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0 turn mowers on steep hills


LawnSite Member
Evart, MI
I am considering the purchase of a o turn, possibly ZD21 Kubota for mowing about six acres of hilly lawn, with many trees to trim around. Do the o turn mowers do well on hills? Also, any advise on Kubota vs John Deere would be appreciated.:D


LawnSite Silver Member
Bolivar, MO
I don't have the experience of a lot of guys on here, but see no one else had bitten yet, so thought I'd give it a try.

I've helped a friend of mine for a few years that has the contract on some land leased by the Conservation Department here in MO. Two areas have pretty steep hills. On is actually roadside embankment probably 30 feet high, the other a hillside or perhaps half an acre or so. I've mowed both with his 61 Encore Prowler, and my Gravely 250Z. If the grass is wet, you can have some problems, but if the grass is dry, it is amazing where they will go. I was pretty reluctant to try the hills at first (bravery is not my strong suite), but once you get familiar with the machine, you will learn how to control it.

Perhaps the main thing is remembering to work the controls SLOWLY. Any sudden surge in power or direction change can cause you to lose traction. On a reasonable hill, if you do, all you will likely do is slide sideways anyhow, but it is a little scary. Going across hillsides, you just learn to keep a bit more power to the lower wheel than to the top, as you have no steering on the front. I do believe some models allow locking of the front casters, which, supposedly will give you a bit more control on slopes. Probably the least controllable is going down hill. Any attempt at braking can cause you to lose traction if your tires are worn, or the grass and/or ground is wet. Hope this helps. Neill


LawnSite Bronze Member
Hi, I have found it hard to mow straight up and down on a hill. down is the tricky part. alot of mine are on a lake and if i mess up i am in the lake. LOL. Norm i just go at an 45 degree. especialy if it is damp.


LawnSite Member
Best way to answer that question is to put the mowers on it. Anyone can talk their machine across a hill, only you can drive it. Manufacturers make different claims to the degree they can handle (this is a mistake), that fact is for safety purposes that you should steer or make turns up the hills. Also, because of the casters on the front of the machine, it will not handle as well as a machine that has positive steering from 4 wheels (i.e. a tractor). Considering center of gravity and width of footprint is also advisable.
As I said before, any dealer worth their salt will relish and opportunity to demo head to head, I know I do. Win or Lose.
Good Luck.


LawnSite Bronze Member
here is a pic of one i do at an angle



LawnSite Senior Member
I have a Kut Kwick mower made especially for mowing hills. Good up to 40 degree's. Another mower is the Hustler 6400, although I've never used one. I have a dixie chopper that does OK on hills but not great.


LawnSite Senior Member
You call that a hill? As I said before, everyone's perception is different. Here is a pic of a pond bank I do. You will notice that I did not take the pic with my mower on the hill. That is because it is too steep. Therefore I use my Quad and pull a Swisher brush cutter behind it.

pond angle 4.jpg