June in the UK is when we celebrate a feast of Lawn Tennis and gardeners all over the country are wishing that their own lawn had the sort of finish that the Greenkeepers of The All England Lawn Tennis Club produce for Wimbledon players year after year.
Part of the secret lies in the Greenkeepers’ skill, but part lies in the type of mower they choose to cut the grass. If you want to emulate the perfect Tennis Court finish and the Wimbledon stripes, then you need to choose a Cylinder Mower (often also called a Reel Mower).
There is no point though, in aspiring to a Wimbledon standard lawn if you have a patch of grass that is used as a children’s play area and for family recreation. The lawn will have to be billiard table smooth, mown very short, and rolled with a heavy roller.
Centre Court Before the New Roof
How a Cylinder Mower works
A Cylinder Mower Explained
A cylinder petrol mower is so-called because of the rotating cylinder of blades that cut the grass with a scissor action. This results in all the grass being cut in the same direction. This in turn, makes better stripes when the roller passes over the cut grass. It also results in a much cleaner cut than is possible with the rapidly spinning blades of Rotary Mowers that do not cut the grass in the same direction.
A Cylinder mower can cut the grass really short, down to 6mm or so – that is only 1/8th of an inch. So you can see that if your lawn is even slightly uneven, cutting grass that short will result in the blades grounding and you ending up with bald patches which will turn to mud when it rains. The maximum cutting height is about 40 mm (about 1.5”).
The striped effect is achieved by the mower being driven very straight, up the lawn in one direction and back down again, exactly parallel to the last cut. It is caused because light reflects differently off the grass that is cut and then bent in one direction by the heavy roller that always flattens it in the direction that the mower is travelling. On the way up it will be flattened in one direction and on the way back down, it will be flattened in the other.
Centre Court Stripes at Wimbledon
A Traditional Bowling Green
A striped lawn in your garden
It is essential to have a heavy rear roller to achieve a proper striped effect. It is now possible to buy Rotary mowers with a rear roller so you could still have stripes on your lawn in a family garden but to be honest the effect is not as good. In order to keep proportions correct, cylinder mowers are available in a range of cutting widths so that the striped finish looks right on the size of lawn you have.
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Alison Graham (author) from UK on June 29, 2010:
Did you watch the record-beating, marathon match? Thanks for your encouragement Billy, I really appreciate it.
billyaustindillon on June 28, 2010:
Alison great hub and I was just watching Wimbledon and the cricket - I do had no idea how they got that effect - thanks for the lovely hub and information.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on June 22, 2010:
Thanks Nicomp, I thought I would try to write on a topical subject for a change and as you know, Wimbledon has just started this week (in glorious sunshine for a change too)!
nicomp really from Ohio, USA on June 22, 2010:
Great hub. I always wondered how they got the striping effect.