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Agronomy 2018, 8(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8020015

Autonomous Mower vs. Rotary Mower: Effects on Turf Quality and Weed Control in Tall Fescue Lawn

1
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
2
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Turfgrass Biology, Genetics, and Breeding)
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Abstract

Autonomous mowers are battery-powered machines designed for lawn mowing that require very low human labour. Autonomous mowers can increase turf quality and reduce local noise and pollution compared with gasoline-powered rotary mowers. However, very little is known about the effects of autonomous mowing on encroaching weeds. The aim of this research was to compare the effects of an autonomous mower and an ordinary gasoline-powered mower on weed development in an artificially infested tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) turf with different nitrogen (N) rates. A three-way factor experimental design with three replications was adopted. Factor A consisted of three N rates (0, 75, and 150 kg ha−1), factor B consisted of two mowing systems (autonomous mower vs. walk-behind gasoline rotary mower equipped for mulching), and factor C which consisted of four different transplanted weed species: (a) Bellis perennis L., (b) Trifolium repens L.; (c) Trifolium subterraneum L.; and (d) Lotus corniculatus L. Of these, B. perennis is a rosette-type plant, while the other three species are creeping-type plants. The interaction between mowing system and transplanted weed species showed that the four transplanted weed species were larger when mowed by the autonomous mower than by the rotary mower. The autonomous mower yielded larger weeds probably because the constant mowing height caused the creeping weed species to grow sideways, since the turfgrass offered no competition for light. N fertilization increased turf quality and mowing quality, and also reduced spontaneous weed infestation. Autonomous mowing increased turf quality, mowing quality, but also the percentage of spontaneous weed cover. View Full-Text
Keywords: Festuca arundinacea; energy saving; Trifolium spp.; Bellis spp. Festuca arundinacea; energy saving; Trifolium spp.; Bellis spp.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pirchio, M.; Fontanelli, M.; Frasconi, C.; Martelloni, L.; Raffaelli, M.; Peruzzi, A.; Gaetani, M.; Magni, S.; Caturegli, L.; Volterrani, M.; Grossi, N. Autonomous Mower vs. Rotary Mower: Effects on Turf Quality and Weed Control in Tall Fescue Lawn. Agronomy 2018, 8, 15.

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