Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Shawnslawns, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. Shawnslawns

    Shawnslawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I'm new to this site. So hello everybody. This will be my third year. Very small business. Work 40 hours per week and mow on the side. My question is, what is the best way to mow, in a circle or back and forth and does the back and forth give the striping effect. I know there are striping kits you can buy but I've heard you can get the striping without the kits. Thanks for the help. Love the forum.
  2. ztoro

    ztoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 735

    circular mowing is the kiss of death.....

    Mow back and forth changing directions each week.... Depending on your mower you will get stripes... some mowers need striping equipment.. post your equipment... we'll tell you if you need a striping kit
  3. Shawnslawns

    Shawnslawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I have a scag 48 inch cut belt driven walk behind. I use the jungle jim sulky behind the mower. I can see some sort of striping but just not as prevelent as some of the other lawns I see. Thanks
  4. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    You should not need a striping kit on that mower. One thing you can do, is check your deck pitch. If you have an owners manual, it outlines how that is done.
    Basically, you need to turn the blades so they are parrallel with the mower (each tip of the blades are pointing foward or backward) then put it on a flat smooth level floor, like a garage floor. Measure from the floor to each blade tip. The front tip needs to be 1/4" closer to the ground than the rear tip.

    Now, when you mow, it is best for your types of grasses and for striping to mow at 3" to 4", somewhere in that range is best for striping and general health of those grass types.

    When You mow, mow in a back and forth pattern, and try to only overlap as much as needed without leaving strips of uncut grass between passes. Try to keep your lines straight, and do not overlap too much. You should be getting some stripes to show up this way. You do not need to change direction every week, but try to get a few different patterns going and alternate so that you do not rut the lawn (as you would if mowing same direction same paths each week).

    Most people mow the same pattern the first two or three weeks, then they mow another direction for a week, then mow the original direction the next week, then go back to the second direction. Now you are getting a pattern going. Soon you can add a third direction to the pattern, and sometimes you can get a 4th direction, but most lawns seem to only stripe in up to 3 directions at once. You can change it all you want, but you'll eventually erase the original stripes if you change directions alot. Also, do not make your stripes at less than 25 or 30 degree angles, or else they will overwrite each other and look messed up.
    A stripe always looks light going away and dark coming back. If you have striped a lawn, stand at one end of a stripe, it will look light colored as you look down the length of it. Now, walk to the other end of the exact same stripe and turn around. it will look dark colored! This is how the patterns work- the blades of grass get bent over to face alternating directions, and the light reflecting off of the tops or sides of the grass blades is what changes the colors.... additionally, the sun's position will determine how your stripes appear in color, texture and depth.
    A striping kit helps to lay the grass over to better define the stripes. Some grass types stripe better than others, and some will hardly stripe at all. You will get the hang of it with practice. Another thing that is a good idea is to wait until you are done mowing to make the perimeter pass around the edge of the property, so it helps fade in the turning marks at the end of your stripes. If you do a perimeter pass as you start on the lawn, then a 2nd as you finish, you are rutting the perimeter more and also wasting time. The perimeter is one area of the lawn you cannot change the cutting angle on, so you will definately rut it the most anyway, so try to avoid making multiple perimeter passes per cut.

    I hope this helps and that I did not confuse you. Let us know if you need more help or pictures.
  5. Shawnslawns

    Shawnslawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    How does the back and forth pattern do with blowing the grass out. Do I need a mulching kit or will the grass be blown out evenly and not clumped up in one spot. Thanks.
  6. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    You do not need to mulch... Also I forgot to mention, with the striping method, your clippings are dispersed very evenly and any good commercial mower will not have a problem discharging the grass at all... Also, it will help to rechop some of the clippings (when you throw them into uncut grass, then mow over the uncut grass, it hits some of the clippings twice)... which is actually a little better for the lawn, because the now-smaller clippings are easier for the lawn to decompose and turn into useful material :)
  7. K c m

    K c m LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,313

    That is based on what kind of mower you have. Tipically high lift blades tend to discharge grass very well. However most likely in the spring you will need to double cut. (cut two times)

    good luck shawn.
  8. Shawns Lawns

    Shawns Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638

    I guess we have the same name and i would not want other lawnsite attendies to get us confused by a typing error would it be possibe for you to change it so people would not get us confused. :)
  9. Shawnslawns

    Shawnslawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Thanks frankenscag. Is the machine that I have a pretty good mower? I bought it last year. Didn't know much about commercial mowers. I looked at a few and liked this one the best because of the price mainly. I want to get a few more residential yards this year and want to know is this enough or do i need to go to the z turn. Thanks.
  10. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    Holy Cow! I never even noticed there's 2 of you runnin around :eek:

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