers can keep your yard looking healthy and well-maintained while you sit back and enjoy some much-needed RR. If you are curious about robotic mowing but are hesitant to make the switch, here’s everything you need to know about this cutting-edge (pun intended) technology.

What Is Robotic (Or Autonomous) Mowing?

Put simply, a robotic mower is an autonomous lawn mower that is used to cut and maintain grass in a yard. Like robotic vacuums, robotic lawn mowers have settings that can be customized depending on the size of your yard and the frequency that you want it cut.

“It is different from traditional mowing in that the mower mows several times per week to constantly maintain the desired height of the grass,” says Scott Porteous, robotics product manager at Husqvarna. “This frequent cutting allows an autonomous mower to only remove a few millimeters of grass at a time, resulting in small clippings that recycle into the soil as a natural fertilizer.”

The concept of robotic mowing isn’t new. In fact, Husqvarna was the first to launch the world’s first fully automatic lawn mower back in 1995. Since then, the market has grown and evolved to continually meet the needs of both homeowners and commercial customers. Today, more homeowners than ever before are turning to robotic mowing as they look to free up valuable time and energy in their day-to-day lives.

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

How Robotic Mowing Works

Most robotic lawn mowers work within a physical boundary wire that is set up by the homeowner. This wire helps to indicate where the mower should (and shouldn’t) mow, and allows the user to create a cutting route within that boundary if desired. Once this initial set up is complete, robotic mowing is a pretty hands-off operation. After each mowing session, the robotic mower will return to its charging base until the next scheduled mow.

However, some robotic mowers, like the new Husqvarna Automower 450X and 450XH EPOS models, operate without the use of boundary wires for an easier and more convenient autonomous mowing solution. These robotic mowers use satellite-based technology to establish the mowing boundaries, which are set and controlled through an app on your phone. Another distinctive benefit of the new industry-leading Automower models is the pattern mowing functionality, which is absent in many standard robotic mowers on the market today. The pattern mowing settings allow homeowners to customize the route that the mower will take to ensure the grass is left with the attractive stripes that many homeowners love, rather than a random cut pattern.

Pros and Cons of Robotic Mowing

So what are the pros and cons of robotic mowing for residential use? Here’s what you should know.

Pro: Less Work for the Homeowner

“The biggest benefit of robotic mowing for homeowners is freedom from the mundane and time-consuming chore of mowing the lawn,” Porteous says. After the initial one-time setup, homeowners can enjoy checking lawn mowing off of their to-do list. That said, as with regular mowing, it’s a good idea to keep a weed trimmer on hand to clean up edges close to rocks or landscaping features that a robotic mower may not be able to reach.

Pro: Self-Charging and Easy Maintenance

Another convenient aspect of robotic mowers is that they are self-charging, meaning they will automatically return to their charging base after each mow. This removes the mental task of remembering to manually charge the battery after lawn mowing, which can be easily forgotten.

“Robotic mowers are [also] easy to maintain—no belts, gas, or oil to worry about, just regular blade changes and cleaning is all it takes to keep your Automower running,” Porteous says.

Pro: Reduced Noise

If noisy neighbors drive you crazy, you’re not alone! According to a recent survey by Husqvarna, “nearly a fifth of Americans have considered moving because of difficulty with a neighbor, while loud lawn equipment proves to be one of the most troublesome distractions.”

Good news: Unlike gas-powered products and some electric mowers, robotic lawn mowers are virtually silent. The Automower 450X and 450XH EPOS models, for example, have an average sound level of 58-69 decibels (equivalent to a normal conversation) while traditional gas mowers produce between 95-100 decibels. This means you won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors (or your family) with an early-morning or late-night mow while using a robotic mower.

Pro: Better for Your Lawn

Another less well-known benefit of robotic mowing is the fact that it is actually better for your lawn than other kinds of lawn mowing.

“The robotic mowing style of frequently cutting small amounts of grass is healthier for your lawn than the traditional method of waiting for grass to grow tall and then cutting it short,” Porteous says. Plus, autonomous mowers are mulching mowers, which means the grass clippings are returned to the lawn, acting as a natural fertilizer.

Con: The Price

Undoubtedly, robotic mowers are more expensive than electric push mowers and gas-powered mowers. However, it can be helpful to look at the price as a one-time investment into the health and betterment of your lawn that allows you to save valuable time on household chores. If things like time and energy savings, increased convenience, and a healthier lawn are important to you, than the machine will easily pay for itself.

