Once you understand how to cut on hills with a riding mower you’ll understand it’s easy stuff. It just takes a few tips and caution.
Some folks tend to want to cut straight uphill or side to side. Neither is really a good choice. If you go straight up you’re likely to wear the rider out before it’s time. If you go from side to side, your chances of tipping over increase greatly.
Horsepower and transmission play the major factors in how to cut on hills with a riding mower. If you have a single hydraulic transmission, you’ll want to mow straight up and then reverse it down the hill as you cut the next row. The reason you’ll want to back down in reverse is because the downhill wheel gets all the traction. Backing down will keep the mower from sliding.
With dual hydrolics, you’re able to cut on hills with a riding mower properly as long as you use caution.
1. Don’t mow when the grass is wet. It’s usually never good to mow when it’s wet and when you’re mowing hills, it’s really not advised. Wet grass is not only harder to mow, it also get clogged in the mower. But the real problem is that the mower can slip. The steeper the slope, the more your chances increase. So always check the grass before you begin. Make sure the morning dew is dry.
2. Using a riding mower with dual hydrolics, you’re going to want to cut up the hill and cross ways at an angle of about 40 degrees, give or take a few degrees (but only a few). As long as your rider is a dual hydro, you can then turn and go down the hill because it has the traction that it will need to go down the hill without sliding.
3. Make sure you understand your oil mix. As you’re mowing on an angle, if you do this for a big chunk of time, this will impede the lubrication your rider needs. It also helps to vary the swath.
If you’re shopping for the best riding mowers for hills, we have what we’ve found to be the Top 3 riders for people on hilly terrain. The ones we have listed are all new models.
However, if you would rather buy a used riding mower that’s fine too. There are riding mower auctions on eBay and you can occasionally find a good deal. Look for a good older John Deere model. Make sure it’s got from 12 (ok) to 18 (perfect) horsepower. Also, you want at least a hydrostatic and preferably a dual hydro. John Deere Sabre’s are good ones if you can find them. Expect to pay from $1,200 – $1,800 for a good used John Deere.
Now maybe, after reading this, you don’t have that much of a hill to mow, below is a video of how some people mow hills (they have a separate lawn mower for this). It actually works really well.