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View Full Version : Need Mower for 5 to 6 acres....prices arae scary!


Sonnie Parker
06-14-2002, 12:47 AM
Okay, this is my first post, as you can see. I scrolled through several pages to see if I could find my answer but struck out.

I did learn one thing though, good riding mowers are expensive.

I believe I have about 5-6 acres to cut (guessing). About 2/3 flat and the other 1/3 hilly, but not bad hilly. There's a little carpet bermuda in the front and back from sod. The bermuda in the back is fenced in and cut with a walk behind mower. The rest is bahia, coastal bermuda, centipede, and weeds, all mixed. This was cow pasture at one time.

For everything except the fenced in area I use a Craftsmen 42" with a Kohler 19hp twin. It takes me forever to cut it...maybe 6 hours (maybe I have more than 5-6 acres cause sometimes it seems like it's all day - then again, sometimes I cut a tad more than others). It's weird shaped as well. I cut it weekly for about 9 months out of the year.

I want to speed this up, so I visit Sears again. They have the Craftsman 25hp B&S 48" cut for $2199 after a mail in rebate. I was thinking this would allow me to go faster and cut a little more each round I made. Then again, it doesn't seem like it could speed it up that much. 6 more hp and 6 more inches???

I'm thinking I need 60" to get the job done. But I can't see spending $5000 or more. I can't hardly see spending $3000.

So, I thought about a pull behind mower. We have a Kawasaki Mule that could pull a mower. Or for that matter I could pull it with the Craftsman I have now. (I'd probably sell it though.)

Can I get some tips on what to do and possibly where to look for a pull behind???

Thanks!

kris
06-22-2002, 08:42 PM
How about this...

Buy either a used commercial mower or buy new ... you will have no problem re selling it. If you can't get a "Z" get a 52" with velke.

Brickman
06-23-2002, 04:06 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2034061544

The 62" is wide.

Sonnie Parker
06-23-2002, 07:16 PM
Thanks!

I finally made a purchase and ended up with a new commercial mower.

I posted a review on this thread:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=31024

kris
06-23-2002, 09:20 PM
Glad you like it... only suggestion now would be to get a mulch kit for it(if available)... once you see the results you will never look back.

Sonnie Parker
06-24-2002, 08:45 PM
I wonder if the mulch kit would allow me to take off the shoot cover (or whatever that thing is called where the grass comes out)???

Or would I rather it throw the grass after it mulches it?

kris
06-24-2002, 11:05 PM
No ...in order for the mulch kit to work the discharge "shoot" is covered with a plate. You won't be able to tell the differance with a mulch kit vrs bagging, unless you are mowing in wet conditions.
The benifits of mulching are enormous.

Sonnie Parker
06-25-2002, 01:32 AM
Yeah, that's what I need. Now the shoot has a cover but it not the sealed one, it just sticks out as normal. If I covered it up then maybe the dust wouldn't be quite so bad.


I didn't notice on Husqvarna site that they had a mulching kit. I'll check with my dealer tomorrow and see if they have one.

Is there a particular kit available that's better than another? I'm thinkin' it would just be blades and the shoot cover, right?

Thanks!

kris
06-25-2002, 11:42 PM
On exmarks it is much more than blades and the discharge cover..check out their website for a better explanation.
Good luck

Sonnie Parker
06-26-2002, 02:31 AM
Actually I spoke with the dealer today and you are right, there's more to it than just the cover and blades. I plan on getting the kit, I believe it will be a good idea.

Thanks!

Larry Davis
06-26-2002, 11:17 AM
Sonnie,

Some times I just do not understand people. Maybe you could clear me up a little on your ZTR buying decision.

Most non-commercial, homeowner types like you and I come to lawnsite.com to tap into the knowledge the commercial guys have taken many years to obtain. Anyone visiting lawnsite for the first time with an interest in commercial grade mowers can see in about 30 minutes of reading that these commercial guys buy eXmark, Toro, Dixie Chopper, Hustler, Walker, Gravely, and, when it comes to ZTR's the vast majority have eXmark, Toro and Dixie Chopper.

My question is ................ after you decided to spend the big bucks a commercial grade ZTR runs, how in the world did you come to the conclusion that a Husqvarna was the best machine to buy? Why are you willing to spend in excess of $6,000.00 on a machine that very few commercial companies use?

I think maybe you listened more to the dealer than to the people on here that use these machines more in a month than you will in a year.

Robert_in_NY
06-26-2002, 06:34 PM
Does it really make a difference if everyone else uses a different brand? He said he tried out this make and he like it and the dealer is across the street from him so if he likes the machine and he is the one that writes the check that is all that matters. For you to tell him that he didn't buy the right machine because very few other people on this board don't use it doesn't make sense. Plus as you say that the commercial mowers will use their mowers 12x more then he would so if that is the case if they get 3 years out of their mowers then he should get around 36 years out of his because he don't use it as much. Very few people use Grasshopper brand on this site but there are a few who swear by them so are you going to ask them what they were thinking when they bought also? You buy what you think is the best and so did he and that is all that matters.

