View Full Version : mowing 17 acres hills & trees

04-22-2009, 08:37 PM
I'm looking for some advice: I am completing mulching of small trees and underbrush with a bushhog on 17 acres of sloping land. Grass is beginning to grow and I need to figure out the best way to mow.

The sloped creek beds want a tractor for stability, the numerous trees want a zero turn for maneuvering. The amount of land wants a fast machine. My wife would prefer a wheel rather than levers.

What are my best options in your opinion? Cub Cadet makes a zero turn tractor (the best of both worlds?). Is this worth considering? All your help is appreciated, I will hopefully be using this mower for a long time.

04-22-2009, 08:50 PM
If you have a large budget, cub cadet makes a zero turn mower that has a steering wheel instead of the levers. It is not the tractor, but a ztr with a steering wheel. It is a little pricy but has the same manuverability. For the amount of area you will have to mow, a residential tractor like you mentioned, will not last long at all.

04-23-2009, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the response: I'm understanding that you recommend a commercial mower for the acreage. That means the Cub you mentioned is Tank series s-6031 (msrp 14K) not the fmz50 (msrp 5k). You weren't kidding when you said "large budget". At that point wouldn't I would consider other ZTR's such as Scag, Hustler, etc? The sloped land is my biggest concern. I could put a finish mower on my tractor, but I'm looking for speed and maneuverability.
Thanks again for your input.

04-23-2009, 03:29 PM
Take a good look at some diesel powered compact utility tractors by Deere or Kubota, 4-wheel drive is also VERY helpfull when using large 3-pt attachements such as a flail mower when on hills.

04-23-2009, 06:23 PM
Thanks, hadn't thought about a flail mower. It might be the right next step after bush hogging, before ZTR. I thought ZTR so that I could get some help from the wife. The mowing machine I visualized would be her "tractor".
Thanks for the help.

05-05-2009, 02:06 AM
twinsprings, how often will you be mowing that acerage? I'm thinking you're looking more at keeping brush knocked back than maintaining 17 acres of "yard"? I'm in a similar situation, I have 20 acres, I'm planning on buying a flail mower to clear and maintain it, already have the tractor (Kubota L3240). My ground is uneven enough, with enough brush, stumps and rocks, that I think a lawn type mower would be torn up pretty quickly.


05-05-2009, 10:21 AM
you're right, it's not 17 acres of yard, but maintaining some grass, fallen branches, pine straw, vines, etc maybe once or twice a month.
I'm still using the bush hog, but am thinking there's a faster way once it's more under control with more grass. I don't have rock, but do have plenty of flush cut stumps.
A commercial ZTR sounds good for speed, but will lack the stability of a tractor and 3 point mower. Also the 3 point works great for backing into the trees and down the slopes for all the "dead end spots"
Good luck and let me know if you find any answers.

05-05-2009, 10:46 AM
Have you checked out companies like Ventrac or Steiner? They make small, articulating 4wd tractors with alot of different attachments, including front mounted mower decks. You might also consider a front mounted deck-rear steer 4wd machine, like a Kubota, John Deere, Toro or another brand Wide area mower.

05-05-2009, 01:05 PM
It may help to start with what you have today. Tractor size and horsepower, if you don't have a budget limitation, time limitation(how long it takes) you will get plenty of ideas on how to spend your money:)

05-05-2009, 08:30 PM
Great help.
The articulating mower seems like a good solution for stability on the hills.
The Ventrac looks good, but the Lastec with articulating deck looks awesome.
Does anyone have experience with this machine?

David Haggerty
05-05-2009, 09:03 PM
The zero turn tractor steers with the drive wheels like a ZTR, the front wheels are just castors. So it'll give no more stability or traction than a ZTR.
Articulated mowers are worse on hills. They're for manuverability, not hills.
I have two front-deck-rear-wheel-steeer mowers. One's 4WD. It'll climb hills too steep to walk up. The 2WD has the same stability but not the traction.
My wife likes mowing with ours. She's only 5'2" tall. They have suspension seat, power steering easy to operate. The front deck trims really well too.
They have 72" decks and are durable but leave a nice cut. I'd recommend one, but only with the side discharge deck.
They're pricy new, but you can find them used, or like Razorblades suggested Kubota and JD makes one too. Toro is the best of them.

