importance of cutting on a diagonal

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by redmax fan, May 19, 2013.

  1. redmax fan

    redmax fan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,528

    i started this thread because i debate this point with other guys i work with and they dont see it like i do , so i plan on copying this thread to show the replies to co workers . ive never read others outlooks this is just mine from doing lawn maintenance 15 years . were at week 5 of cutting season in southeast michigan . when we got to weeks 3 and 4 i started calling for diagonal cuts for several reasons , diagonal (corner to corner) as opposed to whats usually the quickest side to side or back to front cuts which paralell the property lines and which mowers most of the time run . well at week 3 after 2 weeks of cutting wet turf my opinions this : weve been leaving ruts in soil in same pattern two weeks , nows the time with soil still soft to roll some of them out with a diagonal pattern . also after 2 or 3 weeks in same direction lawns laying down in that direction and if you go diagonal you'll come at blades from different direction and be able to get a better cut because you'll get a better lift of blades as opposed to them not standing up for a better cut but rather staying laid over and thusly causing alot of missed blades / stragglers . if im running the mower every 3rd or 4th week max i diagonal cut for these two reasons . its pretty much cut n dry logic to me . but im wondering others outlooks on it
  2. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    On most lawns there are 4 ways to go. I switch it up every week, not ever 2-3 like I think you are saying. No wonder you get ruts. Switch it up every week and you should have no issues. Even if its alternating between 2 patterns its still better than not at all
  3. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,743

    i rarely do it if at all on most yards.

    i only do it on yards where it's pretty open and in the shape of a square or rectangle. i only do it for looks in those cases.

    some sections of yards you just can't do it or it would be a tremendous waste of time. for example a patch of grass that is 10ft x 200ft. it only makes sense to cut that section one way every time. the long way back and forth.

    i've got some i've cut the same way every time just because there really isn't another way to mow them and i've never seen ruts or problems arise from it. i use a heavy 1400lb ztr too. i think as long as the ground isn't soggy when you mow that you shouldn't have much issue. i guess different soil types around the country will be different but i've never had an issue down here in the southeast.

    heck i've even mowed some that were soggy and had standing water on them. it may have made tiny ruts but as soon as it dried out and i ran over them again on the next cut it was smooth again.

    i've gotten stuck in ditches and made huge ruts but the next time it rains or if i mow them dry a few times the ruts are all gone and it's like it was before i ever made the ruts.

    if you want you can always start your first row with half your mower deck on the driveway or street so your tires aren't riding in the same place every time you mow.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    You should switch directions EVERY week. Only exception is like said above about room. I have 1 place that has a narrow (10-12 feet) by 250 section. There is only one practical way to cut it. Even then I try to move the tracks around a bit so I don't rut it up.
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  5. redmax fan

    redmax fan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,528

    personally i very rarely mow , i always run the whip 99% of the time . if i was mowing on our mostly small subdivision lots of on average say 80 x 100 i would see it as real time consuming to cut a whole bunch of the small sections we cut on a diagonal or front to back , it goes way quicker mowing from side to side (paralell with street) . so i see why our mowers run side to side mostly , cross cutting front to back every 3rd week or when double cutting . but its the importance of diagonal cuts i cant get them to agree with . and i agree with different direction every week veiw point when im cutting a peice of land which isnt a total pain to do it on . i'll cut entire backyards in a circle pattern starting from center just to roll soil differntly plus push grass over in varying direction . im all for different even if un neat patterns for long term health of grass and grade of soil
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,596

    For over 40 years I mowed the same way clockwise starting at the edge and working to the center. Don't see any problem...move over a little each time so it doesn't track.
  7. Penncare

    Penncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    If possible I will alter directions; however, on some oddly shaped properties only a few patterns are possible. Rutting IMHO is more a factor of using the wrong equipment at a certain property, i.e. too heavy, improper wheel choice, driver error, etc.
  8. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,743

    sometimes i mow in a baseball field pattern. basically do a ( shape and go back and forth that way.
  9. Tom-N-Texas

    Tom-N-Texas LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I don't know about the quality of the cut, but in general, as the business owner, I do not like diagonal mowing.....Yet I have a worker who insists on cutting diagonal, at least occasionally. My complaint is when we're cutting sometimes 40 lawns per day, diagonal mowing takes up more time...this is because the operator has many more short strips to cut, with more turning....turning takes more time......this is no big deal, I suppose if you have plenty of time, but even so, for me it seems to me to be an unnecessary waste of time and energy, even with one lawn to do. Saying that, I do get the occasional customer who likes it cut diagonally and requests it specially. Interestingly, the two customers who do this are both gay men.
  10. jones68

    jones68 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    I am on a 4 week rotation | -- \ /

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