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View Full Version : New to acreage (need mower and advice)


SS_Fan
08-09-2006, 09:21 AM
Hello I have been browsing the forum for the last few days. I just purchased a home and need to mow about 2 acres. It's mostly flat and has just a few trees. I was all set to buy an Ariens HVZ from a local dealer when I decided to stop in at a closer hardware store. The carry Dixon products. To me the Dixon 50 looks a lot stouter then the Ariens model. The Dixon is more expensive but it looks like it was built to last. The Dixon has the 25 hp B&S and the Ariens has the 23 hp Kohler. Even the Ariens 2548 didn't look as nice as the Dixon unit. I have a Toro push mower with a B&S and that has never given me any problems and starts on the first try. I've read people say don't buy Dixon but no one has any good reason why not to (other then the buy out) . I had a guy cut the grass and he wants to sell me some 72" commerical unit. I don't know how much or what it is but he says he has to fix a few things so I think I may stay clear of that. Plus it would mean losing a parking space in the garage probably. Also the hardware person with the Dixon products was much friendlier and more customer service oriented then the other one.

The other thing is I don't know anything about taking care of grass. I lived in Arizona for a long time and never has much grass to take care of. How high should the mower deck be when I cut? Do I need to worry about fertilizing or reseeding? Anything else I need to research or know about? Whatever the guy cut my grass with left nice stripes. This is all new to me so I'll soak up any advice.

Team-Green L&L
08-09-2006, 10:41 AM
With 2 acres, I would look at something with 27 hp or bigger (60" deck). Set the deck at 3-3 1/2 inches in spring and fall and 3" in the summer. 4-5 fertilizer treatments will lush up your lawn and keep the weeds at bay.

You sound like the perfect candidate to have someone do it for you for a little while. A good lawn isn't as easy to get as you may think. That's why we charge what we do.

Lumberjack
08-09-2006, 02:15 PM
Since your not a commercial cutter the Ariens would give you good service. Also consider how many obstacles you have to deal with in the yard, if there are a lot of them them a smaller more manuverable mower may be best But if you have a wide open yard the larger decks will get you done a bit faster. Be careful not to overspend since you will be putting only about 50 hours a year useage on it.

Cutting height depends on the grass type but most of the northern grasses are reccomended to be cut at 2.5".

If your not bagging cut your fertiliser in half. Also consider overseeding lightly every year depending on the type of grass you have. I usually weed and feed in the spring and seed in the fall since they cant be done together.

SS_Fan
08-09-2006, 04:54 PM
Thanks for the replies so far. I would like to do the lawn myself and since it was $60 to cut one time by the time the month is over that would be more then a single payment on a ztr mower. Most of my lawn is wide open but I can't go too wide on a mower deck because I have some trees near my gravel drive and there is about 5 foot of grass between the trees and the gravel driveway. One thing I noticed about the Ariens HVZ is that the web site did not list any accessories. Like a cart or a seeder. They do list accessories on the Ariens 2352 and 2348. Of course the Dixon 50 (residential series) has accessories listed. When is the best time to seed. Does it depend on the temperature or anything else? I'm pretty sure I have Kentucky blue grass.

jeffinsgf
08-09-2006, 07:38 PM
Let me give you an "outside the box" idea. I know that ZTR's are all the rage, but with a property your size, mowing is not all you're going to need a machine for. If I were you I would look at a John Deere or Kubota Subcompact Utility Tractor. In green, I would look at the Model 2305. The mid mount mower on the 2305 delivers an outstanding cut. Plus you will have a machine capable of doing the aerating, overseeding, and fertilizing you need in the yard. It can carry the mulch to your beds, or the topsoil if you don't have the beds yet. And maybe most important where you are, it can plow or blow the snow this winter. It is a lot more money than the mowers you were looking at, but it is a very versatile machine.

lawnmaniac883
08-09-2006, 10:38 PM
If I were you I would look into the used 72'' Commercial ZTR. What brand/engine/deck is it? How many hours? Right now you are probably looking at what a 4500-6000 dollar investment? Why buy a new piece when you could get bigger and better used? The larger deck size will allow you to be done in minimal time which results in less hours/fuel/overall wear on the machine. Choice is yours but the 72 gets my vote unless it has 2500 hours and is rusting.

