Diagonal slope mowing WOES!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, May 7, 2003.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    OK guys, I need your help bad! I have a few accounts that are giving me fits with this situation. I was under the impression that this was one of the safer easier methods of slope mowing. So, I must be doing something wrong!

    I will use one account as an example to see if I can get some tips.

    Slight incline rolling away from the rear of a building with a steep incline coming off of it to the side of the building, running into a chain link fence.

    I can mow this slope across from side to side with no problems. But I want to change directions once and a while. I can mow up it diagonally with no problems. But coming down diagonally is a totally different matter!!! As I'm creeping down the Z breaks loose and takes off like a rocket sled!!!

    What do I need to do here? I can't go any slower. Do I need to speed up a little? Change the angle of decent? Zero turn and attempt backing down?

    I have to mow the account mentioned tomorrow. Any helpful info would be appreciated.
  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    from my experience, you are out of luck. if you cant mow diagonal, it must be pretty steep then. all you can do is mow horizontally. over time it may start to rut, but it beats shooting your ztr into something. have you tried going down at the slowest speed you possibly can? i had a few that i could creep down just fine, but if i acclerated at all, the mower would go out of control, and you went for the ride with it. i have witnessed several other lcos trying to mow down slopes, and nearly losing it, cause they were attacking an incline that was too steep to handle for the direction they were mowing.
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    You're shifting much of the weight of your already front-heavy ZTR to one rear tire when mowing downhill diagonally. Better to mow straight up and down, or side to side, w/o as much variation, than to tear up the turf or even risk injury to mow diagonally. This is one type of mowing where a out-front mower like the Walker might do a better job, since the weight is further back than on a ZTR. I almost never mow steep hills downhill with a ZTR. You might could mow up, then back down, diagonally, but that's not always easy, either.

    Perfect lawns start with perfect landscaping. If they put a lawn on steep hills and such, you can't be expected to make it look like a golf green. I do the best I can with the existing conditions.

    I have found that the first 90% of results take 50% of the effort. The last 10% required to reach perfection will double the effort required. People WANT 100%. People will consistently PAY for 90%. So I stick to that niche.

    Oh yeah, this is one reason why I decided not to "sell" striping and buy a striping kit for my ZTR. It's a double-edged sword. It can help you distinguish yourself from the competition and stand out, but once you get people hooked on them, you'd better be able to deliver them all the time, everywhere, or suddenly they think you did something "wrong".
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I "think" I am going as slow as possible. The reason I say that is because maybe it's breaking loose as I give the lower tire a little. It all happens so suddenly that I can't really be sure of the cause. One second it's stuck like glue and the next it's gone!
  5. Lawn Tek

    Lawn Tek LawnSite Senior Member
    from u s a
    Messages: 457

    Been there , ever day in hill country . We never go nose down hill on a Z . We mow them all with a Z or weed eat, most of my steep stuff is ruff though . We never push mow . A walk behind could be your ticket .
  6. bastalker

    bastalker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 965

    You can always stagger you tracks from week to week. Sounds like it is a steep grade, so horizontally may be your only alternative. Just move a tire width apart next time to keep the rutting down. Maybe have to do a little more weed whacking. You could also try getting the help, or yourself to cut the border with the 21". This will also help split the z tracks.
  7. Piedmont Lawn

    Piedmont Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178


    Welcome to the wonderful world of ZTM's, how much seat time you got on that new mower ? I have about 50 hrs on mine now and learn something new every time I get on it. If it ever stops raining and the ground dries out you will notice a difference....

  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Brucec32, The weight transfer is the problem. But in this case that would go for any type of machine. I've tried about everything there is. The weight balance on my Z is superb. It's not front heavy at all. In fact I can pick up the front end by myself. I do it every day right now due to all the rain. I pick it up and prop it with a 4x4 to clean out from under the deck. I back it up to a ditch so the rear end doesn't touch because I tilt it up high.

    Lawn Tek, Believe me I know the feeling! I actually was real serious about getting a walkbehind instead of a Z. But my experience has been that a walkbehind does no better at what I'm talking about. The only plus is you can just let go.

    bastalker, I like your idea of using the 21" and staggering the tire tracks. I think I'll try that for the area until it dries out. It's a west facing slope and when the sun is in the west, usually it has been raining.

    Zq8, Thanks I think? I put a lot of hours on the demo unit between the demo time and using it while I waited for my order to arrive. I only have about 15 hours on mine now. All the rain and saturated soil has limited how much seat time I have been able to log on mine so far. I've only averaged loading it once or twice a week and then I couldn't use it on every stop.
  9. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    What's up Envy? Long time no see.
  10. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    hmmm, Z's will climb up and Walkers go down forward no problem...get both! Just don't ask me about the second pass when the walker is stuck at the bottom and the Z has shot through the fence....LOL :rolleyes: :dizzy:

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