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Posted: 8/22/2017 1:18:10 PM EST
After getting a few quotes for lawn service, I've decided to just bite the bullet and mow it myself (at least until my son can). I was looking to purchase a garden tractor initially, but a few friends have suggested looking at a zero turn, stating that it would save me at least 20-30% in time. I own 2.5 acres of relatively flat land, with the exception of a 1/4 acre pond surrounded by trees every 35 feet.

I've also been told to skip the residential mowers and "buy once, cry once" with a commercial quality option. Therefore, I've been looking at the Swisher, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Hustler, Dixie, and Toro. I'm suffering from a little bit of sticker shock, but it should pay for itself within 2-3 years, especially with 0% financing.

Does anyone have any opinions about whether I should go with a zero turn vs. a garden tractor? The additional functionality of the garden tractor seems cool, but I don't really foresee myself plowing snow with a tractor. If I'm going to save 30 minutes of my weekend

Any thoughts on any particular brand? Engine choice? ZTR vs. Tractor? How much to spend? Things to avoid?
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:25:53 PM EST
Craigslist, commercial zero turn. There's a shitton of clapped out junk, but you might find something good. I picked up a 2014 Gravely ZT42XL with 300hrs for $1500 a few months ago.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:32:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 1:33:17 PM EST by SWIRE]
I use a residential 2007 Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 42" mower to mow a 3 acre yard for someone.  His property is all up the side of a steep hill with no flat land at all.  I replaced the rear tires with the tractor style tires instead of turf tires.  Total time is about 2.5 hours to mow all of it.  

The thing with MTD equipment is the parts across the brands are the same and they make the same model for years, meaning the parts are plentiful and cheap.  A mower is a machine, it is going to wear out.  You will have to replace blades, belts, spindles, springs...etc on anything that you will buy if you use it enough.  On a residential yard, that might get cut once a week, the residential tractors are more than enough.  

Craigslist a used one of these for $350 and call it a day.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:37:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 1:38:02 PM EST by MateFrio]
A Garden Tractor is only useful if you're going to plow, till, level or handle snow regularly.  Nothing currently in the market I could recommend but lots of old stuff like "power kings" "Case 446" "Deere 450" etc out there that is built to last many more years if maintained.

Zero turns are quick one trick ponies..  Make sure you're looking at one with as wide a deck as possible and yes a used commercial will outlast a brand new box store one.

I mow ~ 3 acres of the 10 we have with a Troy Bilt Pony 42in mower.  Takes about 2hrs IF I keep up with it.  The mower came with the house and is small for what we have to mow but works.  As long as that lasts and I have kids that do the work I'm going to keep it.  When it breaks down I'll get a used commercial ZTM.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:40:02 PM EST
I can mow 4 acres in a couple hours with a scag turf tiger and a 72" deck.

It depends on how much you enjoy mowing.

I hate it, so I got the big deck, and scags are built like a tank.

I do have a hilly uneven area I mow, so when the deck is tilted left or right, the grass has some uneven cuts.

if you are a yard nut, a smaller deck will give you a more even cut in those areas.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:43:52 PM EST
Also, zero turns are great for whipping around trees, but when your inside tire isn't rolling, it is tearing up the grass.

I just want it cut and don't care much about how it looks, so it is not an issue for me.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:46:41 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Glittenstein:
Also, zero turns are great for whipping around trees, but when your inside tire isn't rolling, it is tearing up the grass.

I just want it cut and don't care much about how it looks, so it is not an issue for me.
View Quote
Just take longer radius turns.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:47:28 PM EST
It's Tuesday again, huh?
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:48:30 PM EST
I mowed 6 acres that had a lot of trees to go around (15 - 20) and it took 45 minutes with my 50" cut 20HP Dixie Chopper, that time included checking oil and topping off the gasoline. Or you could spend 4 hours + with a "lawn tractor"



Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:48:58 PM EST
I mow a healthy 2 acres. I have a 42" cub cadet tractor. Get a zero turn. Mine takes about 3 hours to do it all. I bet a zero turn could knock it to 1 hour.
I have never used my mower for anything but mowing.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:52:54 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By JohnnyP:
Just take longer radius turns.
View Quote
If I wanted to do that, I wouldn't have a ZERO turn mower.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 1:58:24 PM EST
No stamped deck.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:20:35 PM EST
I have about 3 acres of seriously uneven and hilly yard.

