General Rules For Providing a Professional Quality Cut

D. R. Martin

LawnSite Member
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
General Rules For Providing a Professional Quality Cut

I hope I don't take a beating for this, but having a previously disclosed lack of law care experience coupled with a sincere desire to garner the requisite information necessary to become a legitimate professional, I wanted to ask for some basic rules to live by concerning cutting lawns.

For example, while researching this topic online I've learned that "rutting" is created by continuously mowing in the same direction, without variation. Also, I've read about striping and have studied the posted pictures demonstrating what both properly and improperly stripped yards look like.

Is striping simply a matter of equipment? If I buy the Exmark Commercial 30" will it cut in a similarly striped pattern? Is striping even important for smaller 1/4 acre front yards?

People in my area typically have sodded front yards and poorly maintained, cheap grass in the back of their homes. Would it be potentially damaging to a smaller mower, such as the Exmark 30 to use in rougher areas?

As always, I'm thankful for the help provided by the contributors of this site.
 

sjessen

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Knoxville, Tn
The Exmark 30 will stripe and should be fine on poorer yards. It may struggle a bit in really tall thick grass and weeds. To enhance the striping effect some lco's double and triple cut a lawn to make the stripes more noticeable and then follow the same patterns. Some use a striping roller to get a more pronounced effect.

Some types of grass do not stripe well. Northern grasses stripe the best.
 

gcbailey

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
WV
Striping is in someways a matter of preference. You can stripe any sized yard with any size mower. They make striping kits from 21" push mowers up to wide area mowers 10'+ in size that you see on golf courses.

We have some homeowners who want theirs striped, some could care less, some don't even pay attention to it.

Striping however takes more than just the mower. You ideally need weed free grass, grass that will "bend over", cutting at the proper length (not too short), cutting in a direction that the sun will hit it right and it will be viewable the best. It is a technique, not just an action.
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gcbailey

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
WV
I will say this too... Striping is a very small part of giving a "professional quality cut". Striping is mainly for looks, it does provide some benefits to the grass. However, it's more important that you keep your blades sharp, mow at the correct height for the type of grass, change up your mowing directions every couple of weeks at least to minimize rutting. Rutting is a whole different topic, but naturally the heavier the mower the greater chance of rutting. A 120lb push mower is going to do a lot less damage to a property vs. a 1500lb ZTR but even a push mower over time can rut.

Don't get fooled into the myth that just because it's striped that it's "professional quality" or whatever.
 
OP
D

D. R. Martin

LawnSite Member
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
Thanks Guys! I really appreciate the help. I'll look into he stripe kit you mentioned. I do like the way a striped yard looks but my yard has never done it. I'm clear on the importance of changing mowing direction every couple of cuts. I'll research the proper grass lengths for the various types of grass that grow in Georgia. I'm guessing the sharper the blades the more even the cut? i.e. less missed stragglers? Any more tips?
 

32vld

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Long Island, NY
I do not like stripes. Do men wear plaid tuxedos, women plaid dresses when trying to looking their best, no they do not.

A lawn is suppose to have a nice emerald green color that is uniform.

Edging is important as well.

Nothing say hack as well as the Landscaper that leaves the miniature drainage trenches between the grass and the hard surface. Whether curb, sidewalk, driveway, patio.
 

whiffyspark

LawnSite Fanatic
You might not like them. But that doesn't mean the customers don't.

A nice emerald green color is done with a rotary. People won't pay for that

And keeping up with the jones is in full affect
Posted via Mobile Device
 

inzane

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
SouthEast
what area are you in? i'm in the north atlanta suburbs. We have mostly warm season turf, mainly bermuda. I wouldn't mess with getting a striping kit, IMO its not so important here. Unless you are mowing in buckhead or something and you have alot of fescues or emerald zoysia lawns to mow. I agree the stripes add a nice touch, but there are still much more important aspects of getting a nice professional looking cut. I think these guys above covered most of it.. :)


Thanks Guys! I really appreciate the help. I'll look into he stripe kit you mentioned. I do like the way a striped yard looks but my yard has never done it. I'm clear on the importance of changing mowing direction every couple of cuts. I'll research the proper grass lengths for the various types of grass that grow in Georgia. I'm guessing the sharper the blades the more even the cut? i.e. less missed stragglers? Any more tips?
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
General Rules For Providing a Professional Quality Cut

I hope I don't take a beating for this, but having a previously disclosed lack of law care experience coupled with a sincere desire to garner the requisite information necessary to become a legitimate professional, I wanted to ask for some basic rules to live by concerning cutting lawns.

For example, while researching this topic online I've learned that "rutting" is created by continuously mowing in the same direction, without variation. Also, I've read about striping and have studied the posted pictures demonstrating what both properly and improperly stripped yards look like.

Is striping simply a matter of equipment? If I buy the Exmark Commercial 30" will it cut in a similarly striped pattern? Is striping even important for smaller 1/4 acre front yards?

People in my area typically have sodded front yards and poorly maintained, cheap grass in the back of their homes. Would it be potentially damaging to a smaller mower, such as the Exmark 30 to use in rougher areas?

As always, I'm thankful for the help provided by the contributors of this site.

I suggest buying the book "Picture Perfect" by David R. Mellor.
A man I interned under and as far as I can tell the father of it all, when it comes to bringing athletic field striping quality to the residential market.

http://www.contractorresource.com/p...781575041513&gclid=CNr7r5mg5r8CFYVDMgodYD4AwQ
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
I will say this too... Striping is a very small part of giving a "professional quality cut". Striping is mainly for looks, it does provide some benefits to the grass. However, it's more important that you keep your blades sharp, mow at the correct height for the type of grass, change up your mowing directions every couple of weeks at least to minimize rutting. Rutting is a whole different topic, but naturally the heavier the mower the greater chance of rutting. A 120lb push mower is going to do a lot less damage to a property vs. a 1500lb ZTR but even a push mower over time can rut.

Don't get fooled into the myth that just because it's striped that it's "professional quality" or whatever.


I would have to wholesale disagree with this statement.

It has to do with PSI of the tires in contact with the ground and repetitively running in the same wheel marks.

A 21" mower with skinny tires can rut a lawn the first time out if it's wet enough. but Ive seen (and done) a dixie chopper with floatation tires "float" of the same turf my own feet sunk into.

It's PSI of the tires, not the whole weight of the machine. Im not talking about how much air is in the tires, but the ground contact PSI.

a 12,000 lb ASV loader has LESS PSI on the ground that I do with my size 11 boot.
 

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