lawn
08-10-2006, 12:14 AM
This will sound selfish but why do you guys give "free" advice to this homeowners?????????????? I do not understand.
If this guy has such a big property, then he has the money to afford a landscaper don't you think?
If he wants to do his own lawn care then have him to his own homework, it is very easy to come here and ask for help.
Cheap people....:nono:

stryper
08-10-2006, 12:46 AM
This will sound selfish but why do you guys give "free" advice to this homeowners?????????????? I do not understand.
If this guy has such a big property, then he has the money to afford a landscaper don't you think?
If he wants to do his own lawn care then have him to his own homework, it is very easy to come here and ask for help.
Cheap people....:nono: Uh...because this is the "Homeowner Assistance Forum". No one here is trying to take money out of your pocket.:)

SS_Fan
08-10-2006, 08:21 AM
jeffingsgf, thanks for the advice. Actually this area does not receive much snow. Maybe only two times will it stick and it usuall only lasts for a day or two.

lawnmaniac883, I don't know the specs on the commercial mower yet. The guy that has it hasn't returned my calls. I'll post once I have them so I don't look at it blindly.

I appreciate the posts guys. I am a do-it-yourselfer. I get more satisfaction after things get done then handing over a check.

Lawn, sorry you feel that way. Just because you have a lot that is larger then a "city" lot doesn't mean you have a big bank account. I live in a rural setting. Everyone has a large lot.

TAZ
08-10-2006, 09:05 AM
I agree totally with the first responce on hight of cut. If you want stripes and a thick lawn you will need regular fert apps. Use a quality fertalizer like Lesco (look on their web page for a local outlet). They also can provide good advice on taking care of your turf as far as weed control, fertilization and any other problems that you might encounter. Being local they will have expertice on your particular style of turf.

As for the mowers, I personally would optto spend a little more for a hustler, Exmark or Scag. Reason being is that you are making an investment. Full blown comercial equipment will last a home owner a life time. All the brands mentioned will always have parts available. With the comercial stuff if you ever want to get rid of it and get something else the resale is higher and start-up comercial guys will snag up homeowner used equipment. Try trading/selling a lawn tractor or the lesser brand Z's. They don't sell for much and try trading one in.

Just my 2 cents.

-TAZ

TAZ
08-10-2006, 09:07 AM
This will sound selfish but why do you guys give "free" advice to this homeowners?????????????? I do not understand.
If this guy has such a big property, then he has the money to afford a landscaper don't you think?
If he wants to do his own lawn care then have him to his own homework, it is very easy to come here and ask for help.
Cheap people....:nono:

nice responce........... :hammerhead:

-TAZ

nmurph
08-10-2006, 09:35 AM
This will sound selfish but why do you guys give "free" advice to this homeowners?????????????? I do not understand.
If this guy has such a big property, then he has the money to afford a landscaper don't you think?
If he wants to do his own lawn care then have him to his own homework, it is very easy to come here and ask for help.
Cheap people....:nono:

lawn, take you pompous sense of self-importance elsewhere. if your advice is sooooooo valuable, why don't you start you own "paid" site. there you will be free to dispense advice for a fee. i am sure you will soon be a millionaire.

as for the rest of you "big dummies" who so freely share you experience, thanks! i can't express how much i appreciate what you guys have taught me. the information shared with other homeowners, and fellow lco's is priceless. it doesn't cost a dime. what a bargain. on Lawnsite, not only have i learned about lawns, i have learned a few lessons on life. it is great when you can get the experience w/o getting the bumps that usually comes with the knowledge.

as a farm-raised homeowner, i like to do things myself. it's just that sometimes i need a little information on how to begin or where to go when a problem arises. there is almost no subject that hasn't been touched on here on Lawnsite. some of them were better left alone, but most people here are trying to save someone else a little grief and money.

Lawn, back to you, there is a sense of comradery here. we are a community where most of us want to help. so why don't sit on the sidelines and keep your selfish post bottled-up in you little fingers. the rest of us are here to share what we know.

TAZ
08-10-2006, 09:48 AM
Lawn from the nature of his post I am guessing is the type of guy that doesn't own any tools and has never gone to a mechanic for advice on how to fix his car, truck or mower. He's probably never gone to a lumber yard to buy supplies and ask for advice on how to best use it.

-TAZ

jeffinsgf
08-10-2006, 09:52 AM
jeffingsgf, thanks for the advice. Actually this area does not receive much snow. Maybe only two times will it stick and it usuall only lasts for a day or two.

I take it you are at the extreme southern end of the state.

