How to Use a Zero Turn Lawn Mower

lawnmower zero turn

Zero turn mowers are great for cutting large areas of grass whilst offering the most nimble and manoeuvrable ride on lawn mowing solution, but what exactly do you need to know before attempting to use one?

One system of controls is all you need to operate a zero turn mower. An instruction manual presents the few simple steps to follow that keep your lawn finely manicured. Most zero mower instruction manuals emphasize a few tips that ensure personal safety and optimal manoeuvrability.

Beware of Slippery Slopes

Virtually every owner’s manual for zero turn mowers clearly state that the mower should never run on lawn slopes exceeding 10 degrees. The John Deere owner’s manual for a zero turn mower mentions 13 degrees of slope, but the amount of the slope difference from the norm requires the analytical skills of Stephen Hawking. Stick with the rule of thumb that slopes greater than 10 degrees require the use of a walk mower or the creation of a landscaped area to prevent grass from growing. You can measure the slopes of your lawn by purchasing an inexpensive pitch and angle reader. Simply place the slope measuring instrument on a level and press it securely into the grass.

Stay Away From Obstacles

You don’t need a PhD in lawn mowing to understand that you must remain clear of lawn obstacles. The advice has more relevance for zero turn mowers that on average, reduce the amount of time it takes to cut a lawn by half. Lawn mowing isn’t a home improvement project that permits the mind to wander.

Pay attention to the following obstacles:

Drop Offs

Drop offs such as ditches, deep swales, and retaining walls pose considerable hazards for zero turn mowers. Cut around the edges of any drop off by using a push mower. You must cut at least four swaths around the edges of any drop off, since zero turn mowers require more space to navigate undulating terrain.

Roadside Curbs

Zero turn mowers perform remarkably well over naturally shaped lawn curves, but the efficient landscaping machines have no chance against roadside curbs. The unique design of a zero turn mower makes it susceptible to receiving severe damage from a curb that aligns a street.


Prolonged exposure to moisture turns landscaping machinery into rust-laden, broken down pieces of metal – which is of no use to man nor beast. Remain at least two zero turn mower lengths away from any water source, including the edges of ponds and areas of your lawn that recently received a thorough dousing.

As with any lawn mower, take a zero turn  mower for a test spin. Run the landscaping machine straight for a few minutes and then perform difficult manoeuvres, such as backing the machine up to a shed. Zero turn mowers make the perfect mower for reverse driving that helps you avoid lawn damage. Just makes sure you practice the manoeuvre, before you perform it on your finely manicured lawn.




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