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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all. You have a great site here.

If I can I'd like to get some opinions/advise from you guys.

We moved to our current home last fall. It sets on 2 acres the previous owner had seeded in bermuda. I mow with a subcut tractor w/ a 62" deck. The front yard has a slope of maybe 15-20 degrees.

My problem is how uneven the front lawn looks after I cut it. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference which direction I mow in it still looks bad when I'm through. Fyi...I have no issues in the back yard as it is level ground. The mower deck is level & I've tried every combination of mow height & adjusted the anti-scalp wheels with no success. The previous owner used a zero turn on the property & I noticed his did the same thing but figured he just needed to level his deck.

I guess my question is... is it the deck or the terrain or both?
Here is a couple pics of the front yard. I will be renovating here in a couple of weeks as the crabgrass has taken over about 90% of the property. If I bring in some top soil & smoothe it out will I likely still have problems?
Thanks.....you've got a great site here. Scott



 

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this time of year bermuda is BAD about doing that--youmight first off wanna check your tire pressure--I put a little more than it says on side wall (and that gives you a little more height)--another thing is it looks like if not your tires may be your terrain-if you say it doesn't do that in the back. Is the front mainly flat or hilly? if sloped, that could explain scalps. when my mower is scalping bermuda (and it sometimes does esp. this time of year-I check tires first then go elsewhere) also check your blades to make sure that one isn't bent a little too.
 

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1st thing is to check the air pressure in the tires. even 1lb can make a HUGE (and yes i mean HUGE) difference. it's hard to really tell from the pictures, but another problem you might have rutting from the turf being cut at the same direction every week. cut it at different angles each time you cut it, and dont cut too too often (dont cut just to cut). over time cutting different patterns each time could fix your issue, but i would dare say that you're wanting a quick fix. that being the case (and seeing only what i see from the pics) after the renovation you could use sand to help level the lawn. a light coat over bermuda really seems to do well. as you cut the sand is moved and leveled into all the necessary areas. one other possible solution that is actually by far the cheapest would be to try a different kind of blade. certain blades do not cut as well on bermuda as others, the best to me is a wave style blade such as the one that exmark produces.

like ive said twice, really cant tell much from a few pictures, but from what i see these are several of you options. oh, and by the way, if you do a total renovation of the lawn i would go back with a different type of turf, centipede or st augustine are much more forgiving (centipede more so) than bermuda grass. i would almost bet that you wouldnt see this isue at all in a different turf. i have a lawn that does this every week, i hate it, but i have to deal w/ it (cheap customers).
 

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this time of year bermuda is BAD about doing that--youmight first off wanna check your tire pressure--I put a little more than it says on side wall (and that gives you a little more height)--another thing is it looks like if not your tires may be your terrain-if you say it doesn't do that in the back. Is the front mainly flat or hilly? if sloped, that could explain scalps. when my mower is scalping bermuda (and it sometimes does esp. this time of year-I check tires first then go elsewhere) also check your blades to make sure that one isn't bent a little too.
i see what you're saying, but it seems to me that it really isnt scalped. looks more like the stem of the bermuda that hasnt greened since it was hidden from the sunlight.
 

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I have a neighbor who complains about how his rider cuts when cutting on a curving slope.

I believe one problem is that the "down side" of the rider will always have more weight/compaction toward the ground. The deck can be level to the rider but it will still cut uneven when the rider is cutting this type of slope.

You could go up and down the slope and that would avoid the uneven problem.

Some might say to add more air on the "down side" but that will only help on the sloped areas. Then the level areas would look uneven.

Now rig up a air compressor to adjust the air pressure to each tire on the fly and you'll have something. I'm just not sure it is worth the cost vs the problem.
 

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Your terrain looks to be undulating. Not much you could do when your cutting that low. If you had Bluegrass and cut it at 3.5" you likely wouldn't notice it as much.

Traditionally, tractor decks have more slop in the linkage and the linkage itself is hung too narrow, especially for a 62" deck. If you could get a smaller deck for that tractor, you may not have this problem. Can you get a 48"-52" deck for it?
 

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I notice you have no problem with uneven cutting in your back yard. I'd say you have no bent blades and no tire pressure problems and if the mower is cutting even in the back yard then the deck is level.

Now for the front when it rains water runs down hill and eventually there is going to be erosion especially in the depressed areas where wheels have made ruts.

