Mow pattern on a slope

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BigDave, Apr 21, 2003.

  1. BigDave

    BigDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    Please forgive me for posting in this forum -- I usually post in the Homeowner forum, but I'd really like the help of some people who have experience with slopes like BushHogBoy and Hoss65 (I don't think BHB patrols the Homeowner forum too much).

    Anyway, our front lawn is about an acre on a 15 degree slope. There is no flat ground at the bottom of the hill -- instead, there's a retaining wall.

    I have an Exmark Lazer HP 52". For me to mow across the hill is no problem. But I understand from this site that it's best to vary your pattern. I've ruled out mowing vertically, because it's impossible to turn back up the hill on the slope. But I've been trying to mow diagonally (one direction one week, the other direction the next week).

    At the bottom of the hill (where the retaining wall is), I've tried coming to a complete stop, and then making a zero-turn back up. But I get lots of slippage (and it's scary! :eek:)

    I've also tried this: at the bottom of the hill (in this direction: "/"), straighten out ("-"), then back up, and then turn back up the hill ("/"). This works better, but I still tear the turf.

    The last thing I've tried is to choose a square of ground to come down the hill diagonally, then across, then up diagonally -- working my way to close in the square (actually a parallelagram). But in this case, when going across, I'm going over the same area over and over, which defeats the idea of relieving compaction.

    Any advice? Thanks in advance!
  2. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Not every lawn, part of lawn, site or situation will be perfect or ideal, and we sometimes end up driving over a particular area over & over no matter what we try. (We also drive the border over & over on each lawn, so it is unavoidable) Don't sweat it too much. Sounds like you found a good way to deal with it, and the parallelogram pattern probably looks cool also. Mix that pattern with your horizontal pattern mostly if they are the easiest. When doing your diagonal patterns, it is OK to do a "K-turn" to get turned around like you describe. You just have to slow it down & be careful to do it safely combined with not tearing up the turf. Good luck!
  3. stang358

    stang358 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    I have several properties like you describe(as well as my own which is almost identical as you describe). The "K" turn is actually the best way to NOT tear up the turf. As long as you don't cut when the ground is wet and be careful when turning, only using 2 patterns like you describe should be fine. Do you have any pics that you could post that we could maybe see exactly what you are talking about and maybe there is a better solution. Although I think what you are doing is the best solution. Good luck.
  4. tailoredlook

    tailoredlook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    On a property as you describe what I would do is bac cut it every third time. Meaning if it is easiest to cut across every week then do so, but on the third time cut it across but in the oppisite direction.
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Are you getting very visible tire track marks up and down the hill where you drive?
  6. BigDave

    BigDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    Thanks everyone.

    I did a lot of thinking yesterday. tailoredlook - I think I'll follow your advice for the back yard and sides (to simply mow the perimeter and work my way in, but back-cut every other week).

    But in the front, I'd still like to mow diagonally, if only to approximate the cross-hatch look, like in Envy's icon.

    You guys mentioned a K-turn. I did a Search on this, and found this definition from "Roger":

    When I am turning right, I make the initial part of the turn a bit wide, keeping the inside wheel turning forward. When the machine is turned about 110 degrees, then reverse the inside wheel, keeping the left side wheel (outside wheel) turning forward. When the machine is nearly turned 180 degrees, then restart the inside wheel forward again, lining up the machine to make the reverse pass.

    My only question is: doesn't this violate the mantra to "always keep both wheels turning"? (In this definition, the inside wheel is stopping and changing direction twice).

    Next time I mow, I'll compare this K-turn with my slower 3-point turn.

    Thanks again.
  7. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    "I've also tried this: at the bottom of the hill (in this direction: "/"), straighten out ("-"), then back up, and then turn back up the hill ("/"). This works better, but I still tear the turf."

    I just used the term "K-turn" to describe that part you wrote. I always thought K-turn and a 3 point turn were the same thing??
    Anyway, in the description you posted, Roger says that while the
    inside wheel is changing directions, it is never moving on its own. The outside wheel is either moving opposite or in the same direction whenever the inside one is moving. So in that description the "mantra" is not broken, the mower gets turned around where needed, and the turf doesn't get beat up while doing so. K turn isn't an exact description of how to get the mower turned around, but basically we use it to describe getting turned around without a true zero turn in tough situations. Good luck.
  8. BigDave

    BigDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    Tried the K-turn this evening -- and great scott, I think I got it! And in a light rain no less (hey, with the job and the family, if you've got an hour to mow, you do it).

    Thanks everyone. Stang, here's that picture you asked for. Please excuse the bushes which badly need trimming.

  9. Joel B.

    Joel B. LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 458


    That sure is a pretty picture, do you take care of the grass yourself? Do you have a sprinkler system?

    Joel B.
  10. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    That looks great!:D

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