Driving a zero turn – Best Driving Technique

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Eric D, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. Eric D

    Eric D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Driving a zero turn, what cutting techniques have you learn that saves you time or improves the final cut quality or both?

    For example,
    1. how do you avoid making divots from the tires?
    2. how do you avoid scalloping?
    3. how do you cut when dealing with slopes?
  2. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    1. 3 point turns are your friend.

    2. Anti-scalp wheels or use the proper size machine for the job. Experience also helps.

    3. string trim or walk-behind if conditions are unsafe.
  3. Eric D

    Eric D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295


    Thanks for the feedback. Here is a follow up question on the 3 point turn. I have a buddy of mine that has a different process then me. I would be interested in which way most people carry out their 3 point. When you start the first point of your 3 point turn, do you turn toward the uncut grass or away from it?
  4. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    It doesn't really matter. I guess if I had to pick, I'd go towards the uncut side. I circle the entire property once before anything else, so it really doesn't matter since I go over that area a second time once I'm done to cut out my turning circles. I don't do that on my larger properties as it might tack on an extra hour to go around it a second time.
  5. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    I tried the 3 point for a while when I first got my Z, and then saw another technique on how to turn. Kinda hard to describe, but basically as you are coming to the end and getting ready to turn, you push forward with the right stick and pull back with the left stick. This makes the right wheel go forward and the left wheel in reverse, creating your turn. This takes a lot of practice to keep from tearing up the property, but can be done pretty quick once you have it down.
  6. Leaf Jockey

    Leaf Jockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I usually work toward the uncut grass but it depends which way you want the clippings to go. When working on a slope I turn uphill, then finish the turn.

  7. Down2EarthLawns

    Down2EarthLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    Slow down on your turns. You can 3 point, which is an easier method. Or you can zero turn (one wheel moves forward while other reverses). Either way, don't be in too much of a hurry because both can leave ruts if not done properly or too fast.

    I try to leave uncut grass to my right, then turn into it when ever I can. I have had the best results with this method in order to carry clipping with me and not leave clumps or clipping stripes. Thats on of the reasons I don't like 3 point turns. When you go in reverse, the mower drops clippings.
  8. Down2EarthLawns

    Down2EarthLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    Oh, for slopes....I go with the turf. Meaning if the turf slopes 15 degrees, I ride it along the 15 degree slope. You have to use your judgement if the slope turns on a sidehill though. If it is too sharp, you'll scalp it. I cuts these areas as high as possible until I get a good feel for how short it cuts when I turn on them. Also, be careful to notice where the turf levels out again and keep your deck on one side or the other of the low point. If you cut too low on the slope, or too far in on the low point, you'll leave a nasty cut line along that area.
  9. WhitakerServices

    WhitakerServices LawnSite Member
    Messages: 159

    as with any mower let the cut quality dictate your ground speed just because you can run 15 mph doesn't mean you should. And definately take it slow on the turns , keep the tires turning and not skidding.
  10. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,930

    Ditto...this is what Ive been doing this year. It seems to be easier on my Quik Trak than it was on my mid mount Z.

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