While mowing a slope with a riding mower, you need to make sure you’re mowing up and down instead of side by side. It’s also important to ensure the slope is not too steep, as in, any greater than 15 degrees because the riding mower isn’t designed to handle slopes any steeper than that.
Read below to know more about the various conditions under which it is safe to mow a slope on a riding mower, what are the safety precautions you need to keep in mind, and some tips to make the most out of your mowing session when it comes to a slope.
In What Direction Should You Mow a Slope With a Riding Mower?
With a riding mower, you should always mow up and down on a slope, unlike in the case of a push mower which would be mowed side-by-side on a slope. The reason behind this particular directionality is that you don’t want the heavy side of the riding mower slide downslope, which can lead to fatal accidents.
On What Kind of Slope Is It Okay to Mow With a Riding Mower?
The steepness should be no more than 15 degrees, and also, you need to make sure the grass is not wet, because if it is, it will reduce the traction of the riding mower on the slope, which can be very dangerous in case the mower ends up losing its balance.
On a similar note, you should also make sure the ground isn’t too dry and hard, since that messes with the traction too.
Preparatory Measures to Take Before Mowing on the Slope with a Riding Mower
- Make sure the ground doesn’t have any major obstacles in the way like boulders, rocks, debris etc.
- See if you need to give your mower a little clean-up. Clean any grass clippings or debris off the surface of the mower.
- Check the brakes to see if they’re working properly or not. You don’t want to risk getting into an accident in case the brakes malfunction while you’re on the slope.
- Start the mower on a level surface. Never start it on the slope because it might move backwards and lead to accidents.
- Plan an escape route beforehand, just in case the mower does malfunction on the slope.
Can You Speed Up on A Slope While Mowing?
Keep the speed lower than as you’d keep if you were mowing on a level terrain. You need higher traction while mowing on a slope, so you need to keep the mower slow and steady, preferably at the lowest gear.
What If The Slope Is Too Steep for the Riding Mower?
If the slope is too steep for the riding mower, simply don’t use a riding mower. A self-propelled push mower will be a better fit for the job – just make sure you’re using it sideways on the slope so that it doesn’t trip over you if you slip.
Does the Size of the Riding Mower Matter on a Slope?
It does – it’s always better to use a riding mower with a low profile instead of a big one. A bigger mower will have more of the risk of tipping over while on the slope because of its extra weight.
Are Riding Mowers Suitable For Slopes Anyway?
This highly depends on the model of the riding mower, as different models will have different specifications. Make sure to check the instruction manual to see if your mower is suitable for slopes, and if it’s a yes, what are the things you need to consider in order to mow properly on the slope.
Differentiating Between Brakes and Transmission While Mowing on a Slope
It is important to consider that while mowing on a slope, you should not use the brakes for slowing down. The brakes are for stopping – the transmission is what you should focus on if you want to slow down.
Do You Need to Take The Attachments Off the Riding Mower While on the Slope?
There may be various attachments like mulching or bagging features that are just increasing the weight of the riding mower and affecting its traction on the slope instead of being a plus factor – it’s best to detach them from the mower before mowing on the slope. You want to maximize the stability of the mower on the steep slope.
Can You Use Your Feet To Increase Stability on the Slope?
If you’re having a hard time stabilizing the mower on the slope, don’t resort to using your feet to stabilize as it won’t be enough to counter the weight of the mower.
Is it Okay to Mow with a Riding Mower Around Drop-offs, Ditches or Embankments?
It’s dangerous to mow too close around drop-offs, ditches or embankments with a riding mower. The damp or slippery terrain can mess with the traction of the riding mower which might, in worst-case scenario, cause it to trip over into the water.
In What Weather Conditions Should You Mow on a Slope?
A clear and sunny day. Simply put, avoid taking the risk of mowing with a riding mower on an overcast day because you won’t be able to properly see if there are any dangerous obstacles in the ground that could mess with the mower if they come in contact with it.
Can You Use a Zero-Turn Riding Mower on a Slope?
Short answer: you shouldn’t. Zero-turn mowers are amazing for flat terrains as they ensure you mow in a neat and straight line, but on a slope, your safety is your topmost priority. You don’t want the mower to not be maneuverable enough to change its direction in case you come across an obstacle along the path. A zero-turn mower would increase the risk of accidents.
Can You Use a Riding Mower on an Uneven Slope?
Once again, you shouldn’t, because the lumps, bumps or any uneven parts of a slope can increase the risk of the riding mower tripping over. Stick to slopes with smoother terrains.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.