Either that, or some real estate agent gave you a real "snow job". ;)

nmurph
08-10-2006, 09:57 AM
Lawn from the nature of his post I am guessing is the type of guy that doesn't own any tools and has never gone to a mechanic for advice on how to fix his car, truck or mower. He's probably never gone to a lumber yard to buy supplies and ask for advice on how to best use it.

-TAZ


yeah, or maybe it was a BobbyG troll. if so, he got me.....nahhhhhhh, bobby is definitely not one that wants to keep his advise to himself!!! where is BG, anyway?

nmurph
08-10-2006, 10:08 AM
ss, is there a Hustler dealer nearby? if so you might want to look at some yellow paint. i am very partial to Hustler. the fasttrak 20/52 would handle you 2ac weekly and last you for many, many years. if you had a few hundred more $, then you could go for a mini z, though to stay in that same price range you will go down in size and hp a little. what you gain is a commercial grade mower with a little higher speed.
i have made an offer on a house with a 2ac yard. if that deal goes through i will be looking for a Mini Z or maybe a Super Mini-Z 25/52 (13 mph, full commercial setup). that'erd git 'er done!
go to the Hustler forum and ask around.

SS_Fan
08-10-2006, 11:59 AM
I am in the extreme southern end of IN. I just got off the phone with the guy's wife and all she could tell me is that it is a 72" Dixie Chopper. Hopefully he'll call later so I can get more info.

lawn
08-10-2006, 09:04 PM
I do not care what you guys said. I think they should close this "homeowner assistance forum" that's it!:laugh: :headphones: :D :gunsfirin

nmurph
08-11-2006, 08:57 AM
if you dislike this forum so much, why don't you stay the hell out. if you don't click on the link it's like it never existed. it cost you nothing to enter except time, which apparently you have too much of, and it will cost you nothing to ignore it:walking: . go lurk somewhere else!:waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving: :waving:

Brendan Smith
08-11-2006, 11:36 AM
lawn, karma is coming for you BIG TIME

to the original poster - your state dept of agriculture can point you to your local extention office. the extention offices are there to help you and will test soil samples to tell you exactly what fert program you should be using.

as far as a mower, i would consider trying to find a demo hustler, jd, or even dixie chopper silver eagle. a front mount grasshopper isn't a bad idea either as there are many attachments available (snow thrower, sprayer, etc.)

tkcrabby
08-11-2006, 03:55 PM
Hi SS Fan,
Welcome to the board,,,,,,,,,, I have just a little over an acre and a half ,,,,,, I've owned this home for a little over eleven years now ,,,,, at first I had a CUB 2185 , 48" cut tractor type with a 19hp Kohler,,,, good machine BUT for the Electric PTO which has died twice so far, it only only had 200 hours on it when it died the second time,,,,,,, anyways, I put it to the side of the garage and got a Snapper rear engine 1642, that's 16hp Briggs twin and 42" cut,,,,,,,,,,,, it did ok but after a few years of using it on less than perfect and smooth ground with it's small wheels and tires well, it was about to shake apart, beginning to have broken welds and such.

My neighbor bought a Dixon Ram, 50" with a 25 hp Briggs, I used it twice and loved it,,,,,,,,,,,, I started lookin' around, first at all the cheapie ZTR's, like the ones at Lowe's, the Cubs, the Troy Built,,, 50" cut for $3000 or so,, I saw they weren't very well made and didn't want to turn around in a just a very few years 3-5 and have to do something else. I decided to check out the "better" ZTR's, like Scag, Ferris and eXmark,,,,,,,,,,,, I couldn't afford any of them in a 48-52" cut so, I started lookin' at the Hustler FasTrak 20 hp Kohler single with 52" cut and a Dixon Ram 50 MAG ,,,,,,,,,,,,, I needed up getting the Dixon,,,,,,,,,, for two reasons,,,,,,, The Dixon dealer was 12 miles from my house while the Hustler dealer was 40 miles from me,,,,,,,, AND I was able to get the Dixon Ram 50 MAG 50" w/20hp Kohler Command Pro twin for $4,000. I've mowed twice with it and love it,,,,,,, used to take 2 hours or more and so far it takes 1 hour to do my yard now,,,, and I've been told I'll get faster after I get used to it more............................

Pro-Scapes
08-11-2006, 05:15 PM
2 acres isnt all that much. We cut commercially with a 48 due to the uneven terrain and some tight areas we do. We can easily clear our 1.5 acres around our home in under an hour without racing.

