The Greenest Mower of All

I wanted to like the LawnBott. After all, its makers insist the robotic lawn mower (kind of like a Roomba for your yard) is “eco-friendly” since it requires no gas or oil and releases no emissions. (In light of the EPA's newly proposed emission control program, a no-emissions mower could come in handy, right?) But there's a catch. In this case, LawnBott has a docking station that plugs into, you guessed it, an electrical outlet. So I guess one could feel good about forgoing the gas can, but what about the emissions associated with all of those coal-powered electric plants?

LawnBott is said to use just $7 to $10 worth of electricity each year, but wouldn't that really depend on whether you had a half an acre or 72? Well, assuming that rate of consumption is about right, then its environmental footprint wouldn't be quite as heavy as that of its gas-guzzling counterparts. And it's so shiny and space-aged -- and we'd never have to get sweaty and grass stained again! But hang on. The low-end model retails for $1,749, and the really fancy-pants version -- complete with Bluetooth capability -- lists for $2,899.  

Good grief.

All those bells and whistles can make it easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Truth is, the real eco-friendly mower is a reel mower. No robots. No electricity. No gas. No emissions. And no noise. There are all sorts of them, in fact, and they're much cheaper, too. Still, there's an even more eco-friendly route -- one that I'm guessing Scotts, Chemlawn, and, of course, the LawnBott people don't want us to consider.

Namely, why not hang up our slavish devotion to those thirsty expanses of green once and for all? For my part, in place of grass I'm installing prairie plants and native perennials like purple coneflower and black-eyed Susans which will attract summer's butterflies and hummingbirds and feed sundry wild songbirds in the fall. That's more than my monoculture grass could ever do, and, best of all, I don't need one of those silly LawnBotts to manage it.


i use the pushmower that my grandparents used pior to the gasoline mower. not only do i have physcial exersice; i feel that it is less on nose,fuels,and more bentifacial to my strenght. all that is need is a file and sharpen the blades along with good strudy shoes.

Or you could always use a good old-fashioned goat. They help with recycling and fertilizing, too.