Getting ruts in lawn

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawn Cruiser, Oct 21, 2000.

  1. Lawn Cruiser

    Lawn Cruiser LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    I have noticed that despite mowing different directions each week, I am forming some ruts in the lawn where I can't vary my direction. This happens around the tree's and also around the perimeter of the lawn. Does anyone else have this problem or suggestion on how to avoid this?
  2. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    They dont fit my hands.But a little cheap
    push mower might do it.
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 10,859

    I saw the guy the other day cutting this maufacturing plant. Useing what looked like a 50+ hp jd tractor pulling a batwing type mower(like a 12 footer). I know he thinks this is smart and faster and uses less employees. But it looks to me like something that heavy would over time put large ruts in the yard. Unless you got mushy lawns. I can't see a z or just a mower doing that. Up north with all the rain you guys been getting I guees it could happen
  4. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    Several years ago, I had a over irrigated account that my 44" walkbehind was doing the same thing. The way I solved it was to use the wheels as my cutting guide NOT the deck. In otherwords, do not use the entire deck on your first few rounds on your perimeter passes if you are not able to use a bigger or smaller width mower. Just let the deck hang out over the curb or leave a little grass inside the curb and keep your tires to one side or other of the ruts where you can. Inches sometimes are enough to ride the tires on the high side of the rut helping push them back in and flatten out the old ruts. Vary this of course to keep from forming new ruts. You might have to trim a little extra every month or so, but it will work out over time.

    As for ruts around trees, try mowing around them by not using one full flow action around in a circle. Do 1/4 circles then back out and hit another 1/4 arc of the circle. This action gets your tires moving around the tree rolling over your old ruts flatten them out as well as keeping the tires in a different place then the week before. This also keeps your inside tire from turning on itself and pushing the weight out, which is most common cause of ruts around trees.

    Other suggestions would be to be aware of the ground conditions, like wet, soggy, dry, etc.. Use the conditions of the ground to your advantage. Wet and soggy: stay out of old ruts and try to ride the edge pushing them back down, Etc.. Might also check your tire pressures. Try airing them down or up depending upon ground conditions, proper floatation is a strong factor also.

    This action worked for me. The ruts flattened out and were not noticable after a few months. I have done it since at other accounts when I start noticing any ruts forming and it stops them from becoming a problem that the account might notice. Maybe it will work for you!
  5. Lawn Cruiser

    Lawn Cruiser LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    These are all good suggestions I'll have to try it and see if I can get rid of them. I only have this problem with a few of my properties.
  6. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    I am getting ruts on 2 lawns even though i have 3 sets of tracks on one and 4 on the other.I finally staggered my tracks to keep them from getting worse.This is on unirrigated lawns that arent to soft.My ford tractor makes less ruts than My dixie chopper,i think its because the ford has 48X24 wide rear tires-they spread out the weight very good,and the gang mowers all have their weight spread out on the full width rollers,so ive never had a rut problem with it.This is the first year ive noticed the ruts-it might be from the wettest summer we have had in a long time.Just keep moving your tracks around so you arent in the same tracks every week.
  7. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Sometimes in the swampy areas this will happen. A quick fix is to rent a little 2 ton roller at your local rental store and run it both ways on the property. It takes care of a lot of bumps and rodent path's, etc also.

    Hope this helps!
  8. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Messages: 481

    In the Pac. Northwest we mow wet lawns all but 2 months of the year and heavy equipt. causes soil compaction, hence ruts. Light weight equipt works best allyear round, for residential lawns try a reel mower, a Cal trim will gobble up 2 feet a pass and leave no ruts behind. Wide areas try letting some air out of your off road tires, maybe 6lbs. pressure? Also, neoprene rain boots are awesome for not compacting soil. Did you know that the soil you rut or compact now will generally be the same areas you have "brown patch" problems when irrigation is on? Think spikes as per footwear.Just a tip from the land of a constant wet lawn.

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