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Old 09-06-2006, 10:16 PM
Roger Roger is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: McMurray, PA
Posts: 5,892
I bought a JD 717A in May, and feel like I am still learning (about 200 hours). The terrain I drive is often sloping, and it could be in any direction. On steeper slopes, I always mow parallel to the hill. At the end, always turn UP the slope, regardless of mowing top to bottom, or bottom to top. When I have the choice, I try mowing bottom to top.

Also, it took me a long time to discover a technique that helped with skidding the inside wheel, the one on the highest elevation ... (this is the most vulnearable wheel to tear turf). My tendancy to make a turn is to slow the inside wheel. But, when on the upside and will be the inside wheel on the turn, it will easily skid. But, rather than slow the inside wheel, I have found that speeding up the outside wheel will make the turn, without tearing turf. This often requires slowing the entire machine down a bit before approaching the turn.

By speeding up the outside wheel, the leverage to turn the machine is primarily generated by the outside wheel, the one with the most traction. Now, this does not insure the inside wheel will loose a bit of traction, but the technique will minimize the tearing.

This may be confusing, but to summarize: To turn the machine, speed up the outside wheel (greater traction), rather than slowing down the inside wheel (lesser traction).

Even after a few months, and taking great care, I still find myself tearing turf in some places. Yes, I have gotten much better, but still tear more turn in one week than I have in 10 years with my walk-behind.
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