Sonnie Parker
06-26-2002, 07:23 PM
Hi Larry and Robert,

As I stated in my review, the decision came down to the dealer, dealer location, price break, and the fact that I could not conclude that there was a great difference in the performance of all the mowers I considered. Heck, many of them look almost identical. I suspect these manufacturers study each others units too.

I came to the forum, and several others. thinking I needed a pull behind mower but quickly realized that I probably wasn't going to find one that would work. As I stated in a previous thread, I was astounded at the prices. BUT, I did learn that I was probably going to have to spend the money and buy a ZTR type mower to get what I wanted.


The Snapper/Toro dealer was 10 miles from me, not a big deal, but the prices were higher for the same hp and cut. I have to admit the Toro appeared to be a nice mower and it did fine cutting a small testing area of bahia grass. But again, the price was considerably more from that dealer.

One Exmark/Grasshopper dealer was 30 miles away and stated the Grasshopper was better on bahia grass but the Exmark would give a better manicured lawn, but that wasn't necessarily what I was looking for. What would a manicured bahia grass lawn look like. I'm not trying to impress anyone out here in the boondocks.....I just want my grass cut faster. Both very nice mowers but pricey.

Another Exmark/Husqvarna dealer was 45 miles away. I didn't go there but I talked with the dealer at length. They sell a lot of both and some of their commercial owners had both units. To date they had no complaints on either mower. They were pretty much equal and the dealer agreed. He did say that Exmark was better known but cost $1100 more on a 48" cut. He also stated that Kees was initially a copy of the Exmark until Exmark sued and won. Kees had to change up the mower a little but it was still almost the same mower. Yazoo/Kees was bought by Husqvarna for the sole reason to make ZT mowers. And if you look at both of them there ain't a whole lot a difference IMO.

The Bobcat dealer was 20 miles away but only had a couple of mowers on hand and not what I wanted. The mower looked very similar to several of the others.

I did speak with 2 commercial owners of the same unit I bought. They have been in the business for quite some time and cut a lot of bahia grass. (Bahia grass is probably the toughest grass to cut in my opinion.) They have owned several different brands of mowers and were very well pleased with the Husqvarna's.

Husqvarna is well known for a quality product in these parts. I don't believe they would offer a significantly inferior product.

There were no threads that I could find here that talked about the Husqvarna ZTH mowers, good or bad.

When I posted about the Husqvarna's none of the others that own any of the other brands spoke up, so I gathered not many had been tried. Which would make sense, since they are relatively new mowers. No one jumped in a said, "hey man, don't buy a Husqvarna, by this brand." Plus I can see how this forum can easily draw owners of brands that have manufacturing reps here. And I can see how this forum could easily influence someone to buy one of these brands. That's a no brainer as I am very familiar with forums. (Mostly an audio/video forum buff myself.) In no way do I presume though that these brands are in any way inferior.

So, all in all, I have not heard one negative remark about the Husqvarna's.

The Kawasaki engines seem to be favored by most all that own them so I felt I wouldn't be going wrong there.

My conclusion was that any of these would be a good ZT mower so save some money if possible.

If I do have a problem I can bring my ZT to work with me, drop it off at the dealer across the street, and not have to pull it 30-45 miles to have it worked on.

The dealer I purchased it from is not the one I ask a lot of questions. I do know they sell a lot of them because I stare at the units all day long out my office window. He stated take it home, try it out and if I didn't like it, bring it back. I just paid him yesterday (11 days after bringing it home).


Personally, I'm not trying to influence anyone to buy any particular brand. I have no advertising here and do not manufacture or sell mowers for a living. I simply shared my buying decision experience and first cutting experience FWIW.

If someone ask me what ZT to buy, I'd say check as many of them out as you can and buy the one that makes the most sense to buy.

I hope in the long run I made the right decision. Maybe I'm the ginny pig for Husqvarna here on this forum.

Hopefully I answered your question.

Btw, I really like this forum, it's very informative in the lawn care area.

kris
06-26-2002, 10:12 PM
Sonnie,

I have a feeling that you will like your new machine.

I personally have never demo'd one so I have know idea ..good or bad.

You seemed to have done your homework ...

We have exmarks based mostly on dealer support.( just like you )

Larry Davis
06-27-2002, 10:30 AM
Sonnie,

Robert is right. My message did sound pretty nasty. Sorry about that. Did not mean it to sound that way. I am like you, I don't have money to burn and 6 grand is a major, major expense for me. I just know that most of the commercial guys work extremely hard for their money and they really cannot afford to make too many mistakes when it comes to spending on their equipment. I truly hope the Husqvarna works out well for you. Would like to see posts from you 6 months and a year down the road to let us know how its holding up.

Good luck!

Sonnie Parker
06-27-2002, 06:35 PM
Thanks guys....

Larry, I took no offense as I should have done a better job of explaining my decision in my review. I tried to shorten it too much I suppose.


I'm a forum type a guy so I'll be around and I can assure you I will be honest in all respects. I have a link on my startpage to lawnsite.com
my startpage (http://www.snapbug.ws/start.htm) as well as my other favorite forums so I'll be checking in all along.

As I stated I have learned some things here and I'm sure I'll end up having some more questions down the line.


EDIT: Didn't even know the correct address for my startpage... Gee arn't I brilliant. It is now corrected.