Tires for small tractors used to mow turf have wide, soft balloon-style tires. Turf tires are designed to distribute the weight of tractors over a greater area of turf, causing less damage to the grass. The drawback is that they tend to slip on wet grass and are not good for general-purpose garden work. They are soft and thin, having few plies or layers; this makes them easier to puncture. There are four basic styles of tires designed to be used on turf.
Wide, smooth turf tires do the least damage to turf. They are also the easiest to puncture and should not be used on gravel or areas where there are splinters of wood, hard thorns, shards of broken glass, nails, pieces of metal or other sharp objects. They slip easily. They are often mounted on the front of garden tractors, reserving tires with tread for the rear.
Tires with Ribs
Wide turf tires with ribs or parallel grooves are also easy on the turf, but do not puncture as easily as smooth tires. The grooves prevent the tires from slipping sideways if they are used on hills. They are not good for pushing loads such as snow in the winter.
Tires with Tread
Tires with tread are designed to cause minimal damage to turf while still being useful for pushing tractors up hilly turf. They also have enough traction to move snow in the winter or piles of fresh dirt in the summer. They are not punctured as easily as smooth tires or ribbed tires.
Flotation tires are extra-wide, balloon-style tires that distribute the weight of a tractor over the greatest area. They are designed to be used in swampy, muddy areas, but they are also used on turf. Flotation tires are useful for areas where care must be taken not to make the soil more compact.