“ Manufacturer: Mountfield / Fuel Type: Electric „
Went to B&Q to buy another manufacturer's lawn rake advertised for £59.00. The Mountfield was on offer for £39.98 so, no contest. It was easy to assemble & although appearing rather flimsily constructed did a superb job scarifying a fairly large lawn for which I'd recently been quoted £240 by a lawn maintenance company. I used it on setting 3 to start, then went over the lawn again on setting 2 & finally finished off on setting 1. Raked up 8 sacks of moss in total.How long it will last, who knows, but as it's the sort of thing that only needs to be used once or twice a year there should be a lot more wear in it. When I see my neighbours struggling with hand rakes I think perhaps I should hire it out at £10 a time!
As everyone with a lawn knows, getting and keeping a gorgeous green sward, the envy of the neighbors, is not an easy task. Mowing, trimming, weeding, and feeding is required if the lawn is to look anything like its best.
Another essential task, but one that is overlooked by many, is raking. Raking removes 'thatch' that mass of dead roots, stems, and moss, that can choke the lawn, prevent oxygen reaching the roots, inhibit growth, and even weaken the grass.
Raking should be performed at least twice every year, once at the beginning of the season, and once at the end. Faced with this year's spring raking, knowing what a blister inducing, back breaking ordeal it is, I decided on buying an electric lawn rake.
The Mountfield RE 300 is one of the cheapest lawn rakes on the market at £50.00 from B&Q. I was expecting that I would get what I paid for, but was sure that it would be better than a manual rake. First impressions were not promising, however.
The rake requires fitting together, an easy task, but one that allows the new owner to see exactly what he or she has bought. The rake is constructed from metal and plastic, of reasonable quality, but appears very flimsy. The start button and operating handle flex significantly and the tines of the rake appear quite fragile. I was not expecting much after seeing this, to be honest. One bonus of the 'flimsy' construction, however, is that the rake is at least very easy to carry. I found it easy to transport from the garage to the lawn either by pushing or by carrying it off the ground.
The rake has three settings, -2mm, 3mm, and 8mm. The setting of -2mm indicates that the tines will cut into the soil. This gives a scarifying process, not only removing thatch, but exposing the soil to atmospheric oxygen, and allowing the grass room to grow.
At the start of the season, the -2mm setting is recommended. This is quite a brutal operation and should only be performed once the grass has started growing. Removal of thatch and moss will give the grass the chance to spread, but if the grass has not started growing yet, all that happens is that the weeds thank you for the room you've created for them!
I started the electric rake up, with the tines at -2mm and proceeded to cross the lawn. The first (pleasant) surprise was how easy the rake was to push. In fact, the tines actually drag the rake across the lawn so no effort at all is needed! This is a huge contrast to the effort needed with a manual rake.
The rake's electrical lead, at 10 metres, was long enough for my garden, but some may find an extension lead is required. As with all garden electrical equipment, an RCD should be used to prevent electric shock if the cable is damaged or cut by the rake.
The second (less pleasant) surprise was how much material was removed. My first raking of my quite small lawn resulted in half a 'wheelie bin' full of weeds, moss, thatch and grass. The sheer amount of material to be removed highlighted a problem with the rake: the collecting basket is too small and poorly shaped. Within seconds, the small, shallow basket was full, and the slope of the basket meant that some of the contents spilled out onto the grass.
The collection basket is the single worst problem with this rake. You will have to empty it very frequently. I reflected, however, that it was still much easier than using a manual rake. Another problem is that, despite having a basket, material is thrown over the rake, back onto the grass or nearby paths. A redesign of the basket, to hold more material and catch all of the material dug up by the tines would be a great improvement.
After using the rake, despite the problems with the basket, I was reasonably happy with my new purchase. The moss had gone from the lawn, and an unexpected benefit of raking was that the weeds in my lawn had been 'strimmed', both removing the leaves and hopefully stunting their growth.
After raking, I found that my grass grew very strongly. Moss is almost non-existent, and weed growth has been reduced. I found that raking the lawn, on one of the higher settings, every few weeks, kept thatch to a minimum whilst preventing weeds such as dandelions and even clover, from taking over. I have not had to use weedkiller on the lawn this year.
I am very pleased with my purchase. With my lawn looking green and lush, no need to 'put my back' into raking any more, and the lack of weeds in the lawn, this has been an excellent value purchase for me. I've now used it several times, and despite the flimsy appearance, nothing has gone wrong or broken off.
The Mountfield RE 300 is not for everyone, however. Owners of small lawns may find that it suits their needs brilliantly, but anyone with an average to large sized lawn, would be better off choosing a larger, higher specification model.