If you are like me and don’t like using a rake to collect grass clippings after mowing or are looking to collect the clippings and leaves to make compost for your garden, one of the best ways of collecting the clippings is to use a lawn sweeper.
Most homeowners first cut the grass then make the second trip around the yard to collect the clippings.
While this is highly effective, what if you don’t have time or don’t want to make the second trip? Can you use a lawn sweeper while mowing?
Yes, you can use a lawn sweeper while mowing, but it will work better if you have a rear discharge deck. Most modern lawnmowers have a right-hand discharge, so you will have to make modifications to the lawnmower.
If you don’t want to make the modifications, you can still use the lawn sweeper while mowing, but you should go in a clockwise circle while mowing, which will significantly reduce the number of passes you have to make.
What is a lawn sweeper?
Also known as a leaf sweeper, a lawn sweeper is as big as a lawnmower, and it’s an excellent lawn care machine.
You can use a lawn sweeper to collect acorns, leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and any other debris lying on your lawn.
While most lawn sweepers are ideal for lawns, certain models work well on concrete and even on tarmac patios.
Lawn sweepers vs. lawn mowers
Many new homeowners confuse lawn mowers and lawn sweepers, as they often look similar due to their light frames and bag attachments.
But the two are different both in their functionalities and capabilities.
One of the key differences is the lawnmower uses a reel-type blade that cuts the grass while the lawn sweeper has a sweeping brush that spins at high speed to scoop the debris on the lawn and push it into the catcher.
Do lawn sweepers damage grass?
Due to the brushes spinning at high speeds, you might have the impression that lawn sweepers will damage the uncut grass, but this isn’t the case.
Studies show that the brushes’ impact is much less than that caused by a rake as the brushes don’t pull on the grass from the roots.
Some of the modern lawn sweepers add to the lawn’s appeal, where they allow you to aerate or even dethatch your grass in addition to picking up debris.
How to use a lawn sweeper while mowing
To have an easy time, you need a tow-behind lawn sweeper. From its name, you tow it by the side or behind the lawnmower. You also need to be using a riding lawnmower.
You should then attach the lawn sweeper to the lawnmower and mow your lawn as you normally do.
To ensure the lawn sweeper collects as many clippings as possible, adjust the lawn sweeper’s brush height to the same height as the grass. Look under the sweeper for the adjustment apparatus.
Once the hopper fills up, dump the clippings in your designated area.
What should you consider when buying a lawn sweeper?
To collect as many clippings as possible and ensure your lawn sweeper lasts for a long time, you should buy a high-quality unit.
This calls for you to be cautious when making the purchase. Some of the things you should consider include:
Width of the lawn sweeper
Lawn sweepers aren’t the same. Some are wider and narrower than others.
As you might have thought, the wider the lawn sweeper, the quicker you can pick the grass, leaves, and debris on your lawn. So these are the best to go for.
Size of the hopper
The hopper is where the grass clippings are collected.
The larger the hopper, the less you have to worry about stopping and emptying your debris. Hoppers are measured in cubic feet and vary depending on the model.
If looking for a lawn sweeper for residential use, go for a hopper measuring 26 cubic feet, but if looking for a lawn sweeper for commercial use, go for one that is up to 80 cubic feet.
Compatibility with your lawnmower
How compatible is the lawn sweeper with your lawnmower?
Since the lawn sweeper has to attach to the mower to collect the grass as you mow, you need to ensure that the lawnmower’s necessary parts that enable the lawn sweeper to attach to the lawnmower are compatible.
You will even be better off going for lawn sweepers that come with a multi-hitch height functionality that makes the lawn sweepers more versatile.
When it comes to the wheels, pay attention to the material used to make them, as it will determine how long they will last and the areas you can use the lawn sweepers.
Go for tough, durable wheels as they not only last for a long time, they also allow you to sweep uneven and rougher terrains.
You should avoid plastic wheels and instead opt for semi-pneumatic materials.
As mentioned above, it’s the brushes that spin and push the clippings to the hopper.
This means cheap, low-quality brushes won’t do a good job at collecting the cuttings. They also won’t last long enough.
Low-quality brushes also don’t collect the clippings fast enough, so you will have to keep going over the lawn many times, which is tiring, boring, and a waste of time.
For an easy time, go for high-quality brushes made of steel as they are more durable.
Before parting with your money, carefully inspect them, and ensure they are closely spaced together, making it possible for them to pick even the smallest pieces of debris.
Ease of height adjustment
A good-quality lawn sweeper should allow you to adjust the height so you can collect as much debris as possible. Ensure you can set the brushes at different levels with ease.
Ease of storage
After collecting grass, you need to store the lawn sweeper waiting for the next round.
Do you have enough space to store the lawn sweeper? You need to think about this before making the purchase.
Luckily, most of the modern lawn sweepers come with features that make them easy to store.
Some can fold while others can flatten, making them easy to store in basements, garages, and even against the wall.
To avoid storing the lawn sweeper outside where it’s at the risk of getting looted or damaged by the weather elements, buy one that is the right size for your home.
Tips to ensure the lawn sweeper lasts for a long time
If you have bought a high-quality machine, you only need to take good care of it, and it will last for a long time. Some of the care you can give to it include:
Clean the lawn sweeper
Cleaning the lawn sweeper is vital for it to look good and last for a long time. Make it a habit to clean the lawn sweeper thoroughly after every use.
You should start the cleaning with the hopper and chute as these are the areas where debris is more likely to build up.
These areas are also at more risk of jamming and rusting, rendering the lawn sweeper unusable.
If you live in an area with plenty of pine trees, check the wheels and ensure nothing is wrapped around the axle. This is because pine tree straw can jam the wheels.
Inspect the lawn sweeper
Like other gardening tools, you need to inspect the lawn sweeper to ensure all the parts are in perfect working condition to get the work done.
You should regularly inspect the chute, wheels, hopper, and brushes.
If any of the parts are too worn out, replace it before you head to your backyard.
Winterize the lawn sweeper
If you live in areas that get too cold, you must have noticed you can’t use the lawn sweeper during the wet and cold months.
Before you put the unit in storage, you should winterize it.
You should clean it and repair any faulty parts. You also should oil all the moving parts to prevent rust from building up.
Assemble the lawnmower correctly.
There is nothing that will damage the lawn sweeper as fast as assembling it the wrong way. When you buy the machine, have it assembled by an expert.
If you ordered it online and there is no expert in your area to help you with the assembly, follow the manual’s instructions.
The ball is in your court.
You can use a lawn sweeper while mowing, which saves you a lot of time. For ideal results, ensure you use the right lawn sweeper.
If buying the lawn sweeper, ensure it’s compatible with your lawnmower. You don’t want a machine that you will spend more money on modifications, do you?