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Steep slope: How would you do it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawn Enforcement FM, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Lawn Enforcement FM

    Lawn Enforcement FM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    I need some advice. I have an account that has a berm that leads into a drainage ditch, then gradually slopes back up on the other side about 3 feet. The main slope is about 7ft. tall at an angle between 60 and 70 degrees. The big downside is this is about .4 of a mile long. Can this safely be mowed with a large walk behind, a high wheel mower, or will it half to be done with string trimmers? I do have slopes near lakes that will justify the purchase of a wb mower if it can be safely used on the big slope. Can it be done or will I be spending a few long days with the trimmers? The other consideration is it only has to be cut 3-4 times a year per the agreement so it tends to be weeds, over grown grass, and bushes with burs on them. Your thoughts please.
  2. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    Get yourself a couple of shindaiwa 270's and go to town. A half mile ditch would take me and one helper two hours tops to do.
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Have a slope meter?

    If you don't, get one.
    It's really hard to estimate slope degrees.

    If it's truely 60 degrees, you have no chance of mowing it with anything with wheels. You might get one pass on the bottom wrestling a Toro or Lawnboy 2 cycle 21"... but that's about all. But still a lot on .4 of a mile.

    I used to do a BUNCH of crap like that. No more.... have tennis elbow now as a result.
    I suggest growth regulator and trimming before you have to cut a lot off.

    Let me ponder a bit and I will give you some trimmer recommendations.
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Here are my recommendations.... which I hope will save you from personal injury/workers comp claims/etc... and get the job done efficiently...

    1) Apply growth regulator to reduce the number of trimmings
    2) Buy a different style trimmer for every person who will be working on it (exp below)
    3) Mow what you can
    4) Walk across the slope making full up/down swings of the trimmer
    5) Shoe types at your option (I don't need anything special)

    Now about the trimmers.... now like I said, I've done a bunch of this work and paid the price for my own errors. I have tennis elbow in BOTH arms now because I didn't realize I was screwing up until it was too late... and by the time I figured out how this should be done, it was only to help me survive out there now. If I could go back, this is what I would do for trimmers.

    The strain and repetitive motion of mowing goat hills with trimmers is what gets you hurt. I suggested a different style trimmer for each man... and the reason is so you can ROTATE machines. You don't want to be holding the same machine the same way the whole time. So you want trimmers with different handle styles and if possible, throttle locks also.

    Someone said to get a T-270. Great machine, good handles and has the kind of power you are going to want. But heavy, too heavy for most for something like this But yes, you want some good smooth machines with plenty of power. Enough power that you can let out 20"-22" of line to MOW with.

    For power, you'll want some RedMax 3000's... 30cc and no heavier than the rest of their commercial trimmers (11 lbs) and they have throttle locks. Any of the Stihl FS series.... but you'll want to catch up with me on configuration tips to make their shaped trigger handle rotate... and to 'create' a throttle lock on them too. If you have several people, find some others with different styles too. (no Kawasaki's with that offset shaft handle though)

    You want throttle locks, rotating handles or round handles.... BECAUSE you want your hands to be free to shift, you don't want to have to hold your wrists in any bent/cramped postion, and you will want to try to cut back on how much you hold the throttle with your fingers.

    Some smaller super-lights won't hurt for trading either... namely the Robin NB20 (8lbs).

    Really, what brands you settle on are way less important than making sure you get some different ones so you don't run the same one over and over. RedMax, Robin, Stihl, Shindawia, Echo, Tanaka, Cub Commercial, Maruyama, whatever.
  5. A.D Services

    A.D Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 224

    what about one of those huver mowers those are pretty cool but not sure if it is practical.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I have no idea on those.

    I tried to figure that out, but got nothing but a lot of mixed reviews.
  7. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,206

    If the guy is only going to be trimming the ditch a few times a year, the shindy 270 is the smallest, high power machine that will be efficient for his application. I've been doing guardrail trimming for years; and my company trims on average 6+ acres per month and miles and miles of fencline trimming as well... So, I know what I'm talking about. I've tried various brands and sizes of equipment in the environment that Lawn Enforcement will be working in. For instance...Fs80,fs85,t230,bcz2300,2600 are way too small. Not only are the engines not powerful enough(in this app) to operate smoothly and productively, but the shafts are too short and the angle of the heads have too much attack while the operator is in the proper trimming position. The shindy 260's do have the same good geometry as the 270's but lack a little bit of oomph and torque...But they are much lighter. As for alternating trimmers, I say No Way! People get used to swinging the same stick; and trying to change makes for awkward handling and ineffeciency.
  8. dhardin53

    dhardin53 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 711

    I do bad slops all the time. If the slope is so steep that I cant stay in the seat of my Dixie Chopper, and I have had a few (going cross ways only). I have a 48" pullbehind that i hang over the top eadge and a pass from the bottom up as well. This will get the most of the bad slop.Then whats left I weed wip.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Don't forget to charge extra for that.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Nah... reality of it is, they are going to want it trimmed every week or two if he doesn't ****** the growth. Most places aren't going to even dream of a few times a year. Most of them have already been through that with some corner cutting LCO and they know it has to be done regularly, otherwise it looks like s#it ALL the time... either overgrown, freshly bushwhacked, or covered in dryed brown mess.

    So he's looking at mowing a good half acre of 60-70 slope at a time.
    That's a JOB!

    I know what you are saying about the T270 though. I ran them for YEARS and would have nothing else. Had the dealer scene not changed so much around here, I'd probably still have some. You must also be taller like me. Nothing fits quite like a T270. But if you are not tall, you don't need the ergonomics.

    But yes, for the most part, most of the time you are going to want the power to sling a wide swath of line to save as many swings as you can on something that big. The lighter 30cc Strato-Charged RedMax is a good choice for that too. Heck, I've ran their 25cc with 20"-22" inches of line out with no problem.

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