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  • Mowing the hills

    One time I was on the riding mower, it was one of my first mows. I was high on a hill and went to mow it and over the top I went heading straight down and for the street. My hubby was talking to the homeowner, my daughter was playing in our truck, and absolutely no one noticed me flying by going at least 30 MPH. I was terrified. Thankfully the lawn was so huge that I was able to veer off into another part of the lawn and slow myself down enough to stop. The brakes didn't work and I was inexperienced at downshifting.

    So needless to say since that was not too long ago I am still terrified of the steep hills on the rider, and pushing them is no walk in the park ... So what do you guys do? I see these pretty lawns with hills and valleys and I am perplexed as to how to get them done with our equipment. We have 2 weed eaters, we have a 21" push and a regular riding mower 42".

    On one of our accounts I sideways push it until my hubby finishes weed eating then he takes over because it wears me out. I am still getting in shape.

    Also, what do you do with ditches? My hubby weed eats them, but I feel for him as some of them are massive and I am too out of shape to help with them yet. I am getting better, but still curious as to how you guys get them done especially the massive ones.

  • #2
    This is yet another situation where a commercial walk behind would help due to their low center of gravity. I've had mine on some pretty steep hills (mowing side to side not up and down of course) and only a few times (operator induced) did it even give a sign of wanting to slip / slide.

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    • #3
      I've always thought a walk behind would be nice for slopes. We just hammer down on the sit down zt's seems weird but you hold the hillside better going faster.

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      • #4
        I mow hills and ditches with my ztr all the time but it depends on a couple of things.
        First for ditches, you should have the chute side facing up and out of the ditch so that your less likely to catch and dig in. If too steep, then just use the trimmer.
        With hills, it wold depend on weather you have a place to go if yo get out of control. On the biggest hill I have (about 40 deg incline) I go up and down and just try and go slow downwards so I don't slide (if your sliding, your out of control) but i also have a "way out" as its wide open area at the bottom.
        It really comes down too experience for hills and ditches, the more you do them the better yo will get.
        Walk behind mowers are better and safer for hills and I would recommend a Hydro drive rather than a belt drive if yo have a lot of hills and ditches to do. They are smoother and you have more control with the Hydro's IMO.

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        • #5
          If the rider is turned off as you are going down a hill and left in gear, will it slow you to a stop?
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          • #6
            If the rider is turned off as you are going down a hill and left in gear, will it slow you to a stop?
            It will if you have enough distance but not recommended. I would rather have the engine on and have some control than none at all. You can't steer a zero turn if its not running.

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            • #7
              Walk behind mowers are better and safer for hills and I would recommend a Hydro drive rather than a belt drive if yo have a lot of hills and ditches to do. They are smoother and you have more control with the Hydro's IMO.
              Truer words have never been spoken! I had a pitched area once I tried to do with the 36" belt drive and it was horrible. You get yourself into such awkward angles that you can't work the controls and things get ugly real fast. With the hydro you can practically run it with one hand while drinking coffee.

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              • #8
                When you talk about mowing hills safely, here is a video to watch on what can happen when you mow a hill with a ztr the wrong way. It's a minute long and at the end the rider almost gets himself REALLY hurt.

                <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/fX2RYPPZEb0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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                • #9
                  That seriously made my hair stand up. You can always "feel" when it's about to get ugly. Glad mine has a roll bar!

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                  • #10
                    As you watch right before it happens, you get the feeling something is going to happen but you don't know what. Also, there was really no recovery from it, it was just luck the mower didn't or something else bad happen.

                    Why was he mowing side to side like that on a steep hill? Who knows.

                    After watching this, you realize it's not worth it. If you can't mow it straight up and down, then at least get a walk behind and mow it side to side.

                    From Consumer Reports:
                    "Rollovers are another concern with all ride-on mowers, contributing to the more than 15,000 injuries and 61 deaths associated with those machines for 2007"

                    "Mow straight up and down slopes with a tractor or rider unless the manual says otherwise. And mow side-to-side with walk-behind mowers, especially uphill."



                    "All of the zero-turn-radius mowers we tested lost steering control when we tried to make a hard turn downhill."

                    If the hill is too steep, don't risk it with a rider.

                    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/95N7Tgq5qB0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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                    • #11
                      Nasty, Nasty!!!

                      Its al about what your mower can and can't do!

                      You can clearly see the first guy didn't have any traction at all, and the guy that flipped it clearly had too much! lol Thought the drunk a** was gonna go for it again!!

                      I did a hill today Probably around 45 degree's at the steepest but I go up and down and then cut it on an angle for the first time...I have done it side to side...you have to have traction and go slow...soon as you break traction its all over! Also if you have to mow side to side, start at the bottom and work your way up. You have better control turning upwards rather than trying to turn downwards. But up and down is the safest for sure....today when I was facing downwards, I just went slow and literally let the controls go almost into neutral and its almost like a brake...it will still want to slide, but about 1/4 or so down the hill I had full control.

                      I did take pic's of the hill after it was cut but didn't have anyone to take pic's or video of it while I was mowing it. The hill is 30-40ft from the bottom to top, and starts off gradually and gets steeper as you near the top. I'll try and get pic's off my phone and put in my computer at home and upload them from there.

                      Be safe!!!

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                      • #12
                        Truer words have never been spoken! I had a pitched area once I tried to do with the 36" belt drive and it was horrible. You get yourself into such awkward angles that you can't work the controls and things get ugly real fast. With the hydro you can practically run it with one hand while drinking coffee.
                        What is a belt drive and what is a hydro drive?

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                        • #13
                          When you talk about mowing hills safely, here is a video to watch on what can happen when you mow a hill with a ztr the wrong way. It's a minute long and at the end the rider almost gets himself REALLY hurt.

                          <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/fX2RYPPZEb0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
                          Thanks, Steve, that video was a great eye opener. It also led me to other videos that showed how to mow correctly. It is helping a lot!

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                          • #14
                            What is a belt drive and what is a hydro drive?
                            Belt drive: Has wide belts connecting the transmission output pulleys to the wheels and relies on belt tension to go and stop. Reversing done with transmission lever (although I can honestly say I've never used reverse on the belt drive).

                            Hydro drive: Has separate pumps and wheel motors for the drive wheels. Individual control, including instant reversing for each wheel via the hand levers (controls varies with manufacturer).

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                            • #15
                              Belt drive: Has wide belts connecting
                              Do you have a general preference between belt drive and hydro? Does that preference change at all when it involved mowing hills?
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