Slope Mowing. What exactly is it, and how can i tackle it?

What is slope mowing?

Slope mowing is a pretty broad subject. If your property, or a property that you maintain has grass or vegetation growing on slopes, hills or particularly hard to reach places due to the degree or angle of the of the terrain, slope mowing is what you do to maintain them.

Mowing on slopes can be challenging and not something you would normally attempt with your standard ride on or zero turn mower.

It is important you have the right mower to attempt to mow slopes.

What machinery do i need to mow slopes?

Most ride on mowers are not designed for work on slopes or any kind of incline. Inside mechanics and engineering of the mower need to planned and considered with a clear focus for steep work. A machine that operates at a steep angle is a specialised piece of machinery.

A specialised mower for slopes and steep hills, allows for better control due to mechanics such as a diff lock, 4WD system and high/low range availability for traction control.

Safety features of the machine also need to be considered, such as brake capability and downward hill control.

What is the best machine to tackle my slopes?

Depending on the level of slope and the type of terrain you are trying to maintain, you have a few options to choose from. Remember, most ride on mowers are only rated to be used on slopes up to 15 degrees, so anything over this is dangerous for your mower and for the operator.

Let's break down the best machines to do the job:

You have a large lawn with a nice covering of grass, but the slopes are too steep for a regular ride on mower...

Try a Walker Mower or a Robot Mower

Walker Mowers, specifically the non-collection machines, offer superior traction, handling and safety, on slopes and hills. Their low centre of gravity (the operator generally sits 20-30cm lower on a Walker Mower than on a typical mid-mount lawn tractor), and overall balance, with the weight distributed centrally over the drive wheels, provides better traction, control, and safer downhill stability than competitive mid-mount and stand-on products.

In comparison, most mid-mount mowers and garden tractors position the weight of their engine forward of the rear driving wheels to avoid flipping backwards on hills, resulting in reduced traction, loss of braking, and unsafe loss of steering when going downhill.

A Walker Mower also outperforms mid-mounts when mowing across slopes. The mid-mount, with its weight higher up and forward of the drive wheels, will tend to nose-dive on slopes, and be more likely to tip over sideways.

The Walker Mower also offers a true floating deck, which moves independently of the tractor, for superior contour following. A mid-mount mower deck is more rigidly suspended, with a greater tendency to scalp or lift on rolling terrain.

If you'd prefer to let your mower do the work and not ride on your mower, consider a Robot Mower from Roboworld. Perfect for large properties with sloping lawns, a Robot Mower will take care of the grass with regular maintenance and virtually no effort from you.

Your area is sloping, but it's covered with a variety of weeds that are too tough for a regular ride on mower.

Look into a Razorback all terrain mower and brushcutter

Navigate steep slopes up to 25 degrees with some uneven or unruly terrain on your Razorback.

The Razorback is a specialised slope and brush mower with a very low centre of gravity and (most models) are four-wheel drive for extreme mobility and traction.

They ‘hug’ the ground and are certified gradability and able to operate on slopes of up to 25°.

The Razorback mower features tough, double expanding brakes to allow speed control on descending terrain.

Simply put, the Razorback was designed with slopes in mind. Superior engineering and craftsmanship, this mower was designed to tackle extreme slopes with capability, effectiveness and safety.

A Razorback is also ideal for large area clearing, especially if it is covered in thick brush and weeds. If the terrain it too rough for a regular ride on mower, a Razorback will plough through it.

If your area is sloping, but it's also covered with saplings and small trees that need something tougher than a hand held brushcutter, a Razorback is your friend.

You have a large paddock style area, with dips and rises that needs something more sturdy than a regular mower.

A Steiner Tractor could be for you.

These areas are large areas of brush, and tall grass that need something to do the job quickly. A Steiner tractor will suit this application. Its powerful engines and hydraulics, wide stance, articulating and oscillating frame, and new hydraulic weight transfer and traction boost system mean you can cover large areas in a short space of time and on slopes up to 30 degrees.

Extreme slopes in dangerous or hard to get to places.

The 450’s articulating frame provides a tight turning radius of 110cm for agile manoeuvrability in tight areas. The frame oscillates to keep you balanced and in control when side-mowing slopes. With a low centre of gravity and 4-wheel drive, you get unmatched traction and stability for scaling slopes and berms.

You have a large area to maintain for your business (or forestry work) that has steep slopes and tough terrain, that needs something much sturdier and safer than a regular mower.

Consider a Green Climber as your next business investment.

This is the most gruelling of vegetation. Often characterised by steep banks on the sides of roadways or dams which require optimum safety practices for the operator.

The remote controlled Green Climber can be operated on slopes up to 60 degrees from 100 metres away, and reduces the amount of manpower needed to complete the task.

With a Green Climber, all the movements of the machine can be carried out with the remote control. With a long range of action of up to 150m, it makes it safe for the operator to perform risky or hazardous tasks, from a distance.

Steep slopes have always been a real obstacle for manually controlled heavy machinery. The Green Climber can easily handle slopes of up to 60 degrees whilst working in any direction.

Its low centre of gravity and highly stable expandable track system makes the Green Climber the perfect tool for cutting thick bush and undergrowth on steep railway and roadside embankments.

The Green Climber mowers are able to chew through vegetation up to 200 mm thick faster than any other mowers so it’s ideal for controlling hard to reach noxious weeds.

How can i mow slopes safely?

Safety Do’s

  • When possible, always start, stop and turn on the flat.

  • Use extra care with grass catchers or other attachments as they affect the mower’s stability.

  • Have an escape route planned if the brakes fail or you lose control of the steering.

  • If you feel the front wheels lifting – STOP, turn around slowly and go back down.

  • Keep the brakes properly adjusted and maintained.

  • NOTE: Brakes are generally there to stop the mower not slow it down, that’s what the transmission is for.

Safety Dont’s

  • Do not shift to neutral and coast downhill.

  • Never use a rear-mounted bag on a slope as it gets too heavy and is a tipping hazard.

  • Never try to stabilise the mower by putting your foot on the ground.

  • If in doubt, don’t

  • In some cases, the terrain may be too steep for anything. Perhaps fence it and get some sheep or goats, or landscape it to be a wilderness area or shrubbery.

  • How steep is too steep? If your slope gains 30cm of height every 90cm of distance it’s too steep for your average ride on mower and you need a specialist mower.

#slopemowing #steepslopes #mowslopes #safetyonslopes