Let’s be frank. Mowing a hill has never been a walk in the park. It is a risky endeavor. A single misstep and you are injured. Stumble against an obstacle and downhill you roll.
However, using the appropriate piece of equipment, the task can be less risky. A self-propelled mower is the best alternative here. Okay, walking behind a mower may not be as fun as riding one, but self-propelled mowers are safe and tension free; no toppling, no tipping, no rolling over.
With the excellent features, maneuvering and navigation are quite easy. Mowing sideways is effortless. No need to go all the way downhill just to take a turn. Sounds simple, huh?
It’s not that easy, though. Approach the task haphazardly, and you will end up with a broken ankle. Here are my top tips on how to mow a hill with a self-propelled mower.
Have the best mower for the task.
Making the wrong selection will only make the task tedious. If, after all, you want smooth and quality mowing, be sure to pick the most capable mower. Self-propelled mowers differ in power and maneuverability. Choose a powerful one that offers easy control. A good mower should have:
- Buttons or levers at the handle to allow the smooth operation
- Ability to turn sideways to cut the bush back and forth easily
- A clutch to effect disengaging of the engine and blades promptly.
- Adjustability of speed
- Adjustability of the height of the deck
- Big wheels to glide smoothly over the rough terrain.
If your mower lacks any of those features, it’s time to upgrade.
When it comes to hill mowing, rear-wheel driven mowers are the best performers. They offer better traction as compared to front-wheel driven mowers.
Inspect the area
This step is vital. Don’t begin mowing if you’re not sure of what lays on the surface. Be on the lookout for stones, sticks, nails, snags, and other obstacles. They pose a great risk. Get rid of them to keep danger at bay.
Mow from side to side
Unlike riding mowers, which demand vertical mowing, it is a bad idea to mow up or downhill with a walk-behind mower. This calls for extra muscle and is as well risky. Controlling a mower that is going uphill is not easy. You could easily slide or lose footing, and the mower could come running over you. Going downhill, you can slip and fall or lose the mower’s grip, letting it freely speed downhill.
For your safety and convenience, only mow horizontally. It is smooth and less risky as you are not working against gravity. Even if you lose grip, the machine will not run out of control.
Adjust the deck to the optimal height
The height of the deck is a crucial factor. Keeping the deck at a low setting not only scalps the ground but also obstructs motion. Rough movement means poor navigation, which could result in loose footing on your end.
Setting the deck so high, on the other hand, leaves patches on the ground. For quality and safe mowing, adjust the deck to an ideal height.
Get some mowing shoes.
Whether you’re mowing on a hill or a flat terrain, traction is key. Excellent traction allows optimal control of the mower and lowers the chances of sliding.
Sliding can prompt the machine to run out of control, or even worse, break your ankle! You may never tell how messy it can get if you’ve never slid. Mow safely. No slippers! No sandals! Purchase a pair of rough cleated shoes or gumboots that will offer great traction.
A good number of mowing accidents result from poor traction. You don’t want to be a part of the statistics.
Never mow when it’s wet
Don’t let the tractive cleats trick you to mowing on a rainy day. Mowing on a slippery surface has never been a good idea. Think of it this way: Walking on flat wet terrain can be risky, what of mowing a sloppy one? Don’t take the risk! You will slide and roll downhill or even break a limb. More dangerous, the mower could also slide down the hill and come running on you!
In addition to the dangers, wet grass is hard to cut. It clogs the blades resulting in poor navigation. This increases your chances of sliding and rolling over.
When mowing wet furthermore, it is impossible to get quality results. A big part of the grass slips off the mower’s blade.
The mower also uproots grass and leaves behind ugly patches.
The wheels leave marks, giving your terrain an ugly look. Mowing has never been an emergency, wait for the grass to dry up.
My last but not least tip on how to mow a hill with a self-propelled mower concerns speed. Good mowers come with speed control levers. Set the speed low; you don’t want the mowing to be a chase and run game. A slow and steady speed lets you see and easily avoid obstacles. It also gives you total control of the machine.
A beautiful, well-tended lawn has never been a result of fast, careless mowing. When mowing fast, you can accidentally step on a stone and go sliding downhill. Go slow, but sure.
When mowing a hill:
- Avoid loose-fitting or baggy clothes. They might lead to accidents.
- Wear glasses to shield your eyes from shredded debris.
- Use gloves to have a better grip on the handle.
- Use earplugs to dodge the otherwise bothersome noise from the mower’s engine.
Therefore you have it, I believe I have covered everything on how to mow a hill with a self-propelled mower. Self-propelled mowers have made easy the task mowing hills. Unlike riding mowers, they present little risks of toppling and getting injured. Now that they propel themselves, only a little effort is required from your end. With a powerful, easily navigable mower, mowing on a hill isn’t a challenge. However, it is not easy like ABC. Always take precautions. Your safety comes first.