If you think owning a Roomba makes you hot stuff, you’re behind the times. Robotic lawn mowers are truly the cutting edge.
When you can sit back and sip lemonade, watching a little machine mow your lawn, then you’re really living.
As soon as you saw the picture on this page, you probably said, “Honey, we need one of these.”
Stuhr Museum has its own automatic mower, courtesy of Grones Outdoor Power and Battery. This is the second summer the nifty Husqvarna has taken care of the west side of the area near the Stuhr Building. Grones donated the machine to the museum.
The robotic lawn mower runs back and forth all summer long.
“It will constantly be moving. It never quits,” said Tom Oshlo, Stuhr’s director of maintenance. “All day long and all night long, rain, snow, it doesn’t matter. Until they pick it up and shut it off, it runs all the time.”
A wire perimeter is set up so that the automatic mower knows its boundaries.
“It has four razor blades underneath it that do the mowing,” Oshlo said.
The mower takes care of an acre of lawn. “And it takes care of that without any problems or any work on our part. We just ignore it,” Oshlo said.
Oshlo hires somebody to do the work not included in the west side story. That person handles the other 45 or 50 acres of Stuhr Museum lawn.
The automatic mower is battery-powered.
“It’s smart enough to know when it’s about to run out of battery power, and it runs over, plugs into its charger, charges back up and goes again until (it needs to be charged again),” Oshlo said. “And it runs 24-seven all summer long.”
Even Rosie, the robot on “The Jetsons,” couldn’t do all this.
The automatic mowers don’t collect the clippings. The grass is cut into such small pieces that it actually helps the lawn, says Lawrence Levering, who together with his wife, Sarah, owns Grones Outdoor Power.
Why did the business donate the auto mower to Stuhr?
“We wanted to get in on the next part of living history,” he said.
Levering has a history with robotic mowers.
“I tried this 10, 12 years ago with another brand, and the technology wasn’t there. But now the technology, I feel, is there,” he said. “We’ve been installing quite a few this year. So it’s there to stay now.”
One reason for donating the mower to Stuhr, of course, is to interest prospective customers.
Automatic Husqvarna mowers range in price from $1,200 to $3,600.
You can also buy robotic mowers at other places.
Ace Hardware and Garden Center sells two models manufactured by Stihl.
The store has had those models for three or four months, says employee Roger Malcom.
“It’s the coming thing,” Malcom says. But it’s maybe not the thing quite just yet.
People like to talk about automatic mowers. Sales might increase as prices drop.
If you want to buy a Stihl model, a $1,400 product will cover a quarter acre. A $2,100 machine will handle a full acre.
If you want to just see one in action, head to Stuhr to see how current pioneers of the prairie get things done.