For 2 acres and if your bank account aint over flowing I would either guy a lawn tractor or like a toro time cutter if you absolutly gotta have a ZTR. There isnt much use for you dropping 4-6k on a mower. As much as I like big mowers ( I have ridden 72" and also have a 12 ft mower for the tractor) it might just be over kill. Alot of the guys offering up advice dont own acreage.

In your situation I would look at the gravley@home mowers or a toro timecutter or even that new entry level toro thing I think its a z100. The hustler fastrak is also a nice little machine for the money. You wont be loading it on trailers or anything or running it 7-9 hours a day. The hustler is probably the best built out of all of the ones i listed.

I cant beilive you guys are saying get a 72 with 2 acres. A novice on a 72 is a bad idea. Gonna be running things down lol. 2 wide open acres is an hour tops once you get faster.

TAZ
08-11-2006, 07:48 PM
2 acres isnt all that much.
no agument there...


There isnt much use for you dropping 4-6k on a mower.
Depends on how you look at it investment wise. A mid-range lawn tractor has about as much trade-in resale value as a sack of potatoes while a comercial mower (quality one) will still be worth a good bit of money years down the road if taken care of. Residentialyit will have low hours on it.

I cant beilive you guys are saying get a 72 with 2 acres. A novice on a 72 is a bad idea..
I strongly agree there. I never got into deck size in my posts but a 52" would be at home on that property. If the lot is only 2 acres there the differences for a homeowner ina 52 to 72 isn't that great but the expence, weight and agilty is.

-TAZ

lawnmaniac883
08-11-2006, 10:34 PM
Eeek, 2 acres? Must have misread that post and thought it said 20 acres :confused:

Taz you have a point there I guess I forgot that he hasnt got expirience on mowers that can pop wheelies :laughing:

Ever consider a walkbehind with a sulky? Commercial HYDRO units can be had for 4k IIRC that would be with ?52'' deck. Exmark has some really nice equipment in the walkbehind category if you want to head in that direction.

Cant really comment on the dixon or ariens as I havent used either but I do use a gravely 44z ariens owns gravely I believe but anyway yes and the 44z has definately performed so far (300 hours) Buy what you feel comfortable with.

As for Lawn, if you dont like our forum then get the hell out *******. Mods might need to ban this troll.

Pro-Scapes
08-12-2006, 11:38 AM
another thing I forgot to mention is 60 for 2 acres is a great price. We are usually around 45 to 50 per acre. Some yards that are 3/4 acre go for 80 just depends on trim work.

Your not going to need a huge mower for this. Chances are you wont sell it. Just run it til its dead (10 years or more if you maintain it even with a homeowner model)

DJL50
08-12-2006, 09:32 PM
I am a home owner with two acrs and just purchased the Toro Estate model. 19hp Kaw with 52" deck($5,699). The 52" deck size is perfect for what you need. You could also get by with the Toro Estate model with a 48" deck and I believe a 18hp Kohler for $4999. The Estate model is commercial built for the home owner. I looked at the Home Owners models like at Lowes or HP. My back field is very bumpy and know I would beat that thing to death in a year or two. The Toro Estate has a 7ga deck top and sides and cast iron spindles. I like it very much and very happy with it.
Before I had a WheelHorse Lawn tractor to mow it. I did for 20 years. The ZTR is the only way to go. I would have made a mistake to get another lawn tractor.

http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=60001&stc=1&d=1152590523

jkingrph
08-13-2006, 01:14 PM
I am homeowner with almost 2 acres, located about 6 miles out of small town.
Only in recent years have we been seeing lco's in our area. Just bought a 52" Scag wildcat after going through Craftsman, Cub cadet and John Deere lawn tractors. At what it would cost me to have the area mowed weekly and It's getting to the point where we mow a full 9 months of the year in East Texas, I can pay for a new mower of this grade in about 3 years, not counting maintance. I do a carry out a very good maintance schedule and seldom have any problems( except the Cub cadet which although was a high end machine, was a total piece of junk and gave constant problems, John Deere Lx277 is 7 years old and about 400 hours and has only had one small sealed bearing fail, still on original battery(use battery maintainer when unit is not in use)) Only bought Scag to reduce mowing time which it cut almost in half and to reduce ache in shoulders from turning stearing wheel. If all you are going to do is mow I recommend a ZTR, much faster and easier on the body on a larger yard!
Jeff

hmartin
08-13-2006, 03:54 PM
This will sound selfish but why do you guys give "free" advice to this homeowners?????????????? I do not understand.
If this guy has such a big property, then he has the money to afford a landscaper don't you think?
If he wants to do his own lawn care then have him to his own homework, it is very easy to come here and ask for help.
Cheap people....:nono:

Lawn, you suck.

