Best mower for bahia grass?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lee b, Jan 7, 2001.

  1. lee b

    lee b LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,582

    I only mow large industrial properties. The worst problem; other than incredible amounts of trash, is bahia grass. No one I mow for are conerned that much with the quality of cut; but I want to do the best job possible. And to cut it decently means slowing down and losing productivity. I'm using a John Deere tractor type mower right now [please don't laugh, I'm an ex-farmer and it just seemed natural]. I'm looking at a Lazer, will it or any other mower handle bahia grass better? Thanks.....
  2. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    The Lazer does a pretty good job in bahia. Don't overlook the Dixie Chopper for raw speed. Generally Bahia areas are not all that thick and "sandblasting" the deck can be a problem. Go with a mower with a nice thick deck.
  3. Hardy Enterprises

    Hardy Enterprises LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116


    I have a Lazer and I have plenty of bahia grass. The Lazer does a good job, but the best thing I have found for large wide open industrial properties is a 15ft batwing bushhogg with sharp blades. If you keep the blades sharp it will handle large open field of bahia grass just as good as any mower. Around here most idustries have large sites to allow for future expansion. Usually I will mow the front visible office area with the Lazer and the large open areas with the batwing. Most of these industries don't really care about these outskirt area they just want it cut cheap. They almost always bid these types of jobs out and when the guy bidding against me is planning a using a 5 lawn mower he hasn't got a chance at beating my price. The only problem is you need quite a few large jobs to justify the cost such large equipment. I addition to the batwing you need a large tractor, a large trailer, and at least a one ton truck to haul it.

  4. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I was told once by a dealer----after I bought my first mower-----that the longer the blade the better it would cut bahai. I have to agree with that theory now because the first mower was a 48" and didn't cut it worth a crap, the last mower was 72" and it cuts it much better, not 100% all the time but darn close to it. Blade tip speed is also a factor you should consider, the more times the blade can hit it the better it's going to cut it. I also have a 50" with higher blade tip speed and it cuts better than the 48" with the slower speed. I'm sure deck construction plays a big role in this as well but I would still shoot for blade tip speed and the longest blade you can buy. It's a tough grass that doesn't like to be cut. I also try not to cut it when it's real dry since your really wasting your time. I wish some of the yankees on the forum would come down and give it a try!!!!!!!!! When it starts growing again I'll take a picture of it so they can see what we're up against.
  5. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Homer, you said it! Bahia does not cut well at all! I just try to go slow enough to get a decent cut. I've learned the sharper your blades the better. It also seems to help if I cut it at 3" instead of my usual cutting height of 3 1/2. St. Augusine, a different story.
  6. Hardy Enterprises

    Hardy Enterprises LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116

    I agree with Homer. The wider the cutting deck, thus longer blades, will definitely cut bahia grass better. My Lazer is a 72" deck and it does a great job. I also have a 48" walkbehind that will not cut it at all, unless you want to triple and quad cut the grass. Also along the lines of blade speed, If you compare a 60" and 72" deck turning at the same rpm's the 72" will have a faster blade tip speed. I also feel like the deep welded deck stands the stems back up for cutting better than the shallow stamped decks.

  7. lee b

    lee b LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,582

    I appreciate ya'lls opinions. I cut these properties every other week, which means the bahia grass is full grown by cutting time; and where I have bahia thats all there is and thick. So I'm wondering how much horsepower do I need for a 72" deck. And for our yankee friends; be glad,be very glad you don't have bahia to contend with, it's every mowers worst nightmare.
  8. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    Lee, you said you have a JD tractor. Which one are you using? Have you tried double blades on it? My JD will cut much better with double blades on it than single. If you have the one that has a chamfer sticking down from the hub the thickness of a blade, use the JD blade with the half inch hole on that and then use a blade with a 5/8 hole on the bottom. This is how I do it on my 430 JD. I hope this helps.

  9. Hardy Enterprises

    Hardy Enterprises LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116


    I have a Kohler 26hp efi on my Lazer and it has plenty of power


    BUSHMASTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 519

    Hustler,,exmark lazer, Toro z master Dixie choper,Bobcat,Bunton,(not in any order)
    take your pick, demo them all. Each has its own unique features,get the widest cut that you can handle to get the most productivity 72" or smaller,get the largest engine possibile. the water cooled gas and or deisel get longer life, more power per avgerage than air cooled can't go wrong if you travel this path ,plus look whats in your area,are you stuck to one dealer,whats popular in your area its got to one at least one of the above. just my thoughts.

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