True and narrow path!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Wangel, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. Wangel

    Wangel LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 54

    I drive by some large yards and see very straight paths in the cutting. I have been having trouble in keeping my mower path in straight lines. My lines have looked a bit jagged. Granted on it is worse on rougher terrain. What tricks do you use to keep your mower going straight? Do you pick an object far off, and drive straight toward that? Do you use the previous edge of the path you cut? Perhaps a compass? Help others down the true and narrow path!
  2. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    First of all, could you fill in your location in your profile? If you do not know how, email it to me and I will put it in for you.

    To make straight lines at an angle, pick out something on the far side that you can line up with head straight at it. Once you have a straight line to follow, I just follow the straight edge and overlap about 1" coming back and from there on, it is easy to keep them straight. The bigger the lawns, the harder it is to keep a straight line. Also rough lawns or rolling hills makes it harder to keep straight. After a few thousand hours on your machine, it just comes naturally and you don't even think about it anymore. :)

    If you are mowing from front to back or side to side, just follow the lot line, but get the first pass straight. If your first pass is not straight, go over it again and get it right or the whole lawn will be off.

    One thing I have noticed on some lawn pictures I have seen posted is, some start turning before they get to the end and it gets a curved look at the ends. I don't turn until it is time to turn, which will avoid this problem.

    Below is a picture to give you an idea where I would start to mow this lawn and I would head for the edge of the tree at the far end. I would then mow the section to the left and when I got done, mow the section to the right. I have over 40 other pictures on my website to give you other examples if you need them. I hope this helps. :)

  3. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    when striping certain ways you can use driveways and sidewalks to help you start. if the driveway is straight, start mowing next to it. then continue mowing off that. if you mean you are having trouble keeping the mower in a straight line, that comes with practice. when i first got my ztr it took a little while to get comfortable with the controls. i use erics trick to mow if there is no reference. just pick an object and head straight towards it.
  4. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    He also could have an improperly adjusted, erratic, defective or weak hydro.
  5. cp

    cp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 263

    Don't forget to check those tire pressures. It's hard to track straight if your air pressure is off...:blob3:

    I just love that little blue thing...:blob3:
  6. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    If your holding on to a round thing called a steering wheel it's even harder to stay straight. I never could mow a straight line with a wheel but don't have any trouble with the "sticks". Use one hand to operate it. If you use both hands every bump you hit moves each shoulder independantly.....they are attached to your arms which are attached to your hands.......everything flows right to the steering mechanism. One hand, two eyes, find your target and make micro adjustments to keep it straight.
  7. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Ok Guys, here's Eric secret weapon for straight lines, [​IMG]

    This is a machine control box for a laser system that he has mounted on his Chopper, the laser is mounted on his truck! After making the first straight line using it he just follows his cut.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I KNEW it!!! That's much like the compass systems found in some of the larger farm tractors. Now you talk about some straight lines over a long distance!
  9. deason

    deason LawnSite Member
    Messages: 236

    I've been a Farmer all my life except for the past 8 years. There is a secret to straight rows/mowing straight. Here it is.....

    First, figure out the direction that you want to mow. Then go to the very end of the yard and fix your eyes on a focal point on the other end of the yard. This could be a bush, pole, anything that you can clearly see from one end of the yard to the other without loosing site of during your travel. Last, drive to that focal point, never taking your eyes from it. Also as someone said in a past reply, dont try to steer too much. Keep it safe- dont let go!!! Just let the mower travel.

    After you do this for your first initial pass, try to keep the mower straight throughout the whole yard. There is a secret to this too. Instead of looking at the edge of the deck all of the time, look ahead about 10 to 20 ft. You will find that your corrections will be smoother doing this. Take your time, this takes practice. It took me about 5 years to master that art of straight rows with a JD7200 8 row planter. It does'nt come overnight.
  10. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    deason, I also grew up on a farm, so maybe that is our advantage. ;)

    I do know that if a farmer planted corn and the rows were not straight, all the other farmers would laugh at this person. The same thing went for plowing or any other thing you did, including mowing with a sickle bar mower. It does take practice and as Deason said, look ahead of where you are mowing, not at the edge of the deck and you will be able to mow straighter. The longer the run, the harder it is to mow straight. On the farm, most fields are 1/4 mile long or longer, so us farmers have experiance in long runs. ;)

    Paul, you are too much. That was funny. :D

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