There's nothing more upsetting than attempting a turn on your zero-turn mower, only to find that you tore up the grass and left an unsightly divot. Here are a few things you should learn if you don't want to tear up your grass with every turn.
Start By Choosing the Right Mower
While technique comes into play, it's important that you choose the right zero-turn mower from the start. There are two prime considerations, budget notwithstanding:
Your intended usage – Are you planning to start a landscaping business? Are you just mowing your lawn? Do you need to mow constantly? Or do you plan to pull the mower out once every few weeks? These are important questions as zero-turn mowers come in all shapes and sizes.
The lay of the land – Zero-turn mowers are excellent for mowing flat lawns. If you have to deal with hills and rolling land, then using a zero-turn mower can become difficult. These mowers have rear wheel drive and can become dangerous on hills.
Both these things come into play when making a turn. For example, consider if you purchase a mower that's too powerful and too large for your property. You may have trouble controlling it, and you will certainly have trouble making turns. If you also have rolling land, then you only increase your potential issues.
Making a Clean Turn
Once you have a mower you're comfortable with, you can start to practice. Don't head out and immediately start mowing without practicing the basic maneuvering of your zero turn mower. Here are a few pointers for making a turn that doesn't tear up the ground.
Don't lock one of the rear wheels – When turning, you may feel the need to lock one wheel to pivot on. This actually causes divots. The key is to reverse one wheel and move forward with the other. Both wheels need to move, not just one.
Try reversing or a 3-point turn – Another technique you can try is to reverse your mower by pulling both steering handles back, and then sliding one forward for the turn. Similarly, you can perform a 3-point, or "K," turn.
Slow down – Unless you're highly practiced and know your mower well, you should never speed into a turn. If you make a sharp turn at speed, you run the risk of ripping up your lawn. You also run the risk of tipping or fully rolling the mower over.
Go into your turn slowly, and smoothly. You shouldn't have to stop moving, but that doesn't mean that you have to go fast.
Keep practicing and you'll find the technique that works right for you and your lawn. Zero-turn mowers and tractors are great, but they do take some getting used to. If you're unsure of how to properly operate your zero-turn mower, check the manufacturer's website (such as Chenango Supply Co Inc) or speak with the dealer you purchased from.