Northwest NEWS

April 3, 2000

Home & Garden

Grasscycling gives you 'mower for less'

   Bears aren't the only sleeping beasts to emerge every spring; warm weather inevitably draws out the family lawnmower.

   This familiar fixture in outdoor upkeep has a down side: a regular gas-powered mower spews pollutants into the air at ten times the rate of the average car.

   Then there are the grass clippings. Each Puget Sound-area household that bags grass clippings contributes to almost half a ton of yard waste to composting facilities. That's half a ton of nutrient-and-moisture-rich material that could feed and protect a lawn all summer.

   Fortunately, new electric mulching mowers and manual push mowers cut a wide swath through these and other lawn care problems. In two "Get Mower for Less" events, area residents have the chance to buy these mowers at up to 50% off the retail price and recycle their old gas-powered mowers.

   Convinced that electric mulching mowers and manual push mowers are easy tools for environmentally responsible lawn care, a group of Puget Sound Environmental Quality Agencies are sponsoring the mower sales events and the price discounts. A local "Get Mower for Less" event will take place April 8 at Marymoor Park's Interpretive Parking Lot in Redmond, and April 9 at Paine Field, Snohomish County Airport in Everett.

   All events run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and include mower demonstrations and sales, information booths on natural lawn care, a site for recycling old gas-powered mowers, and plenty of free parking. Last year's events sold 5,000 mowers, so organizers suggest arriving early.

   Unlike a regular mower that dumps clippings on top of the lawn, a mulching mower automatically cuts super-fine clippings, and blows them down into the turf. The clippings fertilize the lawn, protect it from evaporation, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers that can seep into waterways. In fact, lawns maintained with a grasscycling mulching mower need an average of one-third less fertilizer and 300 fewer gallons of water per year. If you're used to bagging clippings, mulching will save almost 40% in mowing time: no stopping, unloading the bag, and restarting.

   Manufactured by Toro, Lawnboy, and Black & Decker, and manual push mowers by American Lawn Company, Brill, and Husqvarna, mowers run cleanly, quietly, and inexpensively, mow the average lawn without a re-charge, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases, and are easy to maintain.

   "Get Mower for Less" this April and you'll be able to tend your "great outdoors" with a clean, green mulching machine. For more information, call 1-800-RECYCLE, or visit the website at http://dnr.metrokc.gov/swd/resrecy/grasscyc.htm.