Sharper lawn mower blades allow for faster mowing!

What the heck does the sharpness or dullness of a lawn mower blade have to do with the speed you can cut a lawn at? In one word plenty. We had a great discussion at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on this topic when a member shared with us he had recently purchased his first ZTR mower.In the discussion it was brought to our attention you need to keep your mowing blades sharp and I asked if this could be explained to us in greater detail.

ZTR mower blades

ZTR mower blades

A member said “I would be happy to explain this to you all. First of all, the difference between a regular riding mower and a zero turn radius mower is the fact that on a zero turn, the blades are set to spin much, much faster. That’s why we’re able to mow at speeds much greater than a normal rider. When your blades are dull, they can’t keep a nice groomed cut at a higher speed, thus your ability to go fast AND maintain a nice cut is cut down considerably. Your mower is still able to mow fast, but your cut looks like crap. I run into this frequently with my mowing blades. They are getting quite a bit of wear and tear on them and they won’t hold an edge very long at all. And anyone who owns a zero turn can tell you that getting to your blades can be a challenge. Especially if you are like me and don’t own a fancy mower jack. I have to use a come along from my roll bar on the mower to the tow hitch on my truck to tilt the mower up on it’s rear.

I am a fanatical when it comes to my customer’s lawns and I maintain a high standard of keeping the grass cut at an even level. If my blades get dull, they get sharpened immediately. I usually sharpen them every other week. I’d like to do them once a week, but just don’t have the time. If you want to succeed in this business, you have to set your standards higher than the other guy.”

Another member shared “quite simply put, as a blade gets dull, the quality of cut is reduced dramatically. When a blade is sharp, it cuts the grass. When a blade is dull, it literally “tears” or rips the grass off.

This does several things:

1. The finish appearance is much less professional. The lawn will have a shaggy and unkempt appearance. The ends of the grass will tend to be frazzled and torn. The grass will not necessarily be cut even either.

2. It is unhealthy for the grass due to bruised and damaged ends that are a result of the dull blade ripping the grass off. I suppose in it’s own way, this is very similar to damaged and frayed hair ends.

3. It is harder on the entire mower system. The blades, bearing assemblies, bearing housings, belts, and engine.

4.¬† Because of #3, it reduces your mower life. Extra wear on your blades. Extra stress on your belt will cause your belt to break prematurely. Extra pull on the blades places undue pressure on your bearings and bearing housings. All of this places undue stress and pull on the engine. This causes the engine to wear out prematurely and require premature servicing.”

Very fascinating information. All of these problems can occur from operating a ZTR mower with dull blades! It’s something to keep in mind when you mow.

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