Con: Initial Setup

The initial set up can take anywhere from two to five hours depending on the model of robotic mower that you are working with. Usually, there are technicians that you can hire to complete the setup for you, or you can try to DIY it if you want. The size of your yard, the complexity of the machine, and whether or not you need to set up boundary wires will all factor into the setup time.

Con: Boundary Wires

Lastly, the use of boundary wires can be troublesome for some homeowners. While they are designed to be durable and withstand the elements, it’s possible to experience breaks in the boundary wire over time, which may cause disruptions in the mowing schedule. Additionally, any change to the layout of a yard will mean that the boundary wire needs to be reinstalled to properly reflect the new boundary.

This is why new wire-free robotic lawnmower models are so convenient and cutting edge for homeowners.

“Husqvarna’s EPOS technology uses exact satellite positioning to create virtual boundaries so you no longer need to worry about boundary wire breaks,” says Chad Fuhrman, director of product management at Husqvarna. “If there are ever any changes to the yard, like the addition of a pool, EPOS technology allows for customers to make changes to their work area directly from their phone rather than re-wiring portions of the yard.”

While the concept of robotic mowing certainly isn’t new, recent advancements in technology have made this autonomous mowing solution more attractive to homeowners than ever before. You may see a robotic mower on your block before you know it—and don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to bring one home yourself soon after.

How cleanly does a robotic lawnmower mow the lawn edge

The goal of purchasing a robotic mower is usually to hand over lawn care to the garden helper. However, sometimes it is necessary to retouch the lawn edges.

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

With the acquisition of a robotic mower, garden owners actually hope to relinquish all power to their new garden helper. Unfortunately, lawn edges quickly become a nuisance when a small strip remains that needs to be trimmed manually because the robot simply cannot reach it. Luckily, there are methods to help you also mow the lawn edge.

A robotic mower helps keep the time spent on lawn care to a minimum. Not only are you free from mowing the lawn itself, but maintenance work is also normally less than with a classic gasoline mower. With that being said, pesky lawn edges may require manual reworking with a lawn trimmer or shears. After all, the overall appearance is not very neat if blades of grass sprout uncontrollably around the edges of the lawn. Not every robotic lawnmower really cuts the edges cleanly. This is often not possible for technical reasons alone. But never fear, there are ways to help minimize retouching.

Why do robotic lawnmowers leave an edge?

The fact that robotic mowers do not just mow lawns to the very edge is primarily due to the safety precautions offered by the device. Razor-sharp blades are well protected under the device and designed to stop automatically when lifted to avoid any possible contact. If blades protruded too far, they could pose a risk of injury.

So the width of the edge ultimately depends on the distance between the blades and the housing. If the blades are centered, this is quite large at 10-20 centimeters. In models with an edge-cutting function, the edge may be considerably narrower at approximately 5 centimeters. That sounds like a lot at first, but it’s no different from classic lawn mowers. They can also leave a small edge, which requires retouching.

Robotic mowers with edge-cutting function

Most robotic lawnmowers do not reach the edges due to their design, as the blade is centered underneath the device. There is a gap between the blade and the housing, which is especially noticeable when the robot drives along a wall. A strip of about 10-20 centimeters remains. Accordingly, the strip may increase with the size of the robot and the distance of the perimeter wire to the edge.

In the case of a robotic mower with edge-cutting function, the blade does not sit in the middle, but laterally under the device and even protrudes beyond the wheelbase. Still, there is a small distance to the outer edge of the housing. Nevertheless, this is limited to a much smaller width of about 6 centimeters so that the lawn edge is cut quite cleanly. The robotic lawnmower plans its mowing in such a way that it runs along the edges with the blade side to help keep the edge as small as possible.

A clean lawn edge can be achieved by laying a row of stones along walls so that the lawn does not grow right up against the wall, but leaves a small passable strip for the robotic lawnmower.

The correct laying of the boundary wire is important

For robotic lawnmowers with an edge-cutting function, it is particularly important to make sure the boundary wire is laid accurately. If you lay the wire too far inward, it will not be possible for the blade to reach the lawn edge. The ideal distance of the perimeter wire to lawn edges, walls or fences can be found in the manufacturer’s manual. Some models also have a ruler to help facilitate installation. These indications should definitely be followed, because the boundary wire is by no means the outer edge of the cutting width. If the wire is laid directly at the edge, the robotic lawnmower will go a little beyond it: in some models even as much as 30 cm.

