Fall garden cleanup: a robot is mowing my lawn
Garden of Eatin'

Fall Garden Cleanup: A Robot Is Mowing My Lawn!

This post is in collaboration with our friends at WORX. All thoughts and words are our own.

In the decade that I’ve had a garden, I’ve never actually had a lawn until two years ago. Never had grass to cut or weeds to whack, and never even knew that raking leaves served a practical purpose besides keeping your yard neat and tidy. (More on that later.)

Even now, in the house we’re currently renting, lawn care is handled by our landscaper and the only time we even see grass clippings is when he dumps that day’s collection into our compost pile.

We’ve had it pretty easy for a while, but since becoming the owners of 1.5 acres of irrigated land, we’ve realized that we really need to step up our lawn care game.

The lush, pollinator-friendly pasture on our property was one of the selling points that drew us in, so keeping it green and healthy is a high priority — for our future garden to thrive, our chickens to forage, and our kids to run around in.

Birch and other deciduous trees on our property

With winter coming and — if all goes well — construction breaking ground in a few months, we know the yard is going to take a beating. Our main goal is to get the lawn in tip-top shape so in the spring, it’ll grow back without us needing to reseed.

The only obstacle we faced was… We had not a single lawn care tool, and a very large lawn to tend to.

Tall meadow grass
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That’s where my friends at WORX come in. Not only do they make my husband’s favorite work table and sawhorse (which he’s used for years), they also produce an entire line of innovative and efficient lawn and garden tools (including my personal favorite, the AeroCart), along with an expanding line of environmentally friendly, battery-powered and electric power tools.

We haven’t purchased a lawnmower yet, because we don’t know what type to get (one that we push or one that we ride?) until the house is built and we have a better idea of our landscaping plans.

The lawn, however, has been growing like gangbusters all summer and we needed to do something about it, fast.

A lush, pollinator-friendly pasture

When Worx introduced me to their new Landroid robotic lawnmower, I was intrigued and knew I had to try it. I mean, it’s a fully automated robotic lawnmower, a description that instantly conjures up a futuristic Jetsons scene. I didn’t even know these things existed!

Landroid L robotic lawnmower

Like a Roomba for your yard, the Landroid is a battery-powered, self-propelled mower that works in a similar way, if you’ve ever had a robotic vacuum.

You set up a perimeter (with the included boundary wire and stakes), turn the Landroid on, and let it do its thing. When it’s finished mowing the grass, it returns to the charging station where it parks, recharging and waiting for its next job.

Landroid robotic lawnmower cutting the grass

The Landroid comes with its own app where you can calculate your lawn size, set a mowing schedule, and monitor and control the mower remotely. It also has a “Find My Landroid” feature, should yours escape or become stolen.

One of the conveniences I appreciate about the Landroid — besides, you know, hands-free mowing while you enjoy a beer on your deck — is that it uses a high-performance WORX Power Share battery, the same one used by their full lineup of 20V cordless tools.

No matter what you add to your tool shed in the future (whether it’s a drill, hedge trimmer, or leaf blower), your WORX tools can all share the same batteries, saving you money and space. (For us, that means wrangling fewer chargers in the garage.)

Speaking of other tools… WORX also sent me their Power Share 2-in-1 cordless grass trimmer/edger, Power Share TURBINE cordless leaf blower, and TRIVAC 3-in-1 blower/mulcher/yard vacuum to try, and I couldn’t wait to put them to the test on the wild frontier that is our current backyard.

I’ll show you how I’m using each of these WORX tools for our fall garden cleanup and how we’re putting the lawn “to bed” for winter.

Dried brush and dead wildflowers

First, What We’re Doing About the Weeds

I’m embarrassed to admit that a large part of our property’s overrun with weeds. We hadn’t been too concerned with keeping it manicured since we knew the land was going to be excavated. But, we wanted to tidy up the property before the first snowstorm, so we started with all the dried brush and dead wildflowers.

They’d grown ridiculously tall and woody, and I was skeptical that any string trimmer would be able to handle them. Many of the weeds were knee-high, but the TURBINE cut through the tangled mess like a champ!

Using the WORX string trimmer to cut back our weeds
Trimming the overgrown weeds on our lawn
Yes, there’s grass under there.
WORX cordless string trimmer at work
Using a string trimmer to cut the weeds on our lawn
String Trimmer

We did have a line break on a particularly tough stem, but the softer grasses were effortless. We found the TURBINE powerful enough to tackle the overgrowth, but not so heavy that I couldn’t maneuver it easily.

Once all the weeds were trimmed (a task that took the better part of a day — we had a lot of ground to cover), we moved on to the leaves.

Fall leaves from our willow and aspen trees

How We’re Handling the Leaves

We have several large willow trees and a grove of aspen and birch trees that all drop leaves in the fall. They leave a layer of golden litter on the ground that — while lovely to look at — isn’t always a good thing for the lawn.

Fallen leaves

That’s because a thick carpet of wet, matted-down leaves (especially if it freezes) won’t decompose properly, and it can actually smother the grass and turn it into a dirt patch come spring.

Part of winterizing a lawn involves removing all debris from the surface, including dead leaves, weeds, and twigs.

When combined with heavy rain and snow, untended debris can cause flat, matted grass that leads to stunted growth, brown patches, and eventually, fungal disease.

Rather than bagging them up and disposing of them, I decided to put the fallen leaves to use for our current garden.

