Zero-turn problem

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Greenservice, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Greenservice

    Greenservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    Although I've been in the business for many years, I just got my first zero-turn mower this spring. I mainly got it for the increase in goundspeed over my old Scag 3-wheeler (STHM). After a month or so, I'm still not mowing without tearing some grass when I turn especially on damp and shady lawns. I've tried all the methods listed in this forum to correct it, but now I find that I am going back to using the 3-wheeler on a lot of lawns. All the other guys working in my area use only zero-turns and have probably never used anything else. Any thoughts?
  2. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Go see if there tearing up the grass to. They probably are. If you turn real slow and dont have one wheel spin faster then the other you will see a difference.
    If you can demo a bigger more powerful walk behind its like night and day differences in turning speed.
  3. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    If you are looking for a FAST three wheeler, Look at gravelys pm320 Nice mower.
  4. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    I think all the other guys in your area are making tracks with there z's also. It's what Z's do. Wait till they leave an account then go walk around and look at the lawn. If I have a lawn with a lot of tight turns (trees/mulch beds) and slopes I use my WB first. I found it looks better with less damage and the time is not that big of a deal. I had one location where I raised the rate a little to help me. Anyway I feel a lot better when I leave knowing I did my best.
  5. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    This is true!! The riders in some areas are getting a bad rep. Walks do leave a great finish.
  6. Ax Man

    Ax Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    My first z was not what I was hoping for, and so I looked at three wheelers and ended up with a walker.
    I had been running WB's for years and loved the cut, but not the wear and tear on my legs.
    I have since added a new Z, which is used for big sections only.
    In tight areas I am quicker with a Walkbehind, and leave less for the trimmer.
    The Walker mower is great in that it dosn't diplace as much grass when it turns, and it has less ground pressure as it is essentially a 3 wheeler z mower as opposed to a rear steer 3 wheeler.

    I guess my answer is to use your smaller machine where it is needed.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    The thing to keep in mind if you are prone to tear up grass on a Z is, concentrate on making wide "lazy" turns and sweeps. Instead of being so precise and tight, do all your turns, pivoys, and turnarounds wide and lazily, and just manuever the machine around that way to get any grass you might be missing. Does it take more time to do it this way? You bet. But, this is just one of the formalities of being careful and not doing damage. I do it all the time, especially in wet conditions. It may feel funny at first, because it feels like you are being innefficient, slow, and untrained in manuevering the machine, but people won't notice like you may think they will as you are manuevering. They WILL notice the damage, though. Going around a tree, for instance. You may have to go a straighter pattern, stop and back up (a curved backup, so you don't tear grass) and approach the tree from different angles, just to get all the way around it without scuffing and creating a divot. When you go by the tree again on your next row, go wide and lazy, like I said before. You can then back up to it and take off again. This way, you are not locking up any wheels or even stressing grass from tight turns (the wheels don't necessarily have to lock up to create damage). Same thing with your 3 point turns at the ends of your rows. Go a little further forward at your curve, leaving you a little more room to back up, and a little more room to straighten out again. With a bit of practice, you'll get it down pat. Again, just don't be quite as sharp and tight on the turns and stops. I hope this helps.

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