Guest blog by Mike Darsey, Regional Manager of Super-Sod in the Atlanta area. At the age of 17, Mike started as a forklift operator with Super-Sod at The Atlanta State Farmers Market in Forest Park. As his passion for turfgrass grew, so did his responsibilities, first as local manager of Super-Sod of Marietta and now as Regional Manager of Super-Sod’s four stores in the Atlanta area. When he’s not developing his home landscape, he enjoys being outdoors hunting, fishing, cooking out, and spending time with friends and family.
This spring marked my 16th year with Super-Sod and in the turfgrass industry. Early on in my turfgrass career I knew two things: I loved talking with homeowners about turfgrass; and I couldn’t wait to have my own lawn to mow and maintain. After several years of hard work and saving, I was a proud homeowner and it was time to get to mowin’!
My mowing days started out on an old Snapper mower – the kind Forrest Gump used – and I was proud! But I soon realized 32 inches and a 5 horsepower motor wasn’t going to “cut it.” I needed more cut and more power. Bigger is better. That’s the American way, right?
The American Dream Mower
So, after saving some money up and finding a good deal, I bought my dream mower – a 50” zero turn mower with a 23 horsepower motor. Now, it was time to really mow some grass! For the next 7 years I’d spend 2 -3 hours a week mowing my yard, maintaining my mower, and trying to enjoy my beautiful yard.
My Automower (named "Moe") has eliminated time spent mowing grass and enabled me to spend time in the yard with my wife Megan doing some landscaping projects together.
The fall of 2017 was the first time I was introduced to or even realized a robotic mower existed. And I have to admit, I was skeptical. No way this robot could replace my 50”, 23 hp zero turn mower. How could it do as good of a job as me and my mower? And what about the “me” time I get each week on my mower? I was convinced everyone else would feel the same way I did.
Husqvarna Automower®: The New Dream
My mind was forever changed the day I saw Automower operate firsthand. This was the real deal. I went from skeptic to believer in about 30 minutes.
Husqvarna Automower demonstration to Super-Sod managers, held at our Middle Georgia store in Fort Valley. I'm there on the right side, hands on hips as a skeptic, but this is the moment when my mowing life changed forever.
But coming to terms with this was not easy. What about my mower? My 50” American dream was now obsolete! For me, giving up on my mower would be like getting rid of the family dog. Some things you just don’t do! After going back and forth with myself over the winter, I came to terms with the fact that I needed an Automower.
My lawn is Better then Ever
I started in the spring with my Automower in just my back yard. I couldn’t let go all at once. After several weeks of “Moe” (my Automower) maintaining the back yard, I turned him loose on the front.
I was shocked at how good a job he was doing, and each day my 50” mower became less and less valuable to me.
I have never had a better looking, more healthy lawn than I do now, and I give Moe most of the credit. Sure, I still have to fertilize and stay on top of weed control, but overall the Automower is making the difference.
Remembering the 50” Zero Turn Mower
I thought at some point I’d miss my 50” mower and the time I spent mowing my grass. I thought I’d miss the smell of burning fuel, freshly mowed grass, and tinkering with the mower.
Much to my surprise, I don’t. Besides the aggravation of replacing blades, a dead battery, and occasionally cursing the modern-day gas can, nothing really sticks out to me about all the time I spent mowing my yard the old way.
This Year’s Different Priorities
Before and After: The lawn looks beautiful thanks to regular mowing by Moe the Automower - but this bed has needed attention for a while. With time freed up by the Automower, there were no more excuses! Megan and I put in a hard day of work and love the way this project turned out.
My wife really enjoys planting containers and hanging baskets in the spring. And each year she had high hopes the flower beds might get some love, too, but mowing and maintaining the lawn had always taken priority.
This year was different. This year, thanks to Moe and my new-found 3 hours each week, the flower beds got some attention, too. And, of course, we used Soil3 organic compost to improve the soil conditions in our shrub borders and flower beds.
The first step in creating this shrub border was using Soil3 organic compost to improve the existing soil structure and provide organic nutrients.
This spring and summer I have really appreciated the time my wife and I have spent in the yard together, making memories and enjoying our lawn!