If there are thoroughfares that are driven over, there is no need for a demarcation by the wire. The robot simply drives over them and mows the edges automatically. However, if the path represents the outer edge of the lawn, place the wire close to the path so that the robotic lawnmower cleanly takes the edge with it.

Caution should be exercised, however, if lawn edges are eliminated from flower beds. If the perimeter wire is too close to the edge, the robotic lawnmower risks slipping and getting stuck in the edge. The same applies along bodies of water or walls, to which a somewhat greater distance should always be maintained when laying the wire.

Guideline values for the perimeter wire distance for Robomow robotic lawnmowers

The distance of the perimeter wire from obstacles and beds differs depending on the manufacturer as well as from model to model. Almost all Robomow models have an edge cutting function, so the distance is comparatively small for traversable boundaries.

Model. Distance to fixed obstacle. Distance at ground level boundary

Lawn edging stones for the perfect edge cut

Not all robotic lawnmowers have a practical edge cutting function. Regardless, with a little ingenuity, lawn edges can be cut ideally even with models where the blade is centered. This will require either the appropriate advanced planning in your garden design or some reworking.

To do this, border the lawn and flower beds with lawn edging stones. These should be level with the ground and thus passable for the robotic lawnmower. Depending on the robotic lawnmower, a width of approx. 10 to 24 cm is recommended. It is also important to know whether the stone is adjacent to a wall or borders a bed behind it.

To prevent the lawn from growing into the bed, lay the lawn edging stones in two rows next to each other and stagger the joints in each case.

Next, lay the boundary wire as close as possible to the stones so that the robot uses one of the wheels to drive over the stones while the centrally positioned blade reaches the lawn edge.

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

Robotic lawnmower with three wheels

Some robotic lawnmowers have only three wheels instead of four. The front axle is substituted by a centrally placed wheel to help increase maneuverability but at the same time can make the devices more susceptible to getting stuck in soft ground. Accordingly, it is recommended to place lawn edging stones in such a way that the robotic lawnmower does not drive with the front wheel extending beyond the boundary.

Types of lawn edging stones

Lawn edging stones are available in a wide variety of designs and sizes. Which stone is suitable is first a question of personal taste. Secondly, the required width for the robotic mower should be included in your decision so that the lawn edge is cut as cleanly as possible. Possible stone types that would be appropriate for a robotic mower are:

  • Dovetail stones
  • Granite stones (the familiar cobblestone)
  • Concrete sidewalk slabs
  • Rectangular concrete paving

Of course, combinations of the stone types are also possible, which sometimes results in exciting designs.

Alternative bed edgings. not always suitable for robotic mowers

Alternatives to concrete edging stones are also bed edgings made of wood, metal or plastic or simply leaving the front edge of the bed free of vegetation so that the robot can use soil or humus as a navigation surface. In this case, however, regular edge trimming is necessary to avoid having your lawn grow into the bed. Although these bed edgings protect plants from undesirable intrusion of the robotic lawnmower, they are also not passable making reworking necessary. Metal bed edgings in particular also pose the risk of interfering with the signal of the robotic lawnmower.

Bed edging for robotic lawnmowers with grass sensors

For robotic mowers that use sensors instead of a perimeter wire, bed edgings are essential to provide a clear contrast between the lawn and the beds or to simply create a natural barrier that the robot cannot cross. Level lawn stones are therefore less suitable as a boundary. This means that manual reworking with a lawn trimmer is the only option.

MANUAL RETOUCHING WITH A LAWN TRIMMER

If you do not want to convert your garden, nor do you have a robotic lawnmower with an edge-cutting function, you can manually retouch the lawn with a lawn trimmer or (preferably battery-powered) lawn shears. Both are not particularly time-consuming or strenuous. Furthermore, it may be necessary to buy a second device for your lawn care. This may require more space for storage and additional costs.

Of course, which device is best suited depends on the size of your garden and the length of the lawn edges. For smaller stretches, manual lawn shears may even suffice. However, for larger gardens, a battery-powered lawn trimmer makes the job much easier. Maximum flexibility is offered by models with a swivelling cutting head.