I went the lawn tractor route instead of lawn mower route due to deck height.

It takes about 2hrs but like I said it is not your average lawn.

Never really took it that a lawn tractor was good for anything but lawns. I know they make Garden Tractors that are bigger and would be useful for other things.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:23:29 PM EST
A zero turn will be the fastest option unless you go with a large finish mower. I have 2 acres, and a Toro Zmaster that is 62" wide. Mow time is 35min with trees and tight areas that slow me down a bit.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:28:19 PM EST
ZERO TURN
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:30:07 PM EST
The old place had three acres of heavy pasture grass on a mostly level yard. The Kubota BX18 subcompact diesel would take most of three hours to mow it on WOT. The Kubota zero turn would do it in 45 minutes and would cut cleaner.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:30:12 PM EST
Check out the thread I started a few days ago asking a similar question.  I've received a lot of good info.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/2023924_New-yard-Need-new-mower-.html
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:31:26 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:33:01 PM EST
In true Arf fashion, get both 

Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:37:15 PM EST
Kubota F series with their 100inch deck. Only about 40k nothing for people on this site oh.

I use a BX23s and offset pull behind for 100inch cut works well for me.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 2:56:30 PM EST
Zero Turn. Our lawn used to take 3 to 4 hours to mow. Zero Turn has that down to 45 minutes.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:25:39 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:34:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 3:37:37 PM EST by Hedonist]
ZTR, but not a home center model - you need the acreage machine.

 I bought my Toro ZX online, free freight, arrived on a pallet, some assembly required.  But saved about a grand.

At that time Home Depot was selling the Toro Z model - but not the ZX, the ZX was virtually a commercial quality machine. The Z model was home owner quality.  They look similar, but are quite different in quality.

By the way, I ended up giving my son our Garden tractor, since once I got the ZTR it just sat.  Remember a Garden tractor isn't a mower, but it does cut grass among other things.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:38:06 PM EST
Get the biggest deck u can get. Then get the next size up.

Mowing sucks.....
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:38:36 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
View Quote
You could invade Poland with that thing. 




And cut their grass for them. 
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:39:53 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Hedonist:
ZTR, but not a home center model - you need the acreage machine.

 I bought my Toro ZX online, free freight, arrived on a pallet, some assembly required.  But saved about a grand.

At that time Home Depot was selling the Toro Z model - but not the ZX, the ZX was virtually a commercial quality machine. The Z model was home owner quality.  They look similar, but are quite different in quality.

By the way, I ended up giving my son our Garden tractor, since once I got the ZTR it just sat.  Remember a Garden tractor isn't a mower, but it does cut grass among other things.
View Quote
Mind if I ask where you bought it?
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:41:58 PM EST
I mow 3 acres with a Dixie Chopper and it takes about 1.5-1.75 hours. Lots of trees and a steep ditch bank on one edge. I guesstimate that it would take me close to an hour more on a lawn tractor. I'll also say that if your yard has any steep grades, ZTR's might not be the best for you.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:45:07 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
Mind if I ask where you bought it?
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
Originally Posted By Hedonist:
ZTR, but not a home center model - you need the acreage machine.

 I bought my Toro ZX online, free freight, arrived on a pallet, some assembly required.  But saved about a grand.

At that time Home Depot was selling the Toro Z model - but not the ZX, the ZX was virtually a commercial quality machine. The Z model was home owner quality.  They look similar, but are quite different in quality.

By the way, I ended up giving my son our Garden tractor, since once I got the ZTR it just sat.  Remember a Garden tractor isn't a mower, but it does cut grass among other things.
Mind if I ask where you bought it?
Speedway Sales in Wisconsin, they drop shipped it to me. Their website is down now so I don't know what's going on. The website used to have a whole gallery of machines at really great prices.  The only issue was dealing with a machine attached to a large pallet, and having to invest a few hours in final assembly.  The local dealers do earn their money, as completing the machines to be operational is no small job.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:46:10 PM EST
Zero turn and not a John Deere . Don't believe the crap about the dealers being better than the box stores. Mine was improperly assembled by the dealer and I ended up fixing it myself as they could not figure out what was wrong.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:47:11 PM EST
I'm looking at the arien ikon 52 myself.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:55:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 3:59:57 PM EST by mousehunter]
I am betting on commercial zero turn, as I don't think underslung mowers are common on small (not garden) tractors anymore.  Second vote is for goats.

i have a zero turn, it really sucks when the ground gets rough.  I assume commercial models have suspension 
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:57:29 PM EST
Zero turn if you want to have some fun.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 4:03:33 PM EST
PeteyPete, I posted this in the other thread, but it is a great article to review before you choose....
Best ZTR's - How to choose
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 4:05:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 4:12:00 PM EST by Hedonist]
Hey, also I saved on sales tax too when I bought my Toro ZX online from Speedway Sales in Wisconsin.

