Originally Posted by GravyTrain
Figured I would get that from someone, didn't expect it so soon. Sorry you don't like it. Personally, I like them.
As for using the push instead of the 48", the pictures don't do it justice, but because of the slope of the yard, the corners scalp pretty bad. It takes about an extra 5 minutes with the push, and I think it looks better. It is worth the extra 5 minutes to me.
I think the lawn looks very nice. I doubt you'd have any complaints.
However, those wheel tracks do strike me as too deep and more of a flaw than an asset. I realize it is the nature of Bermuda when mowed tall to do that. Partly you are probably seeing "footprinting" of the lawn due to the dry conditions.
I mow a lot of bermuda here, though it is hybrid and from a height of 1.25" early to about 2.5" this time of year. So later in the season it looks a lot like what you have there.
My experience is that the bigger tires of a wide area mower will leave less tracking in the grass. It's true that you can get more scalping with a big deck, but your TT HP gives a really nice cut and can handle most lawns that are well graded like these. They are not "flat", but darn close.
Dang, I keep seeing more stuff. If by "corners" you mean that you get scalping at the edges where you are part on concrete, part on lawn, just make that first pass with 50% overlap on the concrete and it avoids that. Hard to explain, but it works.
Be sure you have set your antiscalps correctly for the mowing height. It's not always what the manual or deck decals say, either. On Bermuda you want them to almost be touching constantly. The higher they are from the ground the more dips you'll get on that side, and hence more scalping. The problem with mowing Bermuda at 3.5" is that by the time your antiscalp wheels hit soil where they actually work, your deck is already 3.5" down into the soil, and hence low enough to scalp.
Also remember that with wear your antiscalps get smaller and allow more "slop" that can result in "scalping" into the brown area of the bermuda.
Over time I eventually learned that mowing hybrid Bermuda (not sure what yours is) it initially seems better to mow high, because it's greener and initially harder to have 'scalping" spots. But it can come back to bite you as over time the brown stems get higher and higher and you're left with a grass plant that is 3" of stems and 1/2" of green tops. That means you are very vulnerable to flaws in the cut and get scalp marks with bigger decks. Cutting it low light reaches all the way to the soil and most of the plant stays green, not brown, so it is much more forgiving of flaws in the cut. This allows a bigger deck size to be used.
You might want to experiment with a single lawn next season and try cutting it to 1" the first time, then cut at 1.25" as long as possible, upping it .25" if growth gets too fast to keep up. Even common Bermuda can be cut at that height if it's otherwise healthy. In our area that's expected on high end homes, probably due to their owners spending so much time on golf courses and seeing tifway bermuda mowed low. I realize there the custom may be to cut it tall.
If "at the corners" you meant that you are getting scalping at the bottom of the slope, sometimes that can be due to approaching that area at the wrong angle. If you're seeing it when you zero turn it can help to "wheelie" the deck up an inch or so if trying to zero turn at the crest of a hill in a bad spot. It also helps to always keep that trim side in mind when mowing, so that you never have the edge of the deck lower than the caster wheel on that side. With time you learn to modify the pattern according to the ground layout. This is where a rider actually does better in some cases, as you can use the deck pedal to lift the deck when needed to avoid scalping in tight turns.
I realize some small Bermuda lawns definitely look better mowed with a 21", but in my opinion this lawn, at least the parts that are up front, is actually one where the TT (36 or 48) would get the job done nicely too. 5 min is 5 min, but over time that adds up. If you did this with every lawn you'd be leaving maybe $50/day on the table. It also means you're adding fatigue and wear/tear on your body that you might avoid otherwise. That might allow you to work another half hour a day, yielding another $35 or so.
And get a straight shaft trimmer, preferably with an Edgit on it, it's much easier than trying to keep a curved shaft in control. You will be edging as fast as you can walk, no kidding.
As for less wheel marks with a 21", some of the new Toro and Exmark commercials may have wider tires than the residential units you're using now. But stick to the lighter models, as the heavy ones would negate that.