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Mowing Patterns Type and Frequency?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scagmanjosh, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. scagmanjosh

    scagmanjosh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    Hey guys, just wondering what type of mowing patterns and changeups you would recommend for pretty soft ground. Coming from a 400 lb Craftsman mower, I always just mowed a rectangular spiral pattern and never really had the problem of pitting or rutting the yard.

    Now, with the 1050+ Tiger Cub, mowing the same pattern has started to leave visible impressions on the softest part of the yard, visible even when the grass starts to get pretty long. What types of mowing patterns do you pros use for softer yards to prevent this? Is the rectangular spiral pattern not recommended, or can it still be used every other mow as long as mows in between I mow at angles or perpendicular to the long tracks?

    We are coming off a LOT of rain here in South Central Louisiana, I waited 4 days after the end of the rain to mow, I didnt use the spiral pattern but mowed straight lines at about 45 degree angles in the yard, and it left wheel tracks like crazy. Any suggestions/tips?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    In any soft property a mower like your Tiger Cub will leave ruts. You have to do as many different patterns as possible so you don't keep running over the same spots every week. Doing different patterns with your tiger cub should be easy since it is a ztr. So when you mow mow in different patterns every week. One week mow across the lawn, then next mow up and down, then next mow diagonal one way, and the following week mow diagonal the other way, and lastly you could do your "spiral" design. Then just start from the beginning again.
  3. scagmanjosh

    scagmanjosh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    Thanks Brad. Thats what I figured. Its a bit of a bummer because I find mowing the outside in spiral pattern is WAY faster than straight line mowing because of much less time spent turning. I'll just have to get used to it though if I dont want a ******** looking yard. :hammerhead:
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    What I've been doing is move over the wide of the tire. It leaves some un cut grass that will have to be cut with something else but it's compacting the soil right on the edge of the other tracks and is evening things out. I also mow in different directions each week. It might be too soft still to use a mower that big. When that's the case, I'll just use my smaller BOP dually.

    I've seen commercial lots that have tracks up to 4in deep! Torn up turf down to dirt. Low spots are easy to see, just look for the darker tire tracks. Usually the person cutting rides in the same tracks each week. Then they think it looks good because of the tracks, they think they're striping the lawn when in reality they're making matters worse.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    i change up the pattern every week
  6. Lawn Spa

    Lawn Spa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    This may be extreme but I alternate mowers too...I have a 61" and a 52". It seems to help to rotate them and change the patterns too.

  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I have found it difficult to convince this crowd the pattern you speak
    of is one of the most cost and time efficient ways to mow a lawn.

    The result is what doesn't appeal to the commercial crowd, but it doesn't change the efficiency factor.
    Oh, and that pattern is called the "race track"

    The one I do, I call it criss-cross.
    Mow back and forth in one direction until it just starts to leave indentations.
    Then, change direction.

    The change can be either directly perpendicular or some type of diagonal, the result on the very first mow of the direction change looks like this:
    (Notes: on one of these I did use two different mowers, on another you can see two changes of direction.)



    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  8. Tmintz5

    Tmintz5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    I would agree the "race track" pattern is the fastest because your constantly mowing uncut grass. But if it was me I would just keep alternating.
  9. scagmanjosh

    scagmanjosh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    Thanks Topsites...I dont think anyone can honestly dispute the "racetrack" pattern is by far the fastest way to mow, and I agree with you most commercial guys dont put much stock into it-- probably because 1.) You cant really stripe with that pattern, and 2.) You start running into the same problem I did with deforming the yard if thats all you do.

    I refuse to give it up though! I'll probably end up rotating 3 different cuts-

    1.) Vertical straight lines
    2.) Horizontal straight lines
    3.) Racetrack!

    BTW FANTASTIC looking stripes-- perpendicular mowing patterns seem to make the most beautiful stripes....
  10. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    Related question. What's the key to lining everything up to get nice straight lines when you have several barriers, ups/downs and lengths of lawn you need to go through? Do you just pick a spot and look straight ahead at the end where you want to end up and try to keep it straight that way? Use something at the other end to focus on (tree, etc)?

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