But I'm not sure they're in business doing this anymore, I called the number and got their voicemail system but no one was available to take a call, I left a message that their website was down in case they didn't know and are still in business.

But, between a great price, free shipping, and no sales tax - I would deal with them again If I needed a machine and they were still in business.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 4:08:47 PM EST
My acre takes me about 3 hours per week on my Home Depot Cub tractor. That is if everything functions properly. I bought the mower new when we bought the house about 8 years back. The piece of crap has nickel and dimed me to death and driven me nuts. 3 years ago I was out of town on business and the wife blew the engine. We were struggling financially, so her dad decided to be nice and spent 700 bucks on a new Briggs and Stratton and installed it. The problem is, the deck is beat to crap, it doesn't mow evenly and spending 700 bucks to fix a $1500 mower that is already falling apart is just silly. And now I'm stuck driving this thing into the ground to avoid seeming ungrateful.

Anyway, go to a commercial dealer and get as much zero turn as you can afford and make sure to maintain it.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 4:11:51 PM EST
I mow about 2 acres. With regular rider I could mow it in 3.5 hours, I have lots of trees. Got a zero turn had a bigger deck but I can while through it in little under 2 hours.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 4:19:15 PM EST
ZTR is like flying a ground helicopter.  But like a helicopter it needs to be of a high grade and maintainable.

You just can't get these better quality machines at Home Depot or Lowes.  Either buy online and do the final setup or pay a local dealer.  Used is an option too.  I bought a used Grasshopper that lasted me several years before giving it away.  The maintenance just got too high, but that mother fucker would take small trees down - it was a freaking tank.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:19:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 5:20:00 PM EST by Admiral_Crunch]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By whiskerz:
Zero turn and not a John Deere . Don't believe the crap about the dealers being better than the box stores. Mine was improperly assembled by the dealer and I ended up fixing it myself as they could not figure out what was wrong.
View Quote
Not all dealers are equal.  Definitely some crap ones out there.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:25:40 PM EST
I mow about 2 acres with a 50 in. Cub Cadet Tractor.

Awful damn hard to have a cool beverage in your hand with a zero turn.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:30:18 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RIO-lover:
I mowed 6 acres that had a lot of trees to go around (15 - 20) and it took 45 minutes with my 50" cut 20HP Dixie Chopper, that time included checking oil and topping off the gasoline. Or you could spend 4 hours + with a "lawn tractor"



View Quote
Or you could just drive in a circle around the trees a couple of time and call it good and move on.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:32:34 PM EST
Zero turn 100%

Yes, commercial is obviously better, but not a necessity. They make residential ones for a reason. If your property is smooth, not rocky, and generally easy on mowers, you will be just fine with a good quality twin hydro residential ZTR.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:51:38 PM EST
I mow 2 acres with a 60" zero turn. I opted for a Cub Cadet with a steering wheel that is directly tied to the front castors vs. a traditional skid steer design since I have some slope on my yard and I can more effectively counter steer into the slope with the wheel. It also is a bit easier when towing small yard implements, like a fertilizer spreader, sprayer, aerator, roller, wagon, etc.

It isn't rated to tow or haul a lot, but does all the basic yard patience things I need. Two things to think about.

1) Bigger deck = less mowing time of course, but also makes getting around tighter spaces for trimming a little harder at times.
2) If your deck is significantly wider than the wheel track width, be sure you are ok not mowing "wheel to wheel" like you might with a push mower. The first few times I mowed I found myself subconsciously lining up on the last rows wheel line and realized I wasn't fully utilizing about 12" of available mower deck width that way. When I had a smaller yard and push-mowed I needed to more or less go in the previous wheel mark to get good overlap and not leave a little row of grass sticking up.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:54:02 PM EST
I mow 4.5 acres with a JD Z425 , 54 inch deck bought it new in 2013
have 320 hrs on it now with zero problems ,

TS2
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 6:01:55 PM EST
John Deere X300 does fine for me. Zero turn would probably save you some time though.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 6:09:27 PM EST
Dealer nearby that sells Gravely, Scag, Ferris, Grass Hopper, Dixie Chopper, Hustler, Bad Boy. At a minimum with 2800 series hydros, but 3100 series minimum would be better . I like the Kawasaki engine options. Most of the manufacturer I listed use the same bank for 0% if you need it.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 6:22:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2017 6:39:14 PM EST by Hedonist]
The deck tells you a lot about the future.

