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Tips for (and the risks of) Mowing a Steep Slope

While slopes add aesthetic appeal and dynamism to a landscape, mowing on a slope can be challenging and dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Knowing how to mow grass on a hill can help prevent the operator from slipping, or the machine from tipping.

Landscape contractors, greenkeepers and groundsmen need to make sure that the equipment in use is designed and maintained with safety in mind. Moreover, operators should always ensure they are familiar with the conditions of the terrain on which their mowers are being used, to avoid any surprises and accidents.

We have compiled some tips to help you safely and effectively mow on a slope:


Most grass, brush, and weeds on inclines can be mowed with either a ride-on or a walk-behind mower. However, slopes rise sharply and require a special technique and/or special equipment to be used.

Typical ride-on mowers are not supposed to be used to cut slopes with a grade greater than 15 degrees. If you are faced with a terrain featuring steeper hills, you will need a mower with a low center of gravity and a wide wheelbase. A self-propelled or four-wheel-drive mower will help with traction and control, whilst a wide cutting deck will prevent you for spending more time than necessary climbing up and down the hills.

Manufacturers often provide a slope rating, which shows the steepest angle a mower can safely operate on: 10 degrees is a hill, 20 degrees is a steep hill, 25 degrees is a very steep hill. You may have trouble even walking up a 30 degree slope.

Check the slope angle rating of your mower, ensuring it’s up to the task.  Ventrac mowers can be configured to mow a 30-degree slope!


Once you have selected the right machine for the job, remove any debris or obstacles on the slope, including rocks, sticks, and other hazards that could cause the mower to tip over or lose traction.


With a ride-on mower, mow up and down the slope.  This provides maximum traction to the drive wheels and lessens the risk of rolling. Start along the top-most edge, where the slope peaks. Raise the deck of the mower to its highest point, which will avoid scalping the grass.

With a walk behind mower, either mow up and down on a diagonal to reduce the possibility of slipping and rolling, or mow uphill behind a walk-behind mower, then turn it off, walk down, and mow up again.


A wet grassy slope can be extremely slippery, which could cause a serious slip or fall.  Muddy ground will often give way or behave unpredictably.

Conversely, very dry grass can also be dangerous. Dry ground can be very hard, not providing the same grip and traction that normal / slightly moist ground does.


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

Mow smaller sections at a time, so you have better control over the mower. Take it slow, use the lowest possible gear on the transmission. A lower speed makes it easier to maintain control of the mower. It also helps you spot upcoming obstacles and adjust or hit the brakes in time.

Always wear sturdy shoes or boots with good traction, eye protection, and hearing protection.


Finally, a well-maintained mower is a safer mower.  Regularly check the oil, air filter, and blades. Sharp blades will make the job easier and safer by reducing the risk of the mower slipping or sliding. Keep the brakes properly adjusted and maintained!


TORO HoverPro Walk Behind Mower

The TORO HoverPro is designed to offer better control and greater stability in extreme conditions and difficult cutting areas. A light footprint makes this mower easy to operate on steep hills or verges, while its rugged design ensures years of quality performance. The HoverPro cuts on slopes with angles of up to 45°and comes in two cutting width options:

Ventrac 4520 Ride-on Tractor

Ventrac is a safer solution for slopes up to 30 degrees (58% grade). Ventrac tractors were designed for slopes. It features:

  • All-wheel hydrostatic drive – delivers maximum performance and traction to help you get the job done.
  • Downhill braking – hydrostatic braking allows operators to confidently slow down, stop and reverse on hills.
  • Flex Frame – allows for tighter turning radius, provides better stability, ground contact and a smoother ride. Moreover, it significantly reduced turf disturbance compared to traditional, fixed frame tractors.
  • Weight Transfer – improves traction, braking, and side-slope steering security by shifting a portion of the front attachment weight onto the tractor.
  • Dual Wheels – for increased safety and stability on hillsides, add the optional wheel extensions (up to 25°) or dual wheels (up to 30°).
  • Low Center of Gravity – gives the tractor superior stability.

Grillo Mowers

Grillo mowers can safely climb slopes, and are very efficient in maintaining overgrown, neglected areas, agricultural areas, and lawns.

Extreme maneuverability (AWD), and smooth steering enable Grillo machines to work quickly and efficiently while remaining simple and easy to control. A low center of gravity enables the mowers to handle steep and undulating terrain safely and competently.

Decks cutting widths varying from 34″ (85cm) to 38” (98cm). Some of our most popular models are:

  • Grillo Climber 10.27 AWD – 4WD system combined with the 27 HP powerful engine offer brilliant performances on severe slopes and low-adherence grounds.
  • Grillo Climber 10.22 AWD – heavy duty body, safe, low, stable design and aggressive cutting system, and differential locking handle very long grass and steep slopes.
  • Grillo Climber 7.18 – ideal for properties up to 3 – 4 acres, travels up and down steep slopes is easy even while mowing long grass.
  • Grillo Climber 7.15 – ideal for properties up to 1 – 2 acres, tackles long grass, saplings and bracken with ease. Great for slopes or undulating terrain.

If you have any questions or to chat about which machine is best for your property or situation, call our expert customer services today!

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