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how to get perfect stripes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mr mow, May 6, 2006.

  1. mr mow

    mr mow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    i see pics on here all the time that blow me away. iknow i do a good job but how do you get a stripe to look like its going right though a tree. nice light green line a foot away from tree ring(mulch) then dark green line(look at from same point of view), one foot dark one side maybe a foot and half dark on other side, then next pass perfect light green stripe....all lines not interupted and perfect. i know the ideoligy behind it and look at the pics and just dont get it? feel like such an ameture(i can read terrain great never a scalp)but im not. just want to take it step further. on side note do you guy on the same visit cut twice one cut one direction one another direction. I dont
  2. mr mow

    mr mow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    I use a 52" supersurfer.... no stripe kit avail. it still cuts very good and has a good potential of great stripes if they went through trees. i also like to cut at 3" sometime 2.5 or 3.5(20% of the time) and i always cut a lawn at the same height all year long except maybe in the spring if it is really long i might have to raise.5" cut once and then lower .5 and cut again. you guys know spring can be a b***h for cutting fast growing thick lawns
  3. mr mow

    mr mow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    can anyone help
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Yeah, there is a lot of into on here about it.

    A LOT of guys here double cut for quality purposes anyways, so why not go another direction?

    Personally, I don't need to on the Lesco, but it always looks like I have made 2 or more passes on the lawn anyways (depending on how many patterns I have in it). The patterns from the previous weeks than run in other directions are still visible when I'm finished with the current cut.

    Double cutting is for the birds.

    As far as giving the illusion you have striped right through something like a tree, all you have to do is mow up to it as close as possible, then turn and arc around the uncut side and continue. When you return back past the tree, just come straight back and it will erase where you arced around the tree on the previous site.

    Make sense?

    Also, it you really want to make it look it's best... after you arc around the tree, get lined up and back up as close to the tree as possible, then drive on.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    With mulch beds, I lift the front and ride through doing a wheelie to keep the blades in the air. This saves time and it literally does ride right through it. Keep in mind I have a fixed deck where the front-end is very light, also you can only pop it so high before the rear drags, so watch it. That and you may wish to have a rake handy just in case you mess up the mulch, do be careful.

    Curbs are tough, as are ditches but with practice I've gotten to where I can ride through them sideways but even after a lot of practice, sometimes I still scalp a spot (or three), it's just really hard to keep that deck just right. With curbs, lift the front and jump off it but I don't do 90-degree or straight curbs, only the curved / shallow ones so I can ride back up them - watch your blades and especially near the edge is a tough chance of scalping: I usually do a perimeter run first so I can lift the deck over those parts.
    Notes: a diagonally striped ditch is TOUGH looking after it is all done, stripes right off the curb are ok but not as impressive, IMO.

    Around trees and other stuff, yeah like the other guy said, circle around it on the uncut section, then come back and ride over that semi-circle in a straight line and it erases it.

    At other times, and this one's a pita but sometimes it's the only way around some obstacles: Stripe on one side of the obstacle then when you get ready to do the other side, match the stripes with much precision but it doesn't always turn out exact.

    I've used little marker flags before, the same kind folks use to mark sprinkler heads and stuff, to mark a few spots on the lawn to help guide me, such as when the sun is playing stupid and the light from one side either blinds or otherwise makes the stripes about impossible to see. But I gotta be in a nutty mood to do all that.
  6. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,163

    Practice, practice, practice!!!
  7. mr mow

    mr mow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    7-8 yrs with someone else i have practice straight as an arrow. no im on my own and i would like to be one of the best. problem with my mow is i cannot float it while mowing(3 wheel scag as an exp. you have a crank under your seat and you can tighten that cable just enough or alot more to pull off crazy terrain cuts with out scalping) i have a super surfer and you have to get off it to lift the deck. yea its a floating deck but not really, it doesnt have enough rollers. im out gotta go to the bars had a long week. thanks again what you guys said i guess i already knew you just gave me confidence into spend the extra time if thats what if after....and it is.................just wish there was a striper available for my mow.
  8. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    The undisputed Master of Stripes was ERIC ELM bar none. Do a little search on Erics work and you will learn volumes. He has been imitated but will never be duplicated. It is truly amazing to see the work that he did and he had no problem schooling anyone who wanted to learn.

    Here is one link to a thread out of many. Truthfully, do some searching on ERIC and you will learn...
  9. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    some of my country properties, where farms...and where never really graded or rolled well, imposable to leave perfect stripes in these lawns...:dizzy:

    but check out the scag web page, i dont have the link anymore, but it has nice illustrations on how to do it.... perimiter first, and how to go arounda tree, and on the next pass make the stripes correct....and finish with the perimiter again...
  10. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,386

    One thing to get straight lines with your Z turn mower is to learn to operate it with one hand. Using one hand on each lever makes you too jerky when you hit a bump. I can usually spot a guy with little seat time on a z cause he still uses 2 hands while operating.

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