Gardening / Tool Box: One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow

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JOHN DEERE was a blacksmith whose innovative steel plough helped to make the United States the world's greatest agricultural nation. Today, machines produced by the company he founded in 1868 range from combine harvesters to lawn mowers.

The 14SE is a 21in, walk-behind mower. Key features include a convenient electric starter, a commendably quiet, 5hp petrol engine and a five-speed gearbox. While the aluminium deck is edged with steel on the 14SC - the 'professional' model - that on the 14SE is not. This makes it light, but more vulnerable to damage.

Seven positions for the wheels enable cutting heights to be easily adjusted from 13mm to 90mm (1/2 in to 3 1/2 in) beyond which point a combine harvester might be more appropriate. A grass bag as big as a Rolls-Royce petrol tank saves a lot of time when cutting a large lawn. The optional mulching kit (pounds 32.90) is easy to fit, reduces the clippings to tiny shreds, then blows them on to the lawn as a natural fertiliser.

The 14SE merits serious consideration if you have a lot of grass to mow. But the pounds 851.88 price is within sight of what Westward and Husqvarna ask for a lawn tractor.

John Deere Ltd, Harby Road, Langar, Nottingham NG13 9HT (0949 60491).