Tips for smarter and faster work methods.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by johnnyjay, Jul 6, 2000.

  1. johnnyjay

    johnnyjay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    All you Professional and experienced operators please share with us New Operators (and old dogs that can still learn new tricks) your tried and true work methods you have discovered and/or learned from other professionals to make jobs go faster, yards looking professionally cut, and less wasted time. <p>Here is a list of items I am interested in to get this started. Others may add their requests. All you other new operators jump in and ask your questions.<p> (I am using a 36&quot; WB Exmark Metro HP TriVantage with mulching system and using the gator blades. I have the 1 wheel Velke. Also, I have Stihl trimmer, Stihl Edger, Stihl 24&quot; Hedge Trimmer, Echo Hand Blower.)<p>1. Do you cut around the circumference of the property first. Do you make 1 pass around or two passes?<p>2. Do you continue to cut in circles, or do you cut back and forth paths with straight lines?<p>3. When using the Velke do you cut in circles or zero turn around and cut back and forth paths?<p>4. Does it matter if you cut clockwise or counter clockwise with a mulching system?<p>5. How about cuting around trees or shrubery/flower islands? Do you find it unsafe to use the Velke around curvy islands?<p>6. How about using the Velke on wet grass. (Today I cut a yard where the neighbor's sprinkler was throwing water on the the yard I was cutting. (About 10 ft down property line. This caused mower to choke down and belts to slip and mower to shut down. At the end of job I went back over that area after the grass had dried and re- mulched the previous wet mulch grass that was standing on top.)<p>7. After you have cut the grass, do you use your weedeater trimmer next or do you use your edger next?<p>8. If drive and walks have not been edged in a long time and/or maybe never, do you use your trimmer first to clear a path to the edge, or do you go ahead and use the Edger and guess where the edge is and let the blade follow the edge?<p>9. In edging islands do you edge clockwise with the wheel on the grass side, or do you edge counter-clockwise with the wheel on the island side?<p>10. How about tips when cutting grass and edging or trimming around swimming pools? How do you keep grass from blowing into the pool? Do you stop and use blower to get the grass off of the walk around the pool? If left too long the wind will blow the grass into the pool.<p>11. Do you use your blower to spread out any mulched grass on top of yard?<p>12. Do you work back yards separately or along with the front yard? Meaning do you cut grass in front yard and back yard and then put mower up, do trimming in front yard and back yard then put trimmer up, do edging in front yard and back yard and then put edger up, and blow front walks and drive, then back yard walks, stoops, and put blower up.<p>13. Last, if you will be pruning shrubs and pulling weeds from around shrubs do you pull weeds first and then do the pruning? Do you put tarps or anything down to help catch clippings? Do you just try and get out as much of the clipings you can without raking out the mulch around the shrubs and leave the rest?<p>Thanks ahead to all contributors on this topic.<p>Johnnyjay<br>Jonesboro, GA<br>jonesjjjr@mindspring.com
     
