striping with tractor/3pt hitch mower


LawnSite Bronze Member
morristown, nj

We just got a john deere 970 and a landpride 90 inch rear discharge mower that mounts on the 3 pt hitch.

I've been 'reconditioning' some larger areas of our airfield with the mower now for the last couple of weeks, and am just starting to get some stripe action going.

Now, for discussion reasons, we use to mow these areas with our 20 ft batwing, so the areas are very thick with grass residue and quite bumpy from the deep imprints the big machine's tire tracks left.

I've mowed about 3 times now, staying on top of it and hitting it every week.

I've hit the same lines each time, and am starting to get some effect in the way of lines. Nothing great yet, but they are starting to show.

My question is is there anything else I can do? I sharpen the blades every week, which is the only thing I can think off.

Also, I've been cutting it high, and trying to reduce it by a 1/4 inch or so each week if possible,. I am shooting for around 3.5 inches as a good height, being the ground is so rough and anything lower scalps to much. So far, I am at around 4.25, and it doesn't seem to be clumping up to bad. If I go any lower, it just turns into a straw field needing a hay bailer to hit it.

Are there any neat blade set-ups I could try, or anything else worth looking into?

Or, Am I never gonna get nice stripes out of the machine that I have?

I've thought of bouncing it to a twice a week schedule for now until I get it 'under control'. Would this be a good start?



LawnSite Fanatic
Flint, Michigan
Just alternate directions. MOWED grass stripes better than just grass that is laying down.


LawnSite Senior Member
Steve, How are you doing this? By running the machine foward
then reversing your next cut over? If not then it sounds like a very time consuming job on a tractor.
I would fit a roller or rollers along the full width of the mower.The rollers should be at the back of the mower for
obvious reasons. After the grass is cut the roller will bend
the grass in the desired direction.


John DiMartino

LawnSite Silver Member
You have a rear discharge mower,does it have chains hanging after the deck that keep rocks from flying in the air if you nail one.Do those chains drag on the ground,if not ,you might be able to put longer ones on,they will pull the grass in the direction that you mow.Make sure that those chains wont get caught in the blades if you back up while mowing,I use rea implemints alot behind my tractor and every single mower,whether its a reel mower or rotary leaves big tire tracks behind,when the sun comes up the tire tracks stand back up and it looks bad.I alternate my cut every week and direction also,to keep the tracks from getting thick.My Howard price 727-104" cut was a rear discharge mower,it never striped no matter how much you stayed in the same tracks.Now my lawn is striped silly from my DC.


LawnSite Bronze Member
morristown, nj
thanks all,

john, I know what you mean with the tracks as we have usually wet conditions and really can sink in sometimes.

The tractor has oversized turf tires on the rear and front at least, so even though the tracks stand out after cutting a bit, they seem to disperse after a few days. One problem is that they are calcium filled, so the tractor is a bit heavy, causing excess sinkage. Wasn't my choice, but thats how we got it.

We bought the tractor from a tennant/flight department on the airport. Get this, it was a 97 and only had 30 hours on it. We just broke it in last week! They had bought it to tug planes around inside their hangar. It never touched dirt/grass in its whole life, just sat inside a air conditioned hanger. When we got it, the stickers were still on the tires...... We got a great deal on it, so that is why I have to mow with it now.

The deck we have does not have chains on the rear. I was kind of surprised, but due to the design, it hardly throws a thing out of the rear. They really did a good job on the airflow in the deck when they designed it. Have yet to hear a rock, etc. come flying out.

I am cutting in two directions now, at 90 degree angles, following the same lines and sticking with the same direction.

the roller idea was on my mind, and may look into that. Think that may be better than chains, but thats not a bad idea either.

Like I said, the areas were basically fields, so I think it may be a matter of time before it starts to shape up.