I'd say it looks like you have been mowing up and down the hill which I would do there. What happens with a wider deck is scalping when the main wheels dip down into a lower area - even the anti-scalping wheels cannot prevent this.

Like someone suggested sand the ruts or I'd say borrow a narrower cut mower which is set up right and try that.

Nosmo
 

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I have that problem with my parent's yard. It's obvious when I've used the riding mower because there are lines on every uneven and steeply sloped parts, where my 200 extra pounds were leaning into the slope. Uneveness gets amplified with extra weight leaning atop the mower in the same direction. But obviously something you don't sit on, or at least big enough that's not going to have alot of weight (I.E. non-professional light-weight equipment), is not going to be an option with that much to mow.
 

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Its sounds like the weight of the deck leaning to one side is causing it to scalpe. My rider does that on slopes all the time. It happens more often as the grass blade gets longer.

Theres really nothing you can do about it except cut it with a smaller mower.
 

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Its sounds like the weight of the deck leaning to one side is causing it to scalpe. My rider does that on slopes all the time. It happens more often as the grass blade gets longer.

Theres really nothing you can do about it except cut it with a smaller mower.
I agree. Going across a slope sideways will allow the deck to pitch just enough to cause this, as will tire pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all of the replys.

Sounds like maybe it is a combination of both the terrain & tractor deck. I'm going to renovate here in a week or two so I guess I'll smooth it out with some top soil, get rid of the Bermuda & go with a bluegrass/fescue mix of some type. If I still have issues in the spring then maybe I'll try to pick up a smaller wb dedicated mower for that area.

TLS.....yes the lawn is undulating.....lol had to look that one up:laugh: Thanks
 

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I had the same issue with "stair stepping" when I cut with a 62" MMM on a John Deere tractor. The stair stepping effect was most noticeable when I cut accross a slope. As others said, the weight shift on the downward side of the deck causes the blade to dig into the cut a little bit more than on the higher side of the deck. The only thing that I found to help was to lower the antiscalp rollers so they were just fractionally above the ground. This is not what the operators manual recommends, which is to position the rollers to about one half inch above the ground, but it really reduced the effect. I don't have this issue with the Scag Turf Tiger I recently purchased. I guess a Lastec mower would completely eliminate the stair stepping ,if you were in the market for a new mower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had the same issue with "stair stepping" when I cut with a 62" MMM on a John Deere tractor. The stair stepping effect was most noticeable when I cut accross a slope. As others said, the weight shift on the downward side of the deck causes the blade to dig into the cut a little bit more than on the higher side of the deck. The only thing that I found to help was to lower the antiscalp rollers so they were just fractionally above the ground. This is not what the operators manual recommends, which is to position the rollers to about one half inch above the ground, but it really reduced the effect. I don't have this issue with the Scag Turf Tiger I recently purchased. I guess a Lastec mower would completely eliminate the stair stepping ,if you were in the market for a new mower.
I have a JD 2305 & I too found that by putting the anti-scalp wheels practically on the ground it did reduce it quite a bit. Figured I'd just have to by a new set of anti-scalp wheels each year.
Just got back from the local Exmark dealer. They want $5549.00 for a 36" Turf Tracer. Nice machine but a little steep to mow one 15000 sqft section of yard.
 

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look at the exmark metros. the fixed deck should be fine if you go back with a grass that is cut higher than bermuda. or, you should be able to pick up a good used mower too if you look. in the next few months there should be some deals, all the weekend warriors that were "lco's" for the summer so they could get rich quick will be going under soon. look for a deal. i paid 2k for a 48" tthp w/ less than 500 hrs on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
look at the exmark metros. the fixed deck should be fine if you go back with a grass that is cut higher than bermuda. or, you should be able to pick up a good used mower too if you look. in the next few months there should be some deals, all the weekend warriors that were "lco's" for the summer so they could get rich quick will be going under soon. look for a deal. i paid 2k for a 48" tthp w/ less than 500 hrs on it.
Didn't look at the Metros just asked the salesman what was the smallest hydro they had. I know absolutely nothing about commercial mowers but have been told a hydro would come in pretty handy for me here because of the slope. I've also got about a 1/3 acre past the front yard pics that I showed that is about 30 degrees or better. The John Deere is 4wd & it really helps going up and down that portion.

Actually went out & cut it to about 1 1/2 " with my Toro yesterday. That gave me a much clearer look at the terrain. It is pretty wavey & I can see now why it cuts so uneven with the larger deck. Hopefully I can smoothe it out when I do the renovation.
 
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