  2. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 980

    WOW&gt; that was alot of questions. Am jsut a scrub myself but i think that i have the mowing part down pretty well.<p>1. I do cut a circle around the edges. Then i proceed to do lines either straight across or diagonally. I differ each week. With a belt drive WB you may have to make two passes initially around the edge being that the belt drives do not turn as quickly as HP.<p>2. answered in 1<p>3. I NEVER continue to do circles. it never looks as neat as straight lines. On cleanup jobs i may do initial circles, but then go over again with lines.<p>4. I have no idea being that i dont mulch.<p>5. Velkes are only sometimes unreliable when on slopes (wet is the worst). Personally i think the best move i made in that area was to get rid of the velke. It doesnt leave near as nice look as just hte mower tracks. I traded mine in for a set of jungle wheels. The wheels of the jungle jim ride almost exactly where my mower wheels are. you would not believe the difference. Ask you dealer if you can demo a set. AND, i also found that velkes clogged and locked up the wheel when mowing in the rain.<p>6. Wet grass vs velke was covered above, but the mower problems iknow all too well. Your best bet there is to sell the belt drive and go hydro. again the difference is phenominal.<p>7. I think this question is as important as the chicken/egg argument. Do either after mowing then blow down. Not really an issue unless you have a crew working with you. Then it is more an issue of time frames and everyone getting done at the same time.<p>8. I personally like to edge with the edger first then upkeep the edge with the trimmer. BUT, i redo edges about once a month or as needed. Commercial accounts i edge weekly.<p>9. IF you use the edger i would go with the wheel on the grass. BUT i do not use my edger for that. I trim it. Turn your trimmer upside down and edge walking backward in a clockwise position. WATCH OUT FOR CARS AROUND THOUGH!! While trimming this way it can toss rocks up quite easily. And good eye protectin is essential as well. NEVER do this without eye protection. Because you are not cuttin the ground away with an edger yo will preserve the amount of lawn already there. When using an edger i have tended to slowly cut more and more lawn away. In ten years i might have a pool cut out! haha<p>10. Swimming pools are not too much of an issue up here in the rainy state ont eh west side. (Near Seattle WA) But, via prior experience, jsut trim in such a way that you are shooting your trimmed clippings back into the lawn. If your trimmer shaft is straight then you will go in a clockwise direction using the front of the string only. <p>11. Although i do not mulch, i do occasionally discharge out the side. When i do and ther eare clups i blow afterwards. The trick i found is to aim the blower discharge DOWN. IF you blow across then it jsut blows the clumps to another spot.<p>12. Mow the whole thing. Then trim it. Then edge it if necessary, then blow it. Pack up each piece of equipment as you get done with it.<p>13. And last but not least i have no idea. I would pull the weeds and toss em into the yard. Then you can mow em up when the beds are completed. When pruning, toss branches into a pile then clean up when done. After that blow out the beds to get the loose leaves. Then mow the yard.<p>Hope i was of some help.
     
  3. mattingly

    mattingly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    I agree whole-heartedly with the above post. Two wheeled velke is the way to go. Lines seem to be the neat and simple way to go. THe initial edge mowing is an either or thing. If you hold off on it til last you save a little time because you will find yourself wanting to back over the area you did your turning around on later anyway. This way you aren't doubling up the passes. Once I get an area down pat and know it inside out, i find it easier to trim first and mow next. This way you don't have trimmings left afterwards. I got this from the guys on the forum and thought they were crazy. Tried it myself and found i like it best. Hydros make a world of difference. I cut all wednesday in the rain. Cut grass nearly a foot tall and didn't stall. Now be it that it took several passes but i know the old belt drive would have never made a single pass. Hydros are faster, hold much better on hills and just give you a smooth ride.<p>----------<br>Integrated Landscape Solutions<br>Lexington, KY
     