It can't just be thin metal somewhat thicker than a truck quarter panel.  It has to be heavy, and on the side opposite of the discharge it should have a heavy plate welded - so if you use like I do to run rubbing against the sidewalk, it doesn't eventually rub through the mower deck, or just bend into spinning blades.  That's the punishment side that bangs into and rubs trees as you spin in circles, etc...  You gotta ask yourself, if I whacked that side with a 5lb hammer - would it dent - or laugh?

The engine and everything else is important, but if you could pickup the deck by yourself it's too cheap and probably too narrow.

The machine should be sturdy enough to outlast even a tough deck.  Consider ordering a complete deck and replacing when the original gets beat, then scavenge the original for parts. It's not cheap but overall it's cost effective.

A good air compressor and air wrench make blade changes like a pit stop - providing the parts are ready.  Never lose your special blade nut socket - keep it with your spares inventory and resist lending it to your kids.  Label it with permanent marker or paint for easy identification.  Hide it if you have to.

Always have extra blades, order them every season in quantity of 10 or more.  Add blade washers, extra nuts, a spare spindle, extra set of belts, cotter pins, and OEM paint.

Keep that machine in good shape, and it will be good to you.  Be ready for bad things to find your blades and screw with the spindles.  Have inventory, don't put yourself in the position to have to get or wait for parts.  Thats like work.

Do a pre-mow check list like it was an airplane - moving a downed mower to a garage is not easy, and you don't want to be carrying tools to it on the back 5 acres.

Also look into mower jacks for raising the front securely so you can change blades easily.  About $125, it is a fine investment.

Link Posted: 8/22/2017 6:55:39 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By philc1:
I mow about 2 acres with a 50 in. Cub Cadet Tractor.

Awful damn hard to have a cool beverage in your hand with a zero turn.
View Quote
Not mine !! I have a 60" Country Clipper Edge XLT and is a single joystick. 24 hp Kawasaki, pivoting front axle and a manufactured deck with excellent bullnose and anti-scalp rollers. Does a great job on my hilly, rough-ass 5.5 acres. I will change rear tires to some atv type knobbies when these turfs wear down a little more for better traction on the hills and when a little wet with dew. Stand up deck too for cleaning, blade service. $5300 3 years ago.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 9:35:41 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 22skip:


Not mine !! I have a 60" Country Clipper Edge XLT and is a single joystick. 24 hp Kawasaki, pivoting front axle and a manufactured deck with excellent bullnose and anti-scalp rollers. Does a great job on my hilly, rough-ass 5.5 acres. I will change rear tires to some atv type knobbies when these turfs wear down a little more for better traction on the hills and when a little wet with dew. Stand up deck too for cleaning, blade service. $5300 3 years ago.
View Quote
They intrigue me.  Only one dealer within 100 miles, and he's 40 miles away, unfortunately.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 9:57:19 PM EST
We have almost 2.5 acres as well. I had been using a 90's MTD riding mower and I'd kept it going all these years, but there were so many things breaking down on it at once this year and it was taking 4-6 hours (or more at the end) to do the lawn so we decided to bite the bullet too.

We decided on Husqvarna in the $2000 range. We found the max deck width we could get at stores for that price was about 48-50". Then we found mowersdirect.com and got up to 54" for the same price (it was on sale at the time for just under $2K). We went for it and I love it! Here's the link to what we got: https://www.mowersdirect.com/Husqvarna-960-43-01-88-Lawn-Mower/p12257.html

Even though it's not a zero turn, I'm amazed at the turn radius it's capable of. I can still turn tight corners around trees and now we can get the whole yard done in 2 hours. I'm still geeking out on it coming from a much less powerful and much wider turn piece of machinery my older mower was.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 6:57:03 AM EST
Garden tractor with a belly motor w/ a FEL. You'll use that FEL for everything.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 7:08:52 AM EST
4.5 acres here.

I love my Kubota Z725
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