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eXmark HP questions

1505 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  brucec32

This is my first time posting so I wanted to let you know that this site is very useful and informative. Having dealer forums is a great idea. I have been mowing yards for over 20 years since I was a kid in the 5th grade. I have always loved mowing and drooling over new mowers at the stores and dealerships. When my Simplicity of only 7 years had the hydrostatic trans go out everyone said you would be better off getting a new mower, so I did. An eXmark HP 48. This is the first Z mower I have ever operated so I thought I would give it a few months to try and get use to it before asking any questions. So here they are:
- First, I cant seem to be able to trim around trees or make any tight turns without the inside rear tire tearing up the grass. This is especially true when doing a zero turn. A lot of the yards that have trees are starting to get worn marks in the grass around what Im trimming. This is not just on slight slopes it is on flat ground also.
- Second, I have read a lot of the forums were traction seems to be a common problem with Z mowers (me included). My rear tires had as much as 25 psi in them when I got the mower, I have dropped that down to about 17 to 18 psi but that hasnt seemed to help with slipping. I thought about a bar type tire but dont know how that would effect the first problem?
- Third, I had the option of getting the free stripe kit with my mower and I ordered a mulch kit seperate. I have not installed the mulch kit yet but I have the stripe kit. I usually mow at a height of 2.5 inches and have the roller(stripe bar) set up according to the instructions for that height. I cant tell from looking at the grass its even on my deck. There is hardly no stripping at all. I dont know if it doesnt work well in some types of grass or what?
Hope you might be able to shed some light on the subjects for me and Thanks for your help. <><
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Well first let me say welcome to LS and congratulations on your recent purchase.

The turf tearing can be drastically reduced if not eliminated.

First we'll address the zero turn turfing. Most beginners will "plant" the pivot wheel or leave it stationary and swing the mower around it. That's probably the worst thing to do. With new operators I like to stick them on a machine and make them come to a COMPLETE stop before making a turn. I also have them begin by pulling the pivot wheel into reverse before driving the outside wheel forward. Example: To make a right hand turn come to a complete stop. Pull the RH lever into reverse then bring the LH lever forward to complete the turn. This will prevent the pivot wheel from twisting the grass out by its roots.

For tree rings there are only a couple of choices I know of. Some of the guys here on LS my have better ideas. First time with a trim mower or weed whip. Not a great choice but a choice just the same. Second simply drive past the ring in a straight line. Once past stop, swing the deck into the ring in the same manner you make a zero turn, drive past and repeat. This is how I do the tree rings. It's not nearly as fast as driving around the ring but it does less damage to the turf. Ironically a guy told me that backing around the tree did less damage as well. After I watched the guy a couple of times I understood why. He couldn't back up smoothly and was constantly swinging the deck back into the tree ring. Just make sure your not leaving the inside tire in one place while making the turn.


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Terry's giving good advice. I have the same mower as you do (my 2nd one) and you really can't trim a tight circle around a tree w/o doing some damage over time, if not all at once. Instead, try trimming some of the circle on one pass, then part of it on another, and cleaning up the remant with a 3rd. Easier to show than explain, but if you just circle it the fastest way, you will wear out the grass around the tree. You have to mix it up some to avoid wear patterns.

When making zero turns or really tight turns, just be careful. I usually stop first, then turn the wheels. Even on 3 point turns. It all takes time and experience getting to know the mower's limits.

I also find my tires a little slipperier than I recall them being on my first hp. It's a new design. The key is to learn its limitations and steer accordingly. But when it does slip, it seems to do less damage than my old tires did. So it's a tradeoff. You will always slide going down steep hills on any ZTR, so approach them going uphill.

If you're mowing a warm season turf like Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede, or St. Augustine, you won't see the distinctive stripes like those on Kentucky Bluegrass. Tall Fescue here will stripe, but still nothing like bluegrass up north.
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