FURTHER CRITERIA OF THE ROBOTIC LAWNMOWER FOR CLEAN LAWN EDGES

An edge cutting function is one thing. The other is a robotic lawnmower that can achieve an overall optimalt cut pattern.

  • The most important criterion is sharp blades that really cut the lawn cleanly. The result of dull blades are frayed grass tips that tend to turn brown, which can eventually, cause your lawn to no longer look green, lush and healthy.
  • A pendulum-mounted mowing deck is also helpful, as it is designed to provide a uniform cut even if the terrain is not completely level.
  • In order to have a strong grip, especially on bumpy terrain or slopes, wheels with particularly good traction are recommended.

Robotic lawnmowers with an edge-cutting function mow edges cleanly to within a few centimeters but also reach their limits with vegetation that comes right up to walls and fences. To help avoid any kind of retouching, it is therefore advisable to edge the lawn with a margin of about 6 centimeters to the outermost edges. This will give you time to enjoy your manicured garden without still having to resort to the lawn trimmer.

What Do Robotic Lawn Mowers Do With Their Grass Clippings?

benefits, robotic, lawn, mower

If you are dealing with robotic mowers for the first time, you are probably wondering what actually happens to the grass that is trimmed off. Does the robotic mower collect it somehow? Or do you have to collect it yourself? How does the whole thing work? Here you can find out exactly how the robotic mower operates when mowing the lawn. What does the robotic mower do with the grass clippings? A robotic mower mows the lawn according to the mulching principle. The mower cuts off only the uppermost tip of the grass, resulting in very small clippings, also known as lawn mulch, which becomes weathered and decomposes over time. The nutrients released during this process can be utilized by the remaining grass to continue its growth. But why does this work so well with the robotic mower? And why doesn’t every lawn mower just mow like that? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this system? I will explain this to you in the following paragraphs.

How Does the Robotic Mower’s Mowing System Work?

The robotic mower does not mow the lawn like a normal lawn mower. The concept of the robotic mower is fundamentally different from that of a conventional lawnmower. In the case of the robotic mower, many clever functions more or less interlock, one of which would not work if the other were not there. It is the same with the mulching system. The way the robotic mower mows the lawn is called mulch mowing. With a regular mower with a bag, the lawn is mowed once every week or two, with the clippings being collected and dumped on the compost heap or put out for trash collection. When mulch-mowing, however, the clippings remain on the lawn. The grass clippings land on the lawn, where they slowly decompose and are converted into nutrients, which the lawn can then use again. This closes the nutrient cycle again. The system is not new, special mulching mowers or lawn mowers with a mulching function have been available for some time. These not only cut the lawn, but also shred it again in an additional cutting unit located behind the actual mower. This is because the clippings must be small enough to easily decompose. Otherwise it can lead to various problems (more about this later). The robotic mower does not have an extra cutting unit behind the mowing unit. Instead, it takes advantage of the fact that it can mow the lawn every day due to its autonomous mode of operation. It takes very little time for the robotic mower to cut the same area of lawn again after a cut. During this time the lawn grows only a very short amount, and the robotic mower then cuts off this small blade-tip. A very short grass clipping thus lands on the lawn, rots and becomes nutrients. For this reason, the robotic mower does not need a collection bag or anything similar to what normal lawnmowers have, as all the cuttings are simply distributed back onto the lawn and converted into nutrients.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Mulching System?

The mulching system of the robotic mower has some advantages, but also a few disadvantages, which I would like to enumerate here.

The Advantages of the Mulching System

  • New nutrients are constantly available to the lawn
  • Due to the the decomposition process, the nutrients are continuously released into the lawn
  • This improves the lawn quality and density, with less moss and weeds
  • Grass mulch near the roots helps store moisture in the soil, because the ground is better protected from the blazing sun
  • Less light falling on the soil leads to reduced weed growth
  • Less organic waste to dispose of. space for other things in the compost bin

Disadvantages of the Mulching System

  • The grass must never be too high when mowed by the robotic mower, as long grass mulch causes problems. It decomposes badly, thus reducing the air permeability of the soil in the long term and leading to lawn thatching as well as rot and disease
  • If the robotic mower does not mow for a longer period of time, due to adverse weather or required maintenance, the lawn cuttings must be collected. If the lawn has become very long, the first cut must be mowed with a normal lawn mower before the robotic mower can take over the work again
  • Certain conditions may cause the lawn cuttings to not weather very well, such as low soil activity due to prolonged drought, or heavy waterlogging of the soil
  • The very short lawn cut from daily mowing can easily be carried by children and pets into the house

The Advantages in Detail

Apart from the fact that mulch mowing enables the robotic mower to mow the lawn completely autonomously without the need to invent a technical solution to dispose of the clippings, mulch mowing offers a number of advantages for your lawn.

