Top 5 yards to mow in West Branch by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · June 28, 2013
Think you’ve got a lot of grass to mow?
Time to get a bit of perspective.
We put the question on Twitter and Facebook: Outside of farmland, which are the Top Five largest properties in the city that get mowed regularly?
Our criteria: That it is inside the city limits, and it is mowed on a regular basis. We also looked at total acreage mowed, not just single or separate lots.
We are not including entire property acreage. For example, Procter & Gamble owns about 106 acres and leases another 37, but most of that is taken up by buildings and parking lots.
Gary Stout, owner of Gary’s Lawn Mowing Service, mows P&G’s property, and said only about 1 1/2 acres gets cut regularly, and it takes him less than two hours on a John Deere riding lawnmower.
Out of the few who tried to guess on Facebook, only one guess was among the Top Five: West Branch Community Schools. It finished No. 4 on the list.
One thing to keep in mind, though: Unlike homeowners, the folks who mow these yards get paid to do it.
No. 1: Fox Run Golf & Country Club
Manager Jack Hamilton said just about every bit of the property, minus the club house and parking lot, gets mowed.
Mowed acreage: About 80
Man hours to mow: About 100 hours each week.
Tools: A “bat wing” trailer mower pulled by a John Deere (for ditches and hills), a zero-turn Hustler, a Jacobsen mower, a John Deere greens mower, and a pushmower and string trimmer for the creek
No. 2: Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
The Hoover Complex boasts about 186 acres, but take away the 81-acre prairie, farmed land, parking lots, streets, etc. and the historic site’s actual mowed land drops significantly, according to Mark Denker, who oversees the grounds.
Mowed acreage: Roughly 50
Man hours to mow: About 72
Tools: 16-foot wide area mower, 72-inch front deck riding mower, 52-inch front deck riding mower, 54-inch walk-behind mower, a sidewalk edger, 2 utility/equipment transport vehicles, two 22-inch push mowers, 2 string trimmers, and 2 power blowers
No. 3: City of West Branch
The city mows Lions Park, Beranek Park and West Branch Municipal Cemetery, but it also cuts along road shoulders for a few miles, Public Works Director Matt Goodale said.
Mowed acreage: Around 40 (About 20 in the cemetery, half of which is mowed each week)
Man hours to mow: About 55 (20 spent trimming)
Tools: Two lawn tractors, a zero-turn mower, four string trimmers
No. 4: West Branch Community Schools
The city has three schools, two football fields, a softball and baseball field, plus a large playground area between West Branch Middle School and Hoover Elementary, said Building and Grounds Director Joe Lande.
Mowed acreage: About 25
Man hours to mow: About 27 to 40
Tools: A zero-turn 72-inch riding mower, a 15-foot batwing pulled by a tractor, a pushmower, a 42-inch ride-behind mower and a string trimmer
No. 5: West Branch Village/
Hames Manufactured Homes
Manager Colton Miller oversees the mowing in a property that houses about one-fifth of West Branch’s population.
Mowed acreage: About 15
Man hours to mow: About 24
Tools: 2 riding lawnmowers, a string trimmer, and a sickle bar/trailer mower for the creek
Gary’s Lawn Mowing Service also contracts for Tidewater Direct, which has 18 acres of property. Stout said he spends about 2 hours, 15 minutes mowing a couple of acres there. The rest of the yard — perhaps 13-14 acres — that surrounds the building is cut for hay three times a year.