You may have to be rich to own 2 acres in Boston, but I bet you don't in Lanesville with population 614 in year 2000.

SS_Fan
08-14-2006, 07:57 AM
I only have net access on weekdays. But I have been catching up with the posts and it's all good info. The guy with the 72" mower says he changed his mind but his brother has a 60" 3 wheel exmark for sale. His brother didn't mention a price but said he put in a new 23 hp kholer engine. I don't know if I like that style. I Have one small area that is a little sloped near a walk-out basement. Plus if he's had to replace the engine then what about the other parts of the mower? Pro-scapes, I hear what you're saying about buying a cheaper homeowner ZTR. I believe the Ariens are basically the Gravely homeowner mowers. I'll check around for a Toro dealer but the closes dealer of any sort is the Dixon dealer. That's about 8 miles. Thanks guys.

SS_Fan
08-14-2006, 09:51 AM
I just found a dealer about 4 miles up the road and he has a Hustler Fastrak 52" for $3990 (20 hp kholer, single cyl.) or $4400 (20 hp Honda, V-twin). I see the Fastrak mention often here.

tkcrabby
08-14-2006, 03:27 PM
Those are some great prices on Hustlers you're got there,,,,,,,, IF my Hustler dealer was closer to me than 35-40 miles I would very likely have ended up with one instead of the Dixon,,,,,,,,,,,,,, My Hustler dealer gave me a price of $4500 plus tax on the 20 hp Kohler single , 52" fasTrak , and $4,800 plus tax on the 20 ho Honda twin,,,,,,,,

cranesrule
08-14-2006, 11:41 PM
ss fan,
That is an excellent price on the Hustler. I have the 2052 Honda and love it. I paid 4657 + tax, and that was the best price I had heard of at that time. I have no personal experience with Dixon, but have not heard many positives at all. Conversely, look at the general comments made on these forums about Hustler. Truly impressive! When I had an issue with my unit's setup that needed to be addressed, the territory mgr for my area came to my house, picked up my machine, took it to be fixed and then delivered it back. The email assistance from the rep on their forum is second to none. Their warranty is the best in the business, hands down. Need I go on? Oh yeah, and the 20hp Honda is so quiet you can hear the blades WHOOSHING through the grass as it is cut while running wide open. Pretty awesome! Buy the Honda and get mowing!

SS_Fan
08-15-2006, 07:38 AM
I ended up buying the Fastrak. I was able to demo it and of course opted for the Honda. It should be delivered today. Just in time, I need to mow this evening. Thanks for all the input guys.

nmurph
08-15-2006, 09:16 AM
congratulations.......bet you can't wait to get home and mow. you will soon be wishing you had 20ac to cut.......nahhhhhhh. 2 sounds about right! welcome to the Hustler family!!!!!

TAZ
08-15-2006, 10:44 AM
I ended up buying the Fastrak. I was able to demo it and of course opted for the Honda. It should be delivered today. Just in time, I need to mow this evening. Thanks for all the input guys.

I think you will be very happy with that choice. It will take a few mowings to get used to it and be able to tap the full potential of the mower then you'll be ripping around the yard.

-TAZ

tkcrabby
08-15-2006, 03:47 PM
Yes sir, congrats on the new machine, have fun with your new ZTR!

Pro-Scapes
08-16-2006, 06:58 PM
good choice at a great price. Let us know what you think and keep score of how many times you tear the turf turning it :)

SS_Fan
08-17-2006, 07:42 AM
They delivered the Fastrak on Tuesday night. I played around the yard with it for a few minutes and then went to cutting. It was fun but will take some time to get use to. I learned that going down a slope can be tricky and cause sliding but over all I think I'll get the hang of it. My grass was fairly tall (it had been 7 days since the last cut) so I was spraying clippings out everywhere. I may look into getting a mulch kit. I talked with the guy that cut my lawn and he swears by Hustler. One of the neighbors came buy to check out the new mower. I had fun.

Pro-Scapes
08-17-2006, 09:09 AM
try going slower on slopes til your more experienced. the fastrak is a bit lighter and has smaller tires than most commercial units. Your going to sacrafice some traction but it should still be fine.