Probably the most important advantage is that the lawn quality is significantly improved by the constant supply of nutrients from grass clippings. Since lawn mulch is organic matter, it is decomposed by soil organisms and the nutrients are gradually released into the lawn. This allows the lawnmower to make better use of the nutrients than if the nutrients were available all in one go, as is the case with chemical fertilizers.

Imagine someone serving you a feast once a month and the rest of the month you must fast. Plants, too, can only absorb a limited amount of nutrients at once and can cope better with a continuous supply of nutrients than a large supply all at once.

The effects that result are that the lawn simply grows better and stronger, making it more difficult for intrusive plants such as weeds and wild grasses to settle on the lawn. The lawn also takes on a healthier color.

However, on many advice pages you will read that the robotic mower’s mulching system means that practically no fertilization of the lawn is necessary. Some manufacturers also advertise this, but it is not true. The lawn can do without a portion of the usual fertilizer, but it cannot do without fertilizer completely. You can read more about how you should fertilize a lawn when using a robotic mower here.

Another advantage of mulching is that the lawn cuttings distributed on the ground ensure that moisture is not extracted from the soil so quickly, especially in very strong sunlight. In the summer months, your lawn also benefits from mulching.

Weed growth is also more effectively contained, not only because the lawn grows stronger and asserts itself more effectively against other plants, but also because the soil is covered by the lawn mulch and therefore less light can reach the ground directly. This makes it more difficult for alien plants that spread through seeds to germinate.

In the end, you save waste from occupying the compost bin or trash can, because you no longer have any lawn waste. This leaves more space for other garden waste in the bin.

The Disadvantages in Detail

Probably the biggest disadvantage is that the lawn simply has to be mowed constantly. This is of course not a problem if your robotic mower takes over. Rarely will you see someone putting in the work to mulch-mow their lawn daily using a regular lawn mower.

The disadvantage is just that the robotic mower has to mow almost daily. There may be a maximum of one day between two mowing runs, and in periods of slow growth, two days off. If, for example, you go on vacation and you do not want to use the robotic mower during this time, you must first mow the lawn again with a normal mower when you return before the robotic mower can be used again.

So, for each longer interruption, you will have to mow the lawn by hand and collect the grass cuttings to avoid problems. If you don’t do this, or if you only let the robotic mower mow very rarely and therefore always have very long grass cuttings, the following problems can occur:

  • Matting/thatching of the lawn
  • Rotting of the lawn cut and the lawn
  • Spread of fungi and other diseases

Not necessarily a disadvantage, but something that can partially cancel out the advantages of mulch mowing: Under certain circumstances, the grass clippings may not weather properly. Especially if the conditions for high soil activity are not right. If it is very dry for a long time, or if the soil has a lot of stagnant moisture, soil organisms cannot develop properly and thus the lawn cuttings cannot decompose.

However, this is either only a temporary problem (in summer, if you do not water your lawn), or can often be remedied by aeration, for example (in the case of waterlogging). Serious problems that cannot be solved only rarely occur here.

So as long as you use your robotic mower as intended, i.e. have it mow daily or every other day, you hardly have to deal with any disadvantages of the mulching system, and can benefit from all of its advantages.

Conclusion

The robotic mower mulches the lawn instead of mowing it like an ordinary lawnmower, simply because it can! It takes advantage of the fact that it can mow the lawn every day without your intervention, so the grass clippings are short enough to be used for mulching. There are many advantages for you and your lawn. However, the whole thing only works if the robotic mower mows the lawn regularly.

Related Questions

Do robotic mowers work on uneven surfaces? Robotic mowers can generally cope with uneven lawns. How well they can do this depends on the model. Some models have very large wheels, which helps them navigate gradient changes. Dramatic unevenness should however be corrected if possible.

Can the robotic mower be used on lawns with moss? The robotic mower generally has no problem with moss on the lawn. It is rather the other way round, that the regular use of a robotic mower can reduce the moss in the lawn. However, this is dependent on other factors, such as sufficient fertilization and watering of the lawn.

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