Using the WORX cordless blower to blow the leaves off our gravel driveway
Leaf Blower

First, I used the cordless blower to blow all the leaves from the grass and the gravel driveway into a heaping mound near the house. The turbo button made all the difference in piling them up quickly!

Cleaning up the yard with a cordless blower
Fallen leaves from our willow tree
Blowing leaves with the WORX cordless blower
Fall garden cleanup using my favorite WORX garden tools
Pile of fallen leaves

Then, I plugged the TRIVAC into our extension cord, and used the vacuum function to suck all the leaves up and mulch them into the leaf collection bag. The tool comes with a metal blade that chops the leaves (along with small yard debris like twigs and woody stems) into tiny pieces.

Fall garden cleanup with the WORX TRIVAC blower and mulcher
3-in-1 Blower/Mulcher/Yard Vacuum
WORX TRIVAC 3-in-1 blower, yard vacuum, and leaf mulcher
Finely mulched leaves and twigs
Mulched leaves can be added to a compost pile

What you’re left with is a bag of ready-made mulch that can be used in the garden to protect plants or prevent soil erosion. It can also be added to a compost heap, where it breaks down more quickly than the average leaf compost.

(This is what we ended up doing. We hauled all the finely chopped leaves back to our greenhouse, where we’re building a compost pile to help heat it in winter.)

Tip: Mulched leaves can be stored in a yard bin over winter. When you need some browns (carbon) to balance the greens (nitrogen) from your kitchen scraps, you’ll have a steady supply you can use all season long.

If most of your fallen leaves are near the house (or a power outlet), then there’s really no need for a cordless blower. The TRIVAC can be used as a blower first, then switched seamlessly to the vac/mulcher function, making it a truly versatile tool to have in your lawn care kit.

Fallen leaves on the lawn

How We’re Taking Care of the Grass

For the remaining leaves scattered across the lawn, I decided to shred them in place with the Landroid so they can break down more easily and nourish the soil.

Our lawn is a tall, meadowy grass, so we weren’t even sure the Landroid could perform. It’s a mix of grass, clover, and the occasional wildflower, and some parts of it had grown up to 6 inches tall over the summer.

Tall grass

In fact, we were pushing the limits of the Landroid because the operating manual suggested the grass be no taller than 4 inches for the initial run. But, we figured we’d give it a try anyway!

I set up a small perimeter first to test the Landroid before committing to wiring the rest of the yard. It has five cutting heights that can be adjusted easily; I started with the highest setting at 5.

Adjustable cutting heights on the WORX Landroid mower

I pushed the button to start and watched the Landroid power up. It released from the charging station, found the wire, spun around, and began cutting a path through the grass.

At first, I wasn’t sure if the Landroid was mowing anything. (Did I mention our grass was 6 inches tall?!) It looked like the mower was simply pushing the grass over with each pass it made, but upon further inspection, I found short clippings in its wake.

WORX Landroid robotic lawnmower cutting the grass
Robotic Lawnmower
Fall garden cleanup with a robotic lawnmower
WORX Landroid is a mulching robotic mower
Cut grass

It circled the lawn in a random fashion, unfazed by obstacles like errant pinecones. By its third pass, the grass was visibly shorter.

We let the Landroid do its thing for a good 20 minutes and were impressed with how well it handled the taller grass and how much it got done in that time.

The general rule for cutting grass in preparation for winter is the one-third rule.

That is, cutting no more than a third of the grass blade in a single mowing. Giving your grass a heavy-duty haircut all at once can put it in shock and make it less resilient to harsh winter weather.

Our plan is to decrease the cutting height on the Landroid each time we mow until the grass is 2 to 3 inches tall — the ideal height for overwintering (not so long that it would become matted and vulnerable to disease, but not so short that it would stunt root growth and make the grass more susceptible to winter cold).

With the size of our yard and the length of the grass, this will take several mowing cycles. The version I received (Landroid L) claims to mow up to a half-acre at a time, but since we’re only mowing small sections at a time right now, it’s hard to tell how much ground the Landroid actually covers on a single charge.

Fully automated, battery-powered, self-propelled robotic lawnmower
Freshly mowed lawn

Could this task go a lot quicker if we mowed the lawn ourselves?

Yes, probably, but letting the Landroid tend to the lawn while we check off other chores (or just relax!) ends up being a timesaver, even when you account for the time we spend wiring the property.

Eventually, we plan to set up a more permanent boundary once all of our structures and gardens are in place. (The wire can even be buried if you want it to be more discreet.)

There are also features we haven’t yet put to the test, like the rain sensor, smart scheduler, and Landroid app. (I was able to log on at the house we’re currently living in, but not at the property, since it needs wifi to communicate with the mower.) These are all things we’ll get to play with as we use the Landroid more and become familiar with its functions.

So, what’s next on the property front?

We just wrapped up the bidding stage and will be choosing all of our subcontractors from the 60-plus (!!) estimates we’ve received. We still need to demo the sheds and the mobile home, but it’s slow going as we’re trying to salvage as much of the wood and other materials as possible.

We hope to finalize our construction budget this month, and then it’s off to the bank!

Fall Lawn Care Sources

Fall Garden Cleanup: A Robot Is Mowing My Lawn! 1
WORX Landroid L Robotic Lawnmower | WORX Power Share Cordless String Trimmer | WORX Power Share TURBINE Cordless Leaf Blower | WORX TRIVAC 3-In-1 Vacuum Blower/Mulcher/Vac

This post is sponsored by WORX. View our full advertising disclosure.

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