Ask Tip Sheet

How do stadium grounds managers cut grass so that it looks striped or checkered? The common thought is they mow in different directions, but so do I.

Dana Saal, Springfield, Ill.

Well, you're on the right track. High-end stadium mowers are mounted with rollers, a mechanism that pushes grass down. Blades are bent in opposite directions as you move up and back--so light reflects off the grass to show patterns. You can get lawn tractors with full-width rollers at Sears starting at $1,500. One catch: "If you layer the grass," says Grant Trenbeath, head groundskeeper for the Arizona Diamondbacks, "sometimes the ball has a tendency to snake."