The 9 Best Zero Turn Mowers
Get The Right Mower; Enjoy The Best Lawn
Before you consider whether or not a zero turn lawn mower is right for your property, you're going to want to make sure the grass in question is healthy and robust. Even the most affordable zero turn mower will still set you back more than a thousand dollars, so you owe it to yourself to also invest in growing a lush, resilient lawn. Before we talk about the machine you'll use to cut the grass, let's talk about the process of growing healthy grass and about a few reasons why people consider these machines for cutting said grass.
In most regions, grass will go dormant during the winter and begin its growth cycle again as temperatures warm in the spring. When the soil temperature hits 55 degrees Fahrenheit, most domestic grasses will start to grow.
When the weather is still cooler, water twice a week and allow about one inch of water to fall on the grass per session (you can measure this depth by leaving buckets or pans out where your sprinklers will fill them.
As it warms up, increase watering to three times per week (or more as needed) and aim for closer to two inches per session. Also, make sure to water in the early morning or evening to decrease evaporation to avoid burning the grass.
You should plan to fertilize your grass over six to eight weeks during the growing season. Make sure to choose a fertilizer that is right for your climate and yard.
All that proper lawn care results in quickly-growing grass that requires frequent cutting in order to maintain its health and aesthetics. And the more you can cut your grass, the better: grass left taller and cut regularly creates the healthiest, greenest lawn possible. That means either a whole lot of time spent sweating behind that push mower, or a few easy passes in that lovely new zero turn mower.
So, is your home ready to invest in a zero turn lawnmower?
For those who own or work with a professional landscaping and lawn care service, a zero turn mower is an expense well worth incurring. These mowers increase efficiency as compared to traditional sit-on-style riding mowers (and are beyond compare to push mowers) and will soon pay for themselves in terms of increased productivity.
Why Horsepower Matters
The process of choosing the right zero turn mower starts, not surprisingly, with budget. You can spend as much on one of these machines as you would on a great used car, so make sure you know what you're getting into.
First off, what exactly is a zero turn mower, you might be wondering? Rather than a traditional riding style mower that uses a car-like system of wheels on axles with steering controlled by a steering wheel, a zero turn mower's powered wheels each have their own motor and will operate independently, with the wheels turning in opposite directions when needed, which turns the machine around in place. So yes, they turn, quite literally, on a dime when needed.
Once you are comfortable with your budget, the next thing to consider is horsepower. The larger your property, and the more hills it has, the more power you will want. There are models that feature just 15 horsepower that might be great for a large flat lawn, and there are zero turn mowers that boast closer to 30 horsepower and ready to charge up hills with ease.
And of course the more horsepower a lawnmower has, the more cutting power it can offer, as plenty of that power goes not to the wheels, but to the blade. At the small end you'll find zero turn mowers with "cutting decks" measuring just 30 inches across. That's not much bigger than some push mowers, but for a hilly property or for the older or less physical able person, these are perfectly viable machines. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get massive zero turn mowers with cutting decks more than 60 inches across. A beast of that size will make short work of golf-course sized plots of grass.
Practice Makes Perfect
Before you ever start cutting grass with a zero turn mower, you should master driving the mower with the blades disengaged.
Raise the cutting deck and don't plan to turn on the blades until you are comfortable with the forward, reverse, and turning controls of your mower. Controlling these machines is actually quite intuitive once you get the hang of it: more forward pressure moves you forward faster; pulling back on the right handle turns you right, and so on.
Just make sure to position the handles such that their neutral resting position is comfortable for you, and take it slow until driving your zero turn mower is second nature. Then open up that throttle, engage the blades, and enjoy the easiest lawn mowing session of your life.