As this city boy quickly learned, you can't cut grass when it's wet. Blowing it out the side of the mower deck produces wet clumps that can damage your lawn, and attempting to collect it in a bagger is impossible; wet grass immediately begins clogging a bagging chute. With multiple acres to mow, I get stressed out when it rains for four days in a row and I helplessly watch the grass get out of control.
However, this problem has been solved in Europe, by French lawn mower manufacturer Etesia. I got excited when I saw the form factor of their mower, not because it's attractive (it ain't)...
...but because it suggests something different is going on inside. Which is true.
To explain, the conventional North American riding mower looks like this:
No matter the brand, the form factor is always the same: A "lawn tractor" with the deck suspended beneath it, and side ejection. Adding a bagging kit requires connecting a chute to the side ejection port, and routing it back around to the bags:
Etesia's innovation was to design "the cutting system first," they write, "and then the tractor afterwards." Thus their dual-blade deck is rather radically shaped:
"The ETESIA concept eliminates all risks of clogging, offering the first ride-on mower with direct rear ejection and integrated collection. The two blades generate a powerful blowing effect and push the grass through a volute-shaped housing with an increasing cross section into the grassbox. The collection system mounted directly at the outlet of the cutter housing guarantees perfect collection with no risk of clogging - there are no obstacles between the cutter housing and the grassbox.
"The result is that our machines can mow and collect the grass in conditions - long, wet grass - where most competitors are just not up to the task."
It also explains the funky look of the mower, with its wedge-shaped gesture.
They make larger versions too, with an automatic emptying mechanism. But all I can do is look at it and wish; Etesia doesn't have a distributor in the U.S.
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