Way OT-Thinking About a Zero Turn mlMower
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  1. #1
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    Default Way OT-Thinking About a Zero Turn mlMower

    I'll preface this by saying I hate mowing and lawn care in general.

    But about to start the next phase of cleaning up the farm which is another round of land clearing and dirt work.

    Once it's done, I'll have about 3-5 acres to keep mowed down around the shop and house. And it needs to look better than how I've been keeping the grass cut currently.

    Got plenty of tractors, but mowing around trees, close to the buildings and in tight areas isnt ideal. So thinking about a zero turn.

    How are these with fairly thick grass? Say about a 1' tall or more? The large machines have the same hp as the small tractor I'm currently mowing with.

    Conditions other than perfectly flat or perfectly dry?

    Currently I'm using my smallest tractor, a Case 430 with a 6' bushhog. And then using a Roof string mower and a FS311 trimmer around the buildings.

    It works, but very slow.

    Thinking about a new machine or very low hour model, something with a 72" deck. Like a Deere 970R, or something similar.

    Thoughts?

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    What little I know of those is they seem to be optimized for lawns. Flat smooth ground with a reel type of blades, lots of them. If the bigger ones are different than that I do not know, if able to do field work I would consider it. I had the same thought and they are somewhat common around here but keeping all those reels damage free from sticks and gopher mounds with rocks...... I think the HP is needed to drive hydraulic pump, which spins all the reels.

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    Glyphosphate with a 3' wide coverage nozzle.....so you don't have to
    stop when mowing with the 6' brush hog.

    "Trim" with chemicals.....

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    Why do you need that much land mowed? Can't you just have enough around the buildings to make it look nice and put the rest in natural materials, whatever natural is in your area? It silly to create an area that requires maintenance just for sake of appearances.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by alskdjfhg View Post
    I'll preface this by saying I hate mowing and lawn care in general.

    But about to start the next phase of cleaning up the farm which is another round of land clearing and dirt work.

    Once it's done, I'll have about 3-5 acres to keep mowed down around the shop and house. And it needs to look better than how I've been keeping the grass cut currently.

    Got plenty of tractors, but mowing around trees, close to the buildings and in tight areas isnt ideal. So thinking about a zero turn.

    How are these with fairly thick grass? Say about a 1' tall or more? The large machines have the same hp as the small tractor I'm currently mowing with.

    Conditions other than perfectly flat or perfectly dry?

    Currently I'm using my smallest tractor, a Case 430 with a 6' bushhog. And then using a Roof string mower and a FS311 trimmer around the buildings.

    It works, but very slow.

    Thinking about a new machine or very low hour model, something with a 72" deck. Like a Deere 970R, or something similar.

    Thoughts?
    How’s your back, the zero turn mowers suck if the ground has any kind of bumps!

    I had a John Deere commercial zero turn, could hardly walk after about two hours of mowing!

    I traded it in, had less than 200 hrs. on it and bought a Hustler front mount mower! Mowing is a lot easier now, it’s like driving a car on the lawn!

    I tried everything with the zero turn, air ride seat, played with tire pressures, nothing helped all that much!

    Kevin

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsg View Post
    How’s your back, the zero turn mowers suck if the ground has any kind of bumps!

    I had a John Deere commercial zero turn, could hardly walk after about two hours of mowing!

    ..................
    Wuss. I'm old with a messed up back and I'll be doing about 6 hours of mowing tomorrow on mine. Set about two inches of waffle packing foam on the seat and just get it done.

    OP - I've got a small commercial Gravely zero turn. Highest setting for my mower deck is 6". You can raise and lower the deck on mine as you mow which I will do when going from low grass areas to higher areas.

    One significant issue is that since the steering is only with hydraulics on the rear wheels, if you are mowing across the hill there is a point at which gravity is pulling the front end downwards with more force than the rear wheels can overcome. I went out and measured it just for grins once and I'm good up to about a 15 degree slope. If you have slopes more than that don't get a zero turn.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by alskdjfhg View Post
    Thoughts?
    Grass never learned to not grow back.

    Point two three acres. 40-50 tons of soil OUT. Fifty tons of various coloured gravels IN to expand places to park rollingstock, be able to unload or use a wheelchair ramp right close to the doorway, etc..

    Rupturewort, Veronica Repens, Irish Moss, Mother of Thyme, Microclover for starter cover. Multiflora roses (NOT a rose, actually, but looks like 'em), DeGroot's Spire Arbour Vitae, "Boulevard" Cypress -both genetically limited to about four-feet tall. English Ivy. etc.

    Google no-care lawns, adjust for your climate zone, soil and drought conditions.

    No more moving required.

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    Well since ediiting my own post still seems broken.

    Adding "I can mow grass a foot tall, just have to go slow to keep the engine happy".

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Well since ediiting my own post still seems broken.

    Adding "I can mow grass a foot tall, just have to go slow to keep the engine happy".

    Steve
    Before decoding to go with creeping ground covers here, (they don't need gravel, but will "colonize" it) I used a Cub Cadet "string trimmer mower". About as cheap and least-impressive among a large tribe.

    Still and all.. the taller the grass, the wetter the grass, the happier it was given it weeds=wacks it off just above ground-level and does neither mulching or bagging - just lays it down.

