Keeping and maintaining the perfect lawn, field, yard or farm has been a near impossible dream since the dawn of mankind.
Ever since the first lawn manicuring machine, the billy goat, was first left to roam and crop the grass to an even height and neighbours would come over to stare enviously at your well-kept yard (and get stormed by a billy goat) it’s been a facet of how well-off you are. You could improve your so-called social standing and carry an air of nobility with you.
You might be covered in billy goat, but at least your yard was well-trimmed!
Luckily we’ve moved away from the era of billy goats and their ceaseless naughtiness and now can focus on doing it all by hand!
No, I don’t mean grab the scissors or nail-clippers, because there are many more options that can make this simple chore (or job!) into a breeze.
The easiest and most well-known of these, featured in many suburban households, is the lawnmower.
From the push type which spins a small dynamo which in turn drives a wheel with attached blades and chomps as you go along, to the motorized guys that make a loud noise (uses fuel or electricity) and scoops up the grass as you cut it. The options are many and depending on your need, quite easy to choose from and affordable.
Lawnmowers work by having a rotating blade attached to a motor. The operator pushes it along via a handlebar at the back. The motor spins the blade at a high enough speed that the blades cut through the grass or scrub beneath it and the momentum caused by this then neatly flicks it into an attached scoop at the back of the lawnmower. This scoop needs emptying every now and then to maintain its effectiveness.
The hand-driven type doesn’t have a scoop or a motor and is powered by you yourself pushing it along. This type also happens to be the cheapest.
British engineer Edwin Bunning invented the first lawnmower in 1830, and the first lawn mower powered by an internal combustion engine became available in 1902. An electric version became available in 1926.
For some though, this simpler type of lawnmower just wouldn’t cut it. This gave rise to the popular lawn tractors. These small vehicles allows the operator to be seated on the mower and drive it around on their lawn or field to give it a nice, even trim. These mowers work exactly the same as a smaller version, except you don’t need to push it and it cuts larger swathes of grass or scrub at a time.
This isn’t the only type of bush clearing equipment there is, though. You’ve got quite the choices with blowers, mulchers, rotovators and more.
Costing more than R40 at the nearest corner, these handy devices allow you to move large masses of leaves or pre-cut grass with ease and lots of fun.
They work via an internal combustion engine or can be electronically driven. These motors spin a centrifugal fan at a high-speed which then pushes air out in a stream. This air moves fast enough and blows hard enough to move light things like leaves, loose grass and dirt out of your way and into a corner or on top of a compost heap, where they all belong.
Having a compost heap is an all-important part of any farm or garden though, and filling up this heap with your cut grass and leaves is all well and good, but some things can’t be cut by a lawnmower, and some leaves are still attached to trees while they’re in your way. For this, we have bush clearing equipment.
Wood Chippers & Mulchers
These types of machines has a pair of mechanical dentures (not literally). It chews up whatever you serve it and spits it back out in a smaller, lighter and more useful size.
Got a bush ripped out of the ground and now it’s just laying there? Feed it to your hand-fed chipper and you’ll have leaf bits and wood chips which will add a whole new flavour to your compost heap.
Maybe a tree lost a branch in strong winds and it’s currently in your swimming pool and you’ve got nowhere to put it after dragging it out? The bush clearing chipper will chew it up and you’ll have a clear pool and a bigger heap of compost for your enjoyment.
Bush clearing equipment comes in various shapes and sizes and can be very different. Smaller ones will only mulch leaves, while bigger models will chip trees, some will have blades while others will only have string lines.
Consideration should be properly used when choosing your bush clearing equipment, of course. Some of them can only mulch leaves, and if that is your most pressing need, then this variant is great for you.
Some equipment, slightly bigger, will mulch up small twigs and branches, so if you’ve got an orchard or two and want to help not only your plants grow but also protect them from pests and help save water by covering the ground in mulch, then that particular variant will do great.
The biggest ones will chew up whole branches, small trees and even some logs, so if you want to mass-produce wood chips and sell it commercially, you’ll have all the power you need. Bandit’s Model 490XP is the smallest in the bush clearing equipment range.
What comes to mind when you hear the word rotovator? Clue. It’s not a dinosaur. Rotovators are mechanical devices that break up impacted soil, root-bound weeds or hard clay, allowing you to spread fertilizer or even your by-now large compost heap throughout your soil, enriching it and increasing relevant crop yields and plant health by a measurably large margin.
These machines dig up to 20 cm’s deep, depending on the size of the machine and the type of soil it’s being used on. They use spinning disks that dig into the soil, displacing it at even values. This allows for protection of crop placement and kills off weeds in the soil by putting their leaves bottom-first, blocking their photosynthesis. If fertilizer or compost had been placed on top of this soil beforehand, this would now be evenly mixed into the soil as well.
The options for maintaining your fields, orchards or gardens well are many and certainly not lacking in thoroughness or comfort.