Regular mowing is an important factor in proper lawn maintenance. The type of mowing blade required depends on how short you want the turf or what task you are performing. Regular maintenance of your mower blades is essential to keep your lawn looking its best. Just as with scissors, a dull mower blade will not give the clean cut your lawn needs, so always remember to sharpen and clean your mower blades on a regular basis.
Reel mower blades consist of a minimum of 5 separate blades connected to a shaft that spins between two wheels with a stationary bedknife. During mowing, the grass is caught between the bedknife and the blades, resulting in a precise, clean cut similar to using scissors. Reel blades are commonly used on areas where the turf is kept quite short, such as golf greens and sports fields. In these instances, it is not unusual to use a reel that has 11 to 13 blades to mow the grass to the length required with precision.
The rotary blade is the blade most people are familiar with. This standard blade consists of a horizontal blade that spins in a circle at high speed, cutting the grass upon impact with the first 1/2 inch of the blade. Keeping your rotary blades sharp gives your lawn a better cut. If the blade is allowed to dull, the result is tearing of the grass that leaves unsightly brown tips. A rotary blade cannot cut grass as short as a reel blade, but its lower price and ease of use makes it a suitable choice for home lawn maintenance.
The mulching blade is similar in design and function to the rotary blade. Where the two differ is the shape of the blade's cutting edge. Unlike the rotary blade with its straight edge, the mulching blade's face is curved, which creates a vacuum within the mower deck and continues to cut leaves until they become a fine mulch. The mulching blade is typically used during the fall to clean up leaf litter and return the mulched leaves to the lawn as organic material.