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He didn’t have time to mow his lawn, so he bought this 2 years ago and hasn’t touched a mower since

Technology

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The Husqvarna Automower has been sold around the world for years but was recently introduced in eastern Idaho. There are currently 36 customers locally. See how it works in the video above. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday. It’s been a busy week and you’re looking forward to that camping trip with your family.

You get up and take note of the items on your to-do list.

“Oh joy,” you say to yourself. “The lawn still hasn’t been mowed.”

You debate putting it off, but that’s what you did last week and now it’s green and thick. It’s going to be a jungle if you wait another week. Mowing the lawn now is the last thing you want to do, but dealing with it later won’t make you feel any better.

Reluctantly, you make your way to the shed out back. You pull the string on the mower and the engine begins to roar. You groan to yourself as you hold down the handle, push it forward and begin to mow.

If you’re a homeowner living in eastern Idaho, this is a scenario that may be familiar. Mowing the lawn is a normal part of the summer routine and finding the time to get it done is a challenge for some people.

Ron’s Tire & Motorsports Point S began offering a product several years ago designed to combat this problem. It’s called an Automower and it’s manufactured by Husqvarna.

How it works

The device is battery-operated and controlled by an app on your phone. You install a boundary wire in your yard two to three inches underground and program it to mow within those boundaries.

“You can bury this wire anywhere you want. It just needs to be a continuous wire,” Ron’s Tire General Manager Chris Rogers tells EastIdahoNews.com. “You can exclude islands, flower beds. It will go over sidewalks.”

The Automower can be programmed to mow within a certain timeframe at any time of the day. Unlike a traditional lawnmower, the Automower is almost silent. The sound level is only 58 decibels.

With traditional mowing, your lawn grows tall before being cut off all at once. The Automower is designed to clip a little grass at a time frequently.

“It’s got three little razor blades and it cuts the blade of grass really fine,” says Rogers. “It’s cutting a fraction of grass compared to a traditional lawn mower.”

The blades are double-sided and last up to two months. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

The width of the mowing path is 9.45 inches. Due to its small size, it has to cut grass everyday or every other day, depending on the size of the lawn. Rogers says the frequency of the mowing puts less stress on the lawn. As a result, the tips of your grass stay green instead of getting that brown tint.

“As you shred something, it takes more nutrients out of the soil to help build up that blade of grass. About the time it gets built back up, you come through and cut it again. A traditional lawn mower really stunts the grass,” Rogers says.

The Automower will cut up to one and a quarter acres of grass, depending on the model. It comes with a charger and takes about an hour to charge the battery.

“When the battery gets down to 20 percent, it automatically quits mowing, shuts off, and goes back to the charging station and plugs itself back in,” Rogers says. “When it gets fully charged, it will go back out and start mowing again.”

A brief history

Though the Automower is a fairly new product in eastern Idaho, Rogers says it was introduced in European markets 25 years ago. Since its inception, nearly two million have been sold worldwide.

They were first introduced in the U.S. about ten years ago, but Ron’s Tire & Motorsports didn’t start selling them until about two years ago.

Lowe’s and Home Depot sell a similar type of product.

There are currently only 36 Automower customers in eastern Idaho, but Rogers anticipates sales increasing once people become familiar with it and learn more about it.

Pros and Cons

Randy Waters, a homeowner in Ucon and the owner of SVN High Desert Commercial and C21 High Desert in Idaho Falls, was the first customer in eastern Idaho to purchase an Automower when they were introduced two years ago. He says the investment has been well worth it.

“I can leave town, go camping, come back and my lawn is mowed rather than having to hurry and get the lawn mowed because it’s grown so much,” Waters says. “I’ve been able to actually cut back on my watering (because) it’s been able to retain water longer and better.”

The weather in Idaho is often unpredictable and can be a determining factor in the timing of the next mowing. Waters says the Automower will do its job whether it’s sunny or rainy.

“It can mow in the rain or wind. It doesn’t matter unless it’s a downpour. After you’ve had one, you’ll ask yourself, ‘Why mow (with a traditional mower)?'” says Waters.

Waters also enjoys the GPS feature, which allows him to track the device from anywhere in the world. The Automower is also paired with the charging station. So if someone steals it, it won’t work.

“There was a story about a guy who had his Automower stolen. It sent the GPS coordinates to (his) cell phone,” says Waters. “He found the guy unloading it in the back of a truck, grabbed it and said ‘That’s mine’ and walked away with it.”

Waters says the device is also family-friendly. If kids try to touch it or turn it over, it will shut off.

The blades shut off when it makes contact with you. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

Other than a blade change every month or two, Rogers says the machines require little to no maintenance and you eliminate the cost of fuel and oil.

One aspect of the Automower that takes some getting used to is the way it mows. A traditional lawnmower forms straight lines and rows in your yard. The Automower does not.

“It goes crazy on your lawn,” Rogers says. “There’s really no rhyme or reason (to the mowing pattern). It just knows it has to do it in so much time, and it’ll hit every blade of grass.”

The lines and patterns in your yard disappear within a day or two of mowing, but if you’re someone who is particular about having straight lines in your yard, Rogers says the Automower may not be for you.

Seeing the Automower at work is fun to watch, according to Waters, and seems to take on a personality of its own.

“This device gets a name within the app. Ours is called Gary. He becomes part of the family,” says Waters. “It’s exciting to tell everyone that I don’t mow my lawn. I even joke sometimes with people who know me that I have to go home and mow my lawn and they laugh. I tell them somebody’s got to watch the mower work.”

Another challenge is the cost. There are five different models of the Automower. The price ranges from $1,300 to $3,500. Though it’s a hefty price tag initially, Rogers says it’s about the same price as a good zero-turn lawnmower that requires much more maintenance and someone to drive it.

The future of the Automower

Though few customers know about the Automower, Rogers says they are increasing in popularity.

“In every (install I’ve done so far), the feedback has been 100 percent positive. To anyone who’s skeptical, I’d say give it a try. If it doesn’t work or if it’s not for you, there’s a 90-day money-back guarantee.”

Waters says using the Automower has improved the quality of his lawn over time.

“The grass is thicker. It almost looks like astroturf and it looks mowed every morning,” he says.

With all the time and money it’s saved, Waters feels it’s paid itself off and can’t recommend it highly enough.

“I have control over who is mowing my lawn and when. It’s been great. I wouldn’t do anything different,” Waters says.

Rogers says battery-operated devices are the trend of the future and he sees a major shift in technology coming over the next decade.

“In the next 10 years, I’d be really surprised if there are any gas-powered lawnmowers left,” Rogers says. “I know anyone who puts one (in their yard) is going to be pleasantly surprised at how well it works and how awesome that machine is.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Automower, visit the website or call Rogers directly at (208) 681-9162.

SEE HOW THE AUTOMOWER WORKS IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

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