Are Zero Turn Mowers Good on Hills?
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Many people are starting to become more and more familiar with the innovative lawn care machines called zero turn mowers (click for review). These machines are able to boast impressive cutting times and tremendous power as well as efficiency and agility. When it comes down to it, it’s hard to beat the impressive features and functions of the zero turn mowers. However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to outperform the zero turn mowers. Zero turn mowers have a lot of advantages that tend to play in the favor of most home owners.
They are well known for their speed and agility. However, zero turn mowers do have one weakness that can’t be avoided – hills. The design of the zero turn mowers utilizes what is called a caster wheel to steer in front of the machine. This helps it to move quickly and efficiently – especially when making turns. However, the one drawback is that these caster wheels don’t have a lot of stability or traction when it comes to handling steep slopes.
What exactly is steep? Well it depends on what type of environment you’re in and what kind of yard you’re working with. Most zero turn mowers are able to handle trimming slopes so long as they don’t exceed more than 10 to 15 degrees. However, this isn’t necessarily something that all zero turn mowers handle the same. You’ll want to research your particular model to see what inclines it can best handle.
The caster wheels of a zero turn mower just won’t be able to compare to the traction and stability that can be found with the use of a forward steering system that is used with traditional riding mowers, but that doesn’t mean you’re at a complete loss if you have relatively low incline slopes in your yard. If you have slopes under 10 to 15 degrees, you’ll be able to get your work done without having to switch over to a different mower – you’ll just have to take a few extra precautions.
Mowing Slopes With Zero Turn Mowers
It can’t be stressed enough that you should work to avoid mowing hills with inclines higher than a 15 degree angle if you’re using a zero turn mower. You’ll be able to work with a slope that is at a 15 degree incline or lower, but you’ll have to make a few extra adjustments. One of the first changes you’ll have to make is the speed you use to cut grass on these inclines. There are a lot of great features to zero turn mowers and speed is definitely one of them.
But when it comes to working with slopes 15 mile per hour speeds aren’t going to work. These speeds leave you with even less traction than slower speeds would – and with caster wheels in the front that’s just not a risk you should take. When mowing slopes with a zero turn mower, you don’t want to go any faster than 4 to 5 miles per hour. This slow and steady speed will provide you with an ideal amount of traction to work with and keep your mower from tipping over while you work.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to have to make turns while working with a zero turn mower on the slopes. When you need to turn, drive over the slope and make your turn on flat ground. Then when you reach the bottom again do the same thing. Continue this process until the entire slope has been mowed.
Zero Turn Mower For Rough Terrain
While it is true that zero turn mowers can take on a rougher terrain, this isn’t something that is advised. These rough terrains will wear down on the working parts of a zero turn mower very early on, making for a shorter term investment. You’ll also need to worry about handling the mower at a proper speed.
You won’t have to go at the 4 to 5 mile per hour speed that is recommended for slopes and inclines, but you shouldn’t cruise over rough terrain at 15 miles per hour either. If you are going to use your zero turn mower, you’re going to want to invest in a mower that has a larger mowing path. We’d recommend something around 50 inches in width.
How to Drive a Zero Turn Mower Without Tearing Up Grass?
Many people are intimidated by the idea of using a zero turn mower because they are worried that they will tear up their lawns and ruin their grass. Though this does sometimes happen if people become too excited or careless while using the machine, it is something that is easily avoidable. One of the first things that you’ll want to keep in mind is the weather conditions while you mow. Has it recently rained or look like it will start raining soon?
This is a sign that you should wait before mowing your lawn. Wet and damp grass makes the lawn too slippery for your zero turn mower. While you can sometimes get by with these conditions if you have a traditional riding mower, zero turn mowers are different because of the caster wheels they have out in front. These wheels are not able to generate as much traction as traditional riding mower wheels could, which makes them vulnerable in wet and damp conditions.
You’ll especially see this if you try to make fast turns. You’ll lose traction and could tear up your lawn or tip over. Another great way to avoid tearing up your lawn is to use a three point turn. Most lawns are strong enough to handle turning with a swing turn, but if your lawn is too soft for this, you’ll need to incorporate three point turning to make sure you’re getting a good trim without destroying your yard. To do a three point turn, you’ll want to turn your mower towards the next line of uncut grass.
When you’ve made enough of a turn, pull back on the levers and back the mower up so you can reverse. Then turn your mower so you are perfectly aligned with the area of uncut grass and the freshly trimmed grass you just finished mowing. Now all you have to do is straighten out your controls and continue on to this new row of grass. The three point turn has several goals, but the most important is to complete the turn while you’re in motion instead of spinning in a tight and stationary circle.
The idea is that this will help to prevent your yard from being torn up because the pressure that would be created when you made a swing turn will be softened and diverted over a larger area of land. Zero turn mowers are great investments and are fairly simple to operate. So long as you use this machine carefully and responsibly, you won’t have any problem with tearing your grass or your lawn.