Originally Posted by Lehighlawnpros
We use a variation of the "racetrack" pattern all the time.
We never mow in different directions (un-productive/ possibly leaving ruts BOTH ways/ too much un-necessary turning required).
To avoid ruts we simply "stagger" our passes as required.
For example, after your first pass around the perimeter, on your
second pass just make a 1/2 or 1/3 pass, then on all subsequent passes mow
full passes (unless you line up with a rut then stagger a little as required).
Over time, in our conditions (SW Florida/St. Augustine) this method
eliminates ruts almost entirely, and we use heavy 1,500 pound plus Grasshopper front mounts.
It's very efficient and much less wear on the hydro system.
We mulch, so discharge is no factor for us.
Striping, although visible to some extent, isn't much of a concern here.
Some of our competitors who mow using zero-turns and in the same tracks all the time have some nasty ruts and sometimes turf damage, but our lawns always look great in that regard.
So, try using the "racetrack" all the time, just stagger as required to eliminate rut development. Works for us.
Same system I use. Going back and forth or diagnally drives me crazy and my yards have all types of trees, shrubs, etc to go around. People around here don't seem to care about stripes.