How fast can you cut and get a good cut?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Eric ELM, Feb 15, 2001.

  1. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    It never fails that the subject of speed of mowing comes up on and then the quality of cut comes up. Some say you can't cut at high speeds except when it is thin grass. I knew this subject would come up again this winter, so I took a picture at the level of the cut of grass on a lawn that is very very thick and I was taking off about 3 or 4" and going at full speed (12 MPH)in this area that I took this picture. To do this, you have to keep sharp blades on the mowers, I'm talking every day, not once or twice a week. I'm sure some of you will find flaws in the below picture, but it is an exceptable cut for the conditions.
  2. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    nice look eric! what kind of grass? looks like KY-31 because of the thick blades. is this with the striping kit? keep up the beautiful work.

  3. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    Well this would not be a FORUM unless someone disagrees, somewhat. The grass type plays such a role in this issue of speed and end qaulity results.

    The grass in your picture Eric is a very stiff yet sparse cultivar. When I say sparse, I do not mean thin qaulity of lawn. The lawn looks very healthy and very thick in trems of condition. But, the grass type itself gives a fuller look by the wider blades of the cultivar. The hybrid was engineered to be that way.

    The result is LESS clippings during and after cutting. Less clippings to consume a deck and bog it down at higher speeds. Less clippings to discharge for that final qaulity look. The added distance between blades also allows clippings to fall further into the canopy where it is not seen as easily after discharge. Add the stiffness of the blades as well and you have not only a speed demons lawn you also have a mulching maniacs paradise.

    You would not get the same results on another lawn that has a higher blade count per sq ft due to a thinner blade type cultivar. The resulting thinner blade also means it is not as stiff at higher heights which requires more use of the decks lift for a quality final result, which means slowing down to achieve the proper lift. The thinner blade grass types, also of course, mean more clippings to bog down the deck and more clippings to throw on top of the lawn.

    We have all seen it posted here before, no two properties are alike. The qaulity of your work on that lawn is great! There is no denying that aspect of your post. But, 12 mph on another totally diferent lawn, in another part of the country, with a totally different grass hybrid or worse OLD cultivar, is another story indeed.
  4. SpringValley

    SpringValley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    Point well made Scott. I have similar situations where I can really fly on one lawn and slow way down on another. I even have one yard that is both in one shot.

  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I can run my exmark lazer hp over bermuda cutting 3" off at full speed (9.5) and it cuts great also. With the high horsepower and the high blade speed I bet it could cut almost anything at full speed.
  6. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    I'm not saying I cut at full speed on all lawns, I'm just saying that it is possible to get a good cut at high speeds. There are so many that have said it is impossible to get a good enough cut at full speed, mostly guys that have slower mowers. I was just posting a picture to prove that it can be done and not leave uncut grass. When it is growing an inch a day like it does at times in the spring and when it should be cut twice a week, sure I slow down too and even double cut some areas or the whole lawn to chop up the excessive clippings, but the second time over, I let her rip. Man, that was a long sentence, I almost ran out of breath. :) ;)

    I agree it depends on the type of grass, how tall it is, the smoothness of the lawn and how wet it is.
  7. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,260

    That photo looks like a scene from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". I also agree that very sharp blades equals higher speeds. I have some areas that are cut every other week. The lawn isn't real thick, still I can cut most of it at full speed.
  8. Superior Lawn Care

    Superior Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I mow 30 lawns a week and have been sharpening my blade like once every week or so. How often do you guys suggest I sharpen the blades. If it helps there are 26 residential and 4 commercial. Thanks
  9. Mark

    Mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 723

    Nice looking cut Eirc at 13mph. I agree i always keep 5 or6 sets of blades sharp for the week. As for speed goes it also depends on the surface, i mow some yds that are very bumpy,and i don't go real fast,but the ones that are level i run about 8-9mph.Superior you need to sharpen those blades everyday,youll be suprised how much better you cut will be.Plus thats not good on the grass.You don't want to tear the grass,this could result in disease. So keep umm sharp Good Luck on your upcomming season. Marks Mowing Service
  10. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    I sharpen blades every 4-6 average cuts depending on size of yards. Sometimes more or less. I'm always checking them while they are on the mower for sharpness. I don't think you can over sharpen blades. Sharp blades are key to a good cut.

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