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How Big of a Lawn Could 1 Person With 1 Push Mower Keep Mowed at Perfect Height?

The online comic Xkcd.com has a series called “What If?” where readers write questions and they’re answered as comics. The Constant Groundskeeper gave me the motivation to do my own version of the question: How big of a lawn could 1 person with 1 push mower keep mowed at a perfect height?

Here’s how I worked it out:

Mowing Speed

The average walking speed is 5km/hour or 3.1 miles/hour. And if we’re using a typical 19-inch push mower we can mow 1 acre in 101 minutes.

Grass Growing Speed

Estimated grass growth rate is 2 – 6 inches per month depending on grass type, rainfall, sun exposure etc. Let’s assume our grass grows 6 inches per month.

Keeping the Lawn the Perfect Length

First off I wanted to say: I’m going to forget about working hours and just calculate the lawn size based on a person mowing for 24 hours per day.

I like short lawn so we’ll keep our lawn at 3 inches. It needs to be mowed every 1 week since ideally you’re supposed to only take 1/3 the grass length off with each mow. So every 7 days. Every 168 hours. Every 10,080 minutes.

So if we had a lawn that was 99.8 acres by the time our mower returned to the start the grass would be ready to cut again.

What Famous Things Could You Keep Mowed?

99.8 acres is:

  • About 1.5x USA’s biggest shopping mall – King of Prussia Mall. If it had no walls and was all grass you could have 1 groundskeeper on staff and he’d only have to work about 15.5 hours per day every day to keep it perfectly mowed.
  • Smaller by 1.6x than Disneyland. If Disneyland grounds was all grass instead of concrete 1.6 groundskeepers could keep the whole thing perfect if they mowed 24 hours per day and never took a break.
  • About 8x smaller than Central Park. 8 of our 24-hour-per-day-no-break groundkeepers could keep all of Central Park perfectly mowed if it was nothing but grass lawn.
  • About 58 soccer fields.

Sources

1. Tom Voigt wrote an extensive piece on mowing and the recommendations of mowing height to keep the healthiest grass lawn.

2. Wikipedia pages used to find out famous things areas: Biggest malls, soccer field size, Disneyland area and Central Park area.