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    I Han near 40 acres until recently. As I cleaned up an old farm I accumulated about six acres of lawn. I had been using an old twelve hp tractor with a belly pan, which required a lot of time to mow the cleared area. I purchased a 25 or so hp zero turn mower with a 61 inch deck. It cut mowing time by a lot, and was comfortable for me to use. I wondered why I had waited so long to get something better. I had the mower delivered with an accessory sprung seat that I modified to a more raked back position to be more comfortable. I use the same mower now to cut grass on my one acre lot. It is way over kill for a one acre lawn, but was not worth much as a ten year old machine on the used market. It is rough riding over an area of the lawn that was rooted up by Florida wild hogs. One brand I looked at when making the purchase decision had a spring suspension and rode well over rough ground. I would recommend that you consider purchasing such a mower, and also recommend that you look at and ride the various brands available. When you get serious about a model, arrange to have the dealer provide you with a demonstration machine to evaluate on your property. Be careful in purchasing a used machine, as the many commercial lawn maintenance companies rack up a lot of hours on a mower in a short time.

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    I keep my 3 acres mowed...mostly with a Kubota tractor pulling a LandPride 72" finish mower.

    I also have a normal riding mower for tight areas.

    I also have a Honda self propelled push mower...I got it free and it's handy for small jobs and getting exercise. There's nowhere to ride on it.


    With the Kubota I can mow 72" wide x 6-8" tall grass. That's why it's my main gun.

    Neighbor next door has 3 acres also. Bought a fancy Zero Turn...I forgot which brand but a commercial level machine, not Home Depot. The problem is...I'd see him using it and it would cut grass fine, and fast. But his ass spent most of the time 4" off the seat. Very bouncy. He still has the mower..it sits in his garage. He hires a crew to mow now. That can't be cheap.

    If you already own a tractor, it's an easy choice to buy a pull-behind finish mower. Hell, I'll sell you my old Rhino FM72 cheap....

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    I've had a Deines zero turn for many years. Expensive!Best feature has to be the tilt up mower deck, so you can clean it out or service the blades in relative comfort. It will handle 6" grass, but may not mulch it smoothly if you let it get that long, I doubt any zero turn will handle foot high, as I think you need that much height under the deck so the grass can stand back up to get cut off.It is also nice to have the deck out in front as you can slide it under tree branches without getting speared. The caster wheels are kind of a jackass farmer fix and the kingpins stick up unnecessarily high. I've often thought of making a low rise caster with a single double row bearing at the pivot instead.The Deines doesn't have a quick adjust deck height without shutting down, and pulling 4 cotter pins. I don't think the newer models look much different that way than my 30 year old model. That is a minus.Yes, the ride is fairly bumpy, but the Deines is better than my Swisher which is shorter wheelbase. I don't think they can really spring the seat very much, because steering control depends on your hand and arm position, so a floating seat doesn't help when the levers are attached to the machine frame. It is hard enough to steer/maintain even speed along a straight line even on smooth ground.The hydrostatic motors get weak over time, and there isn't much that can be done with them except replace them.My Deines is also delicately balanced which makes riding headfirst down hill into a bucking bronco event if I'm not very careful with the speed levers or try to stop That is unnerving. It needs a big counterweight on the ass end, mine has a small weight but it needs maybe another 50 lbs. I generally just back down hills or go around and around on them.The drive belts have a tendency to come off and get jammed when disengaging the deck. But if I had gotten one with an electomagnetic clutch, I wouldn't be having that for an issue.The main belt on mine is a long A width serpentine arrangement. Needs replacement every couple of years. Have to remove a couple of dozen bolts and 3 covers to get at it to service or tighten it, kind of a PITA.Don't get a zero turn with the deck underneath you like Swisher. I have to park that in a ditch and jack up the front and lay on the ground to clean the deck (which is stupidly lacking in height so is always plugging up).If you mow wet, none of the zero turns work well at distributing the clippings. And more internal deck height is better as it takes longer to build up/plug up

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    Hey, where the hell did my formatting go? I never typed that as a wall of text

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    I have a Excell Hustler 60" zero turn. I cut 3.5 acres in an hour and a half. It is three times faster than the old riding tractors. Much better for trimming around trees. Get a rear discharge. I makes it easier to go in any direction. If the hill is too steep go up and down, instead of sideways.

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    sheep and a ha ha fence. The concept of mowed lawns are only a little more then 100 years old when lawn mower machines were invented. I suppose that makes lawn mowing a logical subject for a machinist to talk about.
    Bill D.

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    I mow 2.5 acres once weekly then 3 acres once a month. I have used a 44" Dixie Chopper (commercial zero turn) for several years now and can cut off 4-6" @ 6MPH. This sounds crazy but just hang on and go! The yard is a little rough but my weekly work only takes 2.5 hours if i dont goof around. there are about 30 trees then some other obstacles. Today I have my folks conventional 430 John Deere with a 72" deck and was troubleshooting a dying condition and I think the Dixie Chopper is capable of covering the same ground 1/3 faster and does a far better job. Additionally, I didnt think the heavy John Deere rode any better.

    If you have good motor skills and a comfortable seat then leave the tires deflated enough to absorb some shock, the "zero turn" is the way to go. Stay away from the consumer grade machines as you'll find everything is a little lighter and the faster speeds on rough ground will destroy them.

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    We are sure happy with our 725 Grasshopper, its one tough machine.

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    It's ready to go, just bolt the mower attachment on the front -


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    Sheep? …..or goats they're better at looking after themselves.

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    Years ago before the zero turns became popular, I saw a local landscaper
    running a "Hustler" brand.

    No need to go so fast, it had a 6' deck up front and a 3' deck that swung
    down on each side.

    12' wide, full zero turn.

    I see they don't make it anymore.....


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