Just got a new zero turn mower? They are incredible machines but they can be a bit tricky at first. Take a look at some tips for the beginner zero turn mower operator. Tips that could allow you to master that machine before you make your first zero turn payment.
Start Out Slow
You probably bought that zero turn so you can cut your lawn or fields at incredible speed, but don’t get ahead of yourself.
The operation of a zero turn is something that you have to get used to. No steering wheel and no brake pedals means that you need to get used to a new way of operating a machine. It takes time for the mind to body connections to form. Until it sinks in, keep your speed down.
Avoid Water Hazards
Stay a mowers length away from pond and other water features, These types of surfaces can prove dangerous for a zero turn. Remember that if you lose traction, you lose steering. You could easily find yourself and your new John Deere mower in the water, hopefully right side up but potentially upside down.
Use a push mower or trimmer to handle the waters edge and protect yourself and that expensive mower.
Go Easy On The Hills
One of the most dangerous things that you can do in a zero turn mower is cut hills. In fact, you should not even mow a hill that is over 13 degrees in incline. Most mower manuals state to avoid anything over 10 degrees.
The most dangerous part of cutting those hills is turning. Zero turn mowers are rear heavy and the front wheels are merely casters. If the back wheels lose traction, you completely lose the ability to steer and, on a hill, you will essentially be riding a sled.
Try to avoid making turns on hills as much as possibles because that zero turn of yours can lose traction easily. The best way to cut a hill is to go straight up and then straight down.
Practice Your Turns
Before you hit the lawn, practice operating and turning your new mower on your driveway.
Zero turns are capable of making the tightest of turns but that does not mean that you should do so. A tight turn made pivoting off of one wheel is very likely to gouge your lawn. Instead, try to make a more gradual turn
Don’t Get Too Close
One of the selling points of zero turn mowers is that they can turn on a dime. This leads many people to try to get right up on obstacles, hopefully cutting down on detail work. The problem is that it is far too easy to whack that zero turn into the object, possibly causing some serious damage to your mower deck.
Instead of getting danger close, realize that there will still be some trim work to do. The mower will help you get the lawn cut fast, but it is not going to eliminate time spent with the edger.
Use Your Safety Features
If your mower has a ROPS or Roll Over Protection System, use it. Most residential mowers do not have the system, but if you went commercial, take advantage of it. Wear your seatbelt and keep the bar in the upright, locked position. It could save you injury and could even save your life.