Mowing Patterns in Grass


dscn0320.JPGThose beautiful shades of green stripes on the fields you see at sporting events are not painted on!    (Actually, I have been asked this question by a few readers over the years).

First, Its not as hard as it looks to put those
stripes in your yard..even a 7 year old can do it (under a parental eye) and I was a witness
too the youth event as it was my son that put them in our yard several
years ago with his bubble mower.

The stripes are actually made by rolling or
bending the grass in opposite directions.  In pro parks they use a
vertical reel type mower.Daves_greek_photos_045_1   Its all about the equipment …NOT THE PAINT! Some
big league parks have developed some very special designs over the
years like Cal Ripkens #8 in the field when he retired and Dave
Mellor’s beautiful “Red Sock”designs at his field in Boston.  There are
even parks that mow the grass in one direction to show “no stripes”. 
 The Skyline at Shea a few years back was nice as well.

There is a myth that the
grass bending could effect the ball…again that is a myth as long as
the groundskeeper changes the pattern every few weeks it will not
effect the ball roll.   More importantly the bermuda grass tends to cause more snaking of the ball. You should try to mow the grass in the direction the ball is rolling to the outfielder

For years,  in order for the homeowner to put
those cool stripes in there lawn , they had to purchase an expensive walk
behind reel mower.  Your standard rotary mower can’t really perform
this function because it requires a roller or some type of vertical
movement to push or brush the grass in one direction.  This brushing
and rolling is alternated as you travel back and forth on the grass. 
 That’s it! 

Recently,  I have noticed a few companies beginning to sell striping attachments that you can put on your existing mowers. Dscn1196 In fact the large commercial “Z mowers” ( the mowers you see zipping around..you know the one.. the guy uses two handles to maneuver it instead of a steering wheel) Some of  Those units now have a striping kit that can be attached to the mower.  
If you look behind the mowing deck and in front of the wheel on the
mower photo, you can see the attachment on this EX-mark mower that TORO
distributes. 

Before going out and buying something to stripe
your field or lawn you need to know what type of grass  you have
because it may affect the ability to stripe the grass. 

Dscn1197The Northern grasses such as Bluegrass and fescues always stripe
very well.  Also dormant Bermuda grass…. over seeded with rye type
grass seed in the south does a great job. Where you may have some
trouble is striping bermuda type turfs in the summers.  Its possible
but these grasses need to be mowed in various directions or they tend
to “grain” which will cause the ball to roll funny on the field.   

I actually had a small stripping mower at my yard a couple years back before the heat wave caused the county to impose water restrictions.   McLean and National Mower
companies actually sell striping mowers.  I would also look for the striping 
attachment as an option for your brand of mower. 

2 Comments

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