05-05-2009, 09:37 PM
I have 45 acr. of hills flat land un name we have to cut week, it's a couple of million dollars homes on 300 ft hills . purchasd for this account last year a 260 gravely 60 inch with a 31 kawi, and a walker super bee. we run these two and another2 older Walkers with
6 total crew members if all goes well were done with everything in about 9 hours. Not too crazy about super bee but the gravely is a cutting machine

05-06-2009, 10:39 AM
Great help.
The articulating mower seems like a good solution for stability on the hills.
The Ventrac looks good, but the Lastec with articulating deck looks awesome.
Does anyone have experience with this machine?

I have a Lastec 3261" articulating mower. I am very satisfied with it. I don't mow any areas with big slopes so I can't say how well they would hold a hill compared to nonarticulating mid mount zero turn mowers. I do mow a few steep, ditches and road banks that are about 5-6 ft high and the Lastec will hold them without sliding when mowing parallel with the highway. The lastec would give you the best of both worlds on the contoured areas, as long as the slopes aren't too severe for a Midmount zero turn to safely operate on. If you had the 73" deck model Lastec, you would have the benefit of the cutting speed of a Zero Turn but have the accuracy (cutting wise) of three 25" push mowers cutting togrether, as far as scalping and planing goes. As far as the ventrac and steiner type machines go, I see no reason why they wouldn't be as capable on slopes as the 4wd rear steer front mount mowers. I don't think that there would be much difference in the operating speed of either one, but I am just speculating on that.

05-06-2009, 11:06 AM
I forgot to mention another brand of articulated steering tractor option with all of the available attachments. It is called Power Trac, they are similar to Ventrac or Steiner.

05-06-2009, 01:46 PM
the other brands, ventrac, powertrac and steiner may be better options as i don't have a lastec dealer in texas (or anywhere close). Do the other manufacturers have an articulating mower deck or is it just the tractor? Is the articulating mower deck available as a 3 point attachment?

05-06-2009, 02:22 PM
On the other brands, just the tractor articulates. They all offer a front deck but they are a one piece design. Lastec does make front mount articulating decks and 3 pt pull behind articulating decks. Visit their website and it will show them. There are some Lastec decks listed on Ebay right now if you want to check them out.

David Haggerty
05-06-2009, 05:18 PM
Great help.
The articulating mower seems like a good solution for stability on the hills.

Husquvarna quit importing their articulating mower because they were killing too many people.
An articulating deck is not the same as an articulating mower. An articulating mower bends in the middle to steer. If you're on a hill and steer the wrong direction they roll over.
I have an articulating deck on my Toro 455 mower. Articulating decks are great. The traction unit that powers it is full time 4WD. Not really a go anywhere mower though 'cause the deck is so huge compared to the traction unit. It'd be too pricy for most people anyway.

Most ZTR's are rated for slopes in the 25 degree range, a 4 wheel mower maybe up to 35 degrees, a 4WD maybe a little over 40 degrees. After that, you'd need a decicated hillside mower like Hustler's hillsider, Kut-Kwick's hillside mower or something similar.

I know you're just looking, but look at the slope the machine's rated for.

05-07-2009, 03:39 PM
What I need is an articulating deck. I would like a smaller deck to fit between trees (60"-66"). I will not need a dedicated slope machine as I can always mow perpendicular to the steeper slopes at the ravines, most of the land is lower slopes and rolling terrain.

I did enjoy looking at the more serious slope mowers: Hustler Hillside, Kut Kwick and AEBI TerraTrac-----AWESOME

David Haggerty
05-07-2009, 07:17 PM

At the bottom of the pqge is Toro's 72" flex deck for this machine. I'm not familiar with the deck. But I am familiar with the machine. I've had at least one of these mowers for the last 20 years. Easy to operate and durable. Good on hills. If they're too rich for you, find a good used one. They're everywhere.
It'd be a bit of a stretch to mow 17 acres with one, but it'd do it, but it would take all day. They'll cover some pretty rough ground at 5 mph. My son uses one to trim for me. He runs it flat out, 9.5 mph all day every day. Or at least till we're done.