Knowing when to mow is no mystery, but Alexa can help you anyway

Alexa and Troy-Bilt can now tell lawn-care newbies when to mow.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
Troy-Bilt Amazon Alexa
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Troy-Bilt Amazon Alexa

Alexa can now manage your personal lawn mower schedule. It's made possible through a new Alexa skill launched Monday by mower manufacturer Troy-Bilt. When enabled, users can ask Alexa for the best time and day to trim their grass. Alexa will then recommend time slots based on a combination of personal preferences and local weather data.

To request this help, smart speaker owners must say, "Alexa, ask Troy-Bilt when I need to mow" or similar variations of the phrase. Next the voice assistant suggests when you should attack the green. If you agree, Alexa will add the lawn care session to your calendar (Gmail). You'll get a heads up via SMS text message, too. And if the weather takes a turn for the worse, the Troy-Bilt service sends text alerts to reschedule.   

On the surface, Troy-Bilt's Alexa integrations sounds handy. The trouble is you can accomplish the same tasks with ordinary phone apps and software. The weather monitoring function isn't local enough, either. It's based on mailing ZIP code, which in my experience is far from accurate. Other scheduling parameters you punch in during the initial setup are just as simplistic. They include how long you usually take to mow, how many days a week, plus if you prefer morning or evening.

If only Alexa and Troy-Bilt could provide personal advice based on the actual lawn conditions (moisture, grass length, temperature, etc.). Until then, it's probably easier to just look out the window.