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What Makes a Riding Mower Good For Steep Hills?

Hilly yard? We can help. Here's how to pick a mower that can handle your terrain

Lawn Mowers: How to Navigate Steep Hills

Grass-cutting experts know all too well how difficult it can be to deal with steep hills when mowing the lawn. Sadly, if you push the mower up and down hills, the chances are that either your back will give in eventually from the strain or the job will not be to your liking.

Unless you invested in the best riding lawn mower that has the power needed to cope with a constant incline and decline, smaller machines are not as fast and do not have the traction required to cut hills.

If you neglect to use the right equipment and tools, mowing hills prove to be a challenge and downright dangerous.

What Makes Riding Lawn Mowers Best For Steep Hills?

There are various reasons why opting for a riding mower is a much better deal than using push mowers or any other type of cutting machine for your steep hills. Some of these would entail traction, control, and speed that a push mower lacks. A major factor is the power source.

Lawn tractors possess something that other mowers do not have, which is the transmission. The best part is that it works similar to that of an automobile. The transmission dictates whether you move forward or backward on your lawn.

Riding lawn mowers feature different types of transmissions:

  1. The first of these is an automatic transmission where the power of pulleys and belts are put into motion. These kinds of mowers are usually very fast and a lot easier to maneuver as you do not have to know stick-shift driving.
  2. Another type is manual transmission, which works the way a stick-shift automobile works. You need to switch gears using a lever and use your feet to drive with one foot on your mower's accelerator and the other on the clutch. As long as you know how to drive a stick, these cutting machines are relatively easy to use. At other times, you would have to apply brakes like when you are busy going down the hills, you are busy mowing.

The best riding lawn mowers used for steep hills have a couple of things in common, such as:

  • Stopping and smooth acceleration is activated through hydro-static transmission.
  • Enough power
  • Traction tires
  • Weight distributed evenly

How to Mow a Steep Hill With a Riding Mower

Mowing safely isn’t just a case of knowing how to use your lawn mower. Even what is perceived to be a stable riding experience can turn into an accident, should you flip, slide, or roll down steep terrain. Be sure to make use of a lower speed so you may control every movement of the mower.

It is suggested that you select a lower gear, then keep the engine running at a steady speed to avoid having to shift gears while busy mowing a steep slope. Attachments like rear-mounted baggers tend to destabilize the riding mower and would increase the risk of rolling over. You may want to consider detaching the bagger to minimize the risk of toppling over.

In most cases, it will be better to mow up and down the face of the slope. This way you can brake if need be. When busy mowing across the front of the hill with a riding lawn mower, you need to display caution.

There are some things you ought to know If you’re deciding between purchasing a riding lawn mower or a zero turn lawn mower.

Zero-turn mowers are ideal for coping with flat terrains that are angled below 10 degrees. Anything higher than this is considered dangerous. These mowers are equipped with a rear-engine, which leaves hardly any weight on the front wheels. Therefore, they offer almost no traction.

You will benefit from acquiring a riding lawnmower if you struggle with mobility issues or have a large property. Some people tend to think that mowers like these will not work if they have too many hills in need of mowing. However, if you do enough research, you will find a riding lawn mower that will do an excellent job on any lawn regardless of the gradient of the slope.

Resources - Laguerilla Gardening, The Tool Report, Gardenknow

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