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Mowing with compact utility tractor?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Darryl G, May 31, 2001.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Hi all. I just started mowing commercially this year and now have six accounts. The problem is that I'm using a 21 inch 6 HP push mower. Everyone's lawn gets mowed excepth mine! I have a John Deere model 855 24 HP tractor for personal use, but have no finish cut mower for it (I have the loader, hoe and brush mower). I'm trying to decide whether to buy a mower for the Deere or a 48 inch walk behind. My gut says to go with the 48 inch and load it directly on the truck for now so I won't have to buy a trailer. Also more manuverable. Thoughts anyone?

  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    An 855? that sounds big. my dream 1st mower would be the gateway from great dane. fits through gates, 52" cut, hydro, kaw engine. with a sulky ( velke one wheel is my fav. ) you would be off to a great start. Dave g
  3. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 662

    I would go with a commercial walkbehind. They will hold up better and are way more efficient. Tractors are slow, good for a home, but not for mowing commercial. Look into exmark, I own one and love it. Toro is also a good brand.
  4. sdwally

    sdwally LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 385

    You would be better off getting a walk behind or a ZTR, depending on where your headed. Don't get rid of the JD it will pay off in the long run if it has a category I 3pt hitch with 540 PTO. There are many implements that you can use with it to cover larger areas. Aerators and renvators are two of the more useful items.
    Most cities or towns where I have lived have weed abatement laws, if you have weed abatement law where you are at you can make good money on vacant lots. Most cities send notices to the land owners to take care of the weeds or they will sent in crews and then bill them absorbent rates. If you see vacant lots you can usually talk with neighbors about who owns the property or check with local county tax collector to find out who owns the property. Normally I charged at least $100 for an 1/2 acre lot, local muncipality would charge around $350. Normally these lots only need mowed with a bush mow once a month during the weed season. Great money for only a couple hours of work. Be sure to walk entire area first for hidden debris.
  5. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    my vote is for the walk behind. that tractor will never work in peoples front yards.

    but I'd love to have the tractor with the goodies you got. and I would have the finish mower also but it would be used for acreage.

    in my area there are lots of people that have nice places and they keep an extra 5-15 acres around the house mowed and in good shape.

  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Thanks for the input folks; that's pretty much what I figured. I definitely won't be getting rid of the Deere. I want to get into the landscape construction part of the business eventually. My tractor is anything but slow as one poster suggested, at least on open terrain. It will do 11 mph, has the hydro transmission, power steering, cruise etc. I mowed a lawn this week with the brush mower because it is so rough and overgrown that no one wanted to mow it with their finish cut mowers.

    I'm looking at the ExMark's and will probably get the 48 inch Metro HP. The other option is buying my uncle's 14 HP Deere WB. It's a gearbox drive, electric start with only a few hundred hours on it, but he now wishes he got a hydro instead.

    Thanks again

  7. morturf

    morturf LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 477

    You are right about your Compact Utility Tractor (CUT) being a great open field mower. I own 2. A 955 and a 4400 both JD's. I also think that if you are mowing large open areas you can't beat an 855 with a 60 or 72 inch deck. I will catch flak for that I know, but I know I can out mow any ZTR (yes even a chopper!) in an open field. I also own an exmark ZTR. It is great for the trim work around my open area. Our Lawn around our storage shed is about 6 acres, 4.5 acres are open, 1.5 trees and buildings. Takes about 2 hours to mow the open area and 1 to do the rest. You should be able to get your hands on a belly mower deck for about $2000 a rear pto deck for about $1000, remember the green paint costs more! The belly mower is worth the extra money, you have far more control over it. I use double blades on mine and it is great!! Hope this helps...
    Oh yeah, as far as what ESpy said...this is not a crapsman, it is a commecial duty diesel. Mine has 5000 hrs on it and it is just getting broken in!
  8. Eric ELM

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

    I guess you haven't seen a 40 or 50 HP Chopper mowing yet. Even if it is tall, that 6 acres is a 1 hour job at the most. :)

    darryl gesner
    I would get a smaller mower for lawns. Tractors are just to slow to mow with. I have a 60" deck on a 430 diesel JD, but I had a 36" Dixon at one time that would mow the lawns just as fast. That is when I decided to get 60" Choppers and I did all our lawns in half the time of the JD. Tractors have their place, but they are not good for mowing lawns unless you only want to do half as much as you could with a ZTR or W/B. Out in the open a tractor will mow OK, but it takes forever to turn them.

    I used to aerate with my JD on the 3pt hitch, but this spring I hooked up my diesel Chopper and cut my aerating time in half. Now the JD will only be used for snow removal.

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