How to Mow a Steep Hill with a Riding Mower

Let’s be honest: mowing a steep slope is a risky endeavor, yet, you want your lawn to remain decent and well-kept all the time.

With difficult maintenance, most gardeners may feel like getting rid of the grass entirely as the only solution to stay away from potential dangers connected with steep slope mowing.

Unfortunately, a bare ground is vulnerable to erosion, so it’s important you invent a skill or trick to help you maneuver sleep slope mowing with zero risk. Here, we’ll explore safety tricks and tips on how to mow a steep hill with a riding mower.

Tips on How to Mow a Steep Hill with a Riding Mower ​

Choose the Best Mower for Steep Hills

One first thing you need to do is to select the right mower for hilly terrains. There are several options of mowers designed for different slopes. So, understand important factors such as slope angle and lawn size, then select a mower that works well on that particular terrain and lawn size.

When selecting a mower for steep hills, make sure it operates on rear wheel drive and not on front wheel or all-wheel drive. In most mowers, the rear wheels are wider so a greater surface area will be in contact with the surface. Therefore, offering excellent traction as opposed to front thin wheels that are appropriate for even grounds.

Perfect examples of best mowers for steep hills include Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower (21 rev), Ariens Zoom Kohler 6000 Series (5 rev) and Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding mower.

Drive on Low Speed

Drive the mower on low speed if you want to be safe on steep slope. Maintain a constant low speed and avoid abrupt change on speed. Stopping the mower if you lose control at high speed is highly risky.

Also, avoid sadden stopping as you are likely to be ejected from the mower or cause the mower to slip.  To remain safe, fasten the seat belt to keep you intact from sudden force.

Make sure the brakes are in good condition and be careful not to step accidentally. Additionally, avoid sudden turning on a steep hill.

Mow from Up to Down

There are a lot of theories with regard to how you should drive a riding mower on a steep slope. However, mow from up the slope to down the slope. Do not mow horizontally or across the slope as this may prompt the mower to slant which could be much dangerous.

The weight of the machine is likely to lean on the lower side if you attempt to mow sideways which may cause the mower to roll or slip down. On a steep hill, only use a self-propelled/ push mower if you have to mow across a slope.

Do Not Mow on a Rainy Season

Mowing on a rainy season or on wet grass increases the chances of sliding. Additionally, the clippings are likely to clog within making the mower harder to maneuver. 

Before you mow, ensure the grass is dry even if you’re mowing on a dry season. Night and morning mist also make the grass wet so it’s important you allow the grass to get dry if it’s moisturized.

Remove all the Obstacles

Use a zero-turn mower when mowing a landscape with trees since they’re easier to control. However, be careful as you’re likely to hit a tree if the mower gets out of control as anything can happen when you’re mowing a steep slope.

The next thing you’re supposed to do is to remove obstacles like debris and rocks. If you’re a hired commercial mower, familiarize yourself with the lawn. Make special attention to uneven parts of the slope, embankments, possible holes and any other potential hazard.

Acquainting yourself with the area will help you minimize on speed at potentially risky sections.   

Use Side Discharge to Minimize on Attachments

Rear bagging or mulcher will most likely make the mower unstable. The rear bagging gets heavy as you mow which makes the mower heavier on one side which may affect its stability.

Empty the bag oftenly after it fills to an average weight as directed by the manufacturer’s manual. Emptying quite often may be quite a core but it’s the only way to remain safe on steep slopes.

Alternatively, you can use the side discharge option which is very convenient on all terrains. 

Final Thoughts

Only use a riding mower on steep hills if you’ve surveyed the area and you’re totally comfortable. Do not attempt if you’re skeptical about your safety as you’re likely to get nervous once you get started.

If you’re totally uncomfortable, use a self-propelled mower or hire a commercial mower expert. Your life is still important and trading it for a well-looking yard will not be worth it.

However, if you’re confident and careful, these tips should help you mow a steep slope safely and easily and enjoy mowing just like I do.

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