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I guess what your looking for is everyones opinion on your questions so here goes!<p>1)DEPENDING ON THE WIDTH OF THE MOWER, MAKE A PASS AROUND THE CIRCUMFRENCE FIRST, JUST TO SCOPE OUT THE YARD FOR TOYS AND OTHER CRAP, PLUS IT GIVES YOU ROOM TO TURN AT THE END OF YOUR PASSES<p>2)IF YOU CUT IN CIRCLES YOU WON'T GET GOOD STRIPES BECAUSE YOU WON'T BE ALTERNATING DIRECTIONS. IF YOUR CUTTING A BIG FIELD WHERE THE STRIPES DON'T MATTER, I GUESS IT WOULD BE FASTER TO CUT IN CIRCLES, BUT FOR A QUALITY LOOKING CUT, GO UP AND DOWN ROWS<p>3) BACK AND FORTH<p>4) IF ITS A REAL &quot;MULCHING SYSTEM&quot; NO, BECAUSE IT WON'T HAVE A DISCHARGE CHUTE ON EITHER SIDE. IF IT DOES HAVE A DISCHARGE CHUTE, REMEMBER TO KEEP IT POINTED AWAY FROM PAVED AREAS, FLOWER BEDS, POOLS, ETC.<p>5) YOUR VELKE SHOULD FOLLOW THE MOWER PRETTY TIGHT. IF ITS SAFE FOR THE MOWER ITS SAFE FOR THE VELKY. ( BUT THEN AGAIN I DON'T REALLY UNDERSTAND THE SAFETY ISSUE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!)<p>6) YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE TO SLOW DOWN IN THE HEAVY WET GRASS IF ITS BOGGING YOUR MOWER DOWN, PROBOBLY DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ALL WITH YOUR VELKE<p>7) WHATEVER YOU LIKE TO DO, EITHER WAY IF YOU HAVE TO TRIM AND EDGE ITS GOING TO TAKE THE SAME TIME NO MATTER WHAT THE ORDER IS (IF YOUR ONLY ONE PERSON WORKING) AND ACTUALLY MY PREFERENCE WOULD BE TO TRIM FIRST BECAUSE THEN YOU CAN MUCLCH OR BAG YOUR CLIPPINGS.<p>8) WHY HAVE AN EDGER IF YOU USE A TRIMMER TO DO ITS JOB. IF THEY ARE OVERGROWN LIKE YOU SAID, ITS MORE THE REASON TO USE YOUR EDGER. ONCE THEY'RE CLEANED OUT GOOD, IT SHOULD TAKE YOU AS MUCH TIME WITH EITHER MACHINE TO DO IT, BUT IT WILL BE A MUCH CRISPER LOOK WITH THE EDGER. SOME PEOPLE I KNOW EVEN EDGE THEN HIT IT WITH THE TRIMMER TO TAPER IT UP TO THE HEIGHT OF THE LAWN. AGAIN, THATS PERSONAL PREFERENCE. WHATEVR LOOKS GOOD TO YOU!<p>9) DEPENDS ON THE TERRAIN, IS THE MULCH HIGHER THAN THE GRASS OR VISE VERSA? YOU USUALLY WANT THE WHEEL ON THE GRASS OR PAVEMENT, BUT THE SITUATION WILL DICTATE<p>10) SAVE TRIMMING AROUND THE POOL TILL LAST, RIGHT BEFORE YOU BLOW SO IT WON'T BE SITTING THAT LONG.<p>11) IF THE GRASS IS CLUMPED BAD ENOUGH TO WHERE YOU CAN REALLY SEE IT, IT MIGHT BE FASTER TO MAKE A COUPLE MOPRE PASSES WITH THE MOWER. BUT FOR SMALL STUFF, YES YOU CAN BLOW THE &quot;WINDORWS&quot; LEFT IN THE GRASS SOMETIMES<p>12) ITS FASTER TO DO ALL OF ONE THING AT A TIME, ALL THE TRIMMING, ALL THE MOWING, THEN ALL THE BLOWING. IF YOU SPLIT IT UP, YOU HAVE TO FIGURE AN EXTRA TIME SWITCHING OUT AND STARTING ALL THE MACHINES.<p>13)I'D PRUNE FIRST THEN PULL THE WEEDS WHILE CLEANING UP THE CLIPPINGS. THE TARP IDEA WILL WORK SOME PLACES, BUT IT WILL BE MORE OF A PAIN SOMETIMES TOO. I WOULDN'T THROW SHRUB BRANCHES OR WEEDS INTO THE LAWN UNLESS YOU'LL BE BAGGING.<p>HOPE THIS GIVES YOU ANOTHER PERSPETIVE ON SOME THINGS. REMEMBER, THESE ARE JUST ARE OPINIONS, A LOT OF THIS IS PERSONAL PREFERENCE, WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! BEST OF LUCK!!<p><p><p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti
     

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