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Help! Which Zero Turn? (If any!)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Laclu007, May 3, 2005.

  1. Laclu007

    Laclu007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I'm new here, and am enjoying the threads and information. Great site!

    Ok, here goes, I'm looking to purchase a lawn mowing machine. I'm pretty sure I want to go with a zero turn machine, not a lawn/garden/sub-compact tractor. (but my mind is available for change!). I read many discussions, but feel that I still can't determine which is the best for my situation. Hopefully this thread can answer some of the questions for me, and anyone else out there in a similar situation, or for commercial guys looking at similar properties.

    Some Details:
    1) 1.89 Acres, approx 1.25 acres of grass when the landscaping is done.
    2) Riverbank with approx. 15 degree slope down to a flat area near the river.
    3) Slopes around/near the house.
    4) Planting/Tree Beds.
    5) Tree "islands".
    6) Obstacles to mow around such as play structures, patios, walkway.
    7) Tight areas (see pics).
    8) Curbs along the driveway.
    9) Ditches out front that I cut.
    10) I don't want to spend 8 hours/week mowing!

    The Hunt So Far:
    1) Deere guy has many options, mid,front,back, etc. etc.

    2) Kubota guy's stuff is very nice, diesel probably too expensive for me. Out front is not a zero turn tractor. I like the fact they are shaft drive, not belts. Does this really matter though?

    3) Grasshopper guy thinks that out-front is the only way to go on our property, and I won't be happy with a mid-mount, especially on the slopes. These things look to be built like a tank, are they too heavy?

    4) Walker guy thinks his machine has the best cut. I like the fact the machine is lighter, easier on the new sod, etc. He says that if I tell any other guys I'm looking at a Walker, they will give me their absolutely best price, just to try and compete. I'm really getting mixed signals on the Walker from reading threads here.

    5) Exmark guy has some nice machines. They seem a little pricy to me, but from threads here, they sound like good machines.

    6) Ferris/Simplicity guy feels that the suspension gives them the leg-up on the competition, and the machines are very reliable.

    7) Toro/Husqavarna guy gives me the impression he doesn't think I'm serious about looking at the machines. I guess he thinks the Toro's are too much machine for a home-owner?

    8) Going to look at Scag this weekend. Still want to look at Cub Cadet.

    1) The big question is Mid-Mount, or Front-Mount for the mowing deck? I haven't seen many conversations debating the merits of MM vs FM.

    2) How is the turf-tearing using these machines, especially for a newbie and/or amateur?

    3) Grass Pickup or Mulch? (Don't want side discharge)

    4) Should I consider a sub-compact or xSeries JD tractor?

    5) For a home-owner, are the Zero Turns really worth it? (dumb question?)

    All suggestions/thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated!

    See below for pics of the property. I added these to give a view of the slopes, obstacles, etc.

    Thanks. Brent.





  2. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    For homeowner use only and with those slopes if I were you I'd just go with a 100 Series John Deere Lawn Tractor. You can get one at Home Cheapo for around $1900 vs. $7500 for a ZTR. I have JD Commercial ZTR's and for your use that would be overkill.
  3. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    Go for a #3. Won't ever buy another mower!
  4. captken

    captken LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    look under "Lawn Maintence" call a professional and ask them to come by to give an estimate. Reach agreement, sign contract. Then you won't be in confusion on which "lawn mowing machine" you have to buy. :angel:

    BTW, I would ask for a bid to lay sod, or are you doing that yourself? :p
    Aint no grass!
  5. Laclu007

    Laclu007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    captken, the landscaper started late last fall, and hasn't finished yet. The riverbank is 37 pallets of sod (stacked about 5 feet high each). The rest of the sod and trees will be coming in a month or so.

    I have considered getting lawn maintenance quotes on doing the cutting, and will do that while I'm deciding on which direction to go in. What is a fair price for 1.25 acres, slope, etc. etc. One guy was supposed to come by, he has a Ferris 3000 and said he loves it. Haven't seen him yet, says he's really busy.
  6. Laclu007

    Laclu007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    PLM-1 - what is the reason you would not purchase anything but a grasshopper? Have you used mid-mounts before the front-mount? The front-mount guys keep saying that there will be little or no scalping, and that there could be alot of scalping using the mid-mount.
  7. tstrong

    tstrong LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    The Hustler ATZ is a Zero turn made for slopes. It should fit your needs quite well. I am a homeowner like yourself with a Zero turn and could not be happier with it.
  8. FishOn

    FishOn LawnSite Member
    from ORF
    Posts: 10

    Our yard is about same size, surrounded by a river, lots of trees, flower beds, sloping sides and plenty of uneven terrain. Researched mower manufacturers specs and with the aid of this site I could determine what components (engine, drive train, and features) would last 10+ years and those I was willing to pay for. Looked at the Hustler, Toro and a few others but never test-drove one. Last Sat my Z mower was delivered and in 2 hrs I was able to get the hang of it, mow my yard and one down the street. I am absolutely confident I made the best choice and saved 1-2K on comparable mowers (actually most all of the others lacked a few important features). I expected to scalp the lawn in places due to all the dips and hills but this Z did a super job never scalping a single spot. After I finished mowing the wife shows up and wants to ride and in about 15min she could operate the mower fine. Now I think we will argue over who will gets to cut the grass, I better hide the key except for those “5-10 mph winds, 2-4 feet waves perfect offshore days”. The Mfg of my Z has a poor web site that doesn’t provide specs on their mowers so I had to visit their store to get a look and some spec literature. After that it was an easy decision.
    The solution to my desire for a Z mower was a Z Two 54” Lesco. Good luck with your choice.
  9. Laclu007

    Laclu007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    Fishon - thanks for the info. I don't think Lesco sells up here in the Great White North. I have learned on this site that Lesco makes the Cub Tank (or vice versa). What was your next best choice after the Lesco?

  10. Laclu007

    Laclu007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    FishOn - What were the features that the other ZTR's lacked?

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