5 acres, lots of trees, 90 minutes, which is the best mower for me?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Dave Carney, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Dave Carney

    Dave Carney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I'm looking to buy a commercial mower to mow my 5 acres on a 2 week mow cycle, that's all it's going to do. Also, like everyone else, I don't want one that's going to eat me alive in replacement parts costs and has a lot of down time. I will maintain my machine very well. I want this to be the last mower I have to buy.

    I need to get my lawn mowing/trim time down to 90 minutes total so that I can free up Saturdays by mowing one day after work (currently it takes me 205 minutes with my 60" Ingersoll 4120). I have a few hundred 12 year old trees, but most of them are in hedgerows, we'll say there's a hundred to mow around (I don't trim around but a few). The lot has a lot of rough spots, and there are some areas that are damp or even wet quite often when I mow, due to a drainage easment that runs through the property, so I need a deck that flows good. It's Kansas, so it's mostly flat but the house is built up a bit, probably a 15-18 degree slope or so away from the house.

    One summer I got to borrow a front cut mower, a 52" Grazer, and I liked it a lot, it was very fast and smooth, I mowed and trimmed in 150 minutes with that one even though the deck was smaller than the Ingersoll. I liked having the deck way out in front where the visibilty was good. I've not run a belly mount ztr but I hear they are even faster. My max budget is 10k to 12k. I have plenty of space to store a machine, so that's not an issue. Looking around and in the phone book I have the following dealers available...

    Hustler (within 6 miles of my place)
    Scag (10 miles away)
    John Deere (same dealer as the Hustler dealer)
    Exmark (same dealer as Scag)
    Grasshopper (22 miles away)
    Bad Boy (dark horse, i'm too afraid they will go out of business like Ingersoll basically did on me)

    I suppose I'm leaning toward a 66" EFI super z (wish they offered bigger efi engine thoug), or even a regular z (seems like fewer issues with the regular one but costs the same by the time you add the suspension seat and then it doesn't have a cooler and no EFI which I would prefer to have). I prefer American engines and EFI. Prefer, it's not a deal breaker though.

    What would you guys buy if it was you? Really appreciate the help. I bought the wrong mower last time and I don't want to make that mistake again.
  2. mulligant

    mulligant LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Since the Hustler dealer is the closest I would reccomend that you strongly consider the Super Z. The 15 mph Super Z will get the job done faster than any other mower other than the Dixie Chopper which is not on your list. I believe that the Hustler is built better than the Dixie, the warrenty is better, and the customer service is excellent. Ask the dealer to bring one to your property for a demonstration. Also, ask your dealer if they mind working on the efi engine. Mine said stay away because they did not know how to work on it. I went with the 27 Kohler with a 60" XR-7 and couldn't be happier. Best of luck to you.
  3. Dave Carney

    Dave Carney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    To help visualize this, here is a Google Earh pic of the property...this pic is probably 6 years old, so the trees are bigger then what this shows. The red lines are the property lines, the green arrows point to the drainage easement, and the magenta box is a new barn.

  4. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    How about dropping some livestock on that land? A small herd should keep that nubbed down pretty good.

    It sounds like you're fairly close to a city, how about horse boarding?

    Let the land work for you instead.
  5. Dave Carney

    Dave Carney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Yeah, ....no chance....I don't need the aggravation or contact with my fellow man. :) It's a subdivision anyway with covenants. I could keep 2 horses if they are owned by me, but don't want any. Just need a mower.

    That pic was taken during a drought, hence all the brown, the dark brown area north of my property that looks like a pond, was/is a pond. Everything is green and lush again now. Fescue in the area just around the house, brome everywhere else.
  6. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I think, with my admittedly limited experience, that you are being a little unrealistic trying to cut the mowing time to less than half the best time you''ve posted with a front-mount mower. A mid-mount Z will probably trim some time, but I just don't see being able to cut 5 acres, especially with trees, in 90 minutes, unless your ground is extremely smooth, or you are a previous motorcross rider. :)

    Why don't you just hire someone to do it, and take all the time off? :rolleyes:
  7. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 991

    I would say go for a large deck like a 72" in a mid mount and you can get a fairly large engine on that somewhere around 30hp or more for around 11 to 12 grand you go to a front mount and that will add 1500 or more to the price tag. Its all personal preferance i personaly run mid mounts because they are nearly as fast as front mount and are cheeper and take less space on a trailer but that is just what i do.
  8. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

  9. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Well the top speed on the Hustler is a moot point because you won't be able to use it due to the rough spots.

    You're cutting every two weeks - Scag's Velocity II deck seems to work real good with taller and wet stuff. Maybe Tacoma2000 will pipe up in this thread, he's got one and has great things to say about it with the taller/wet stuff. That would be my pick with your criteria.

    However, I don't see you getting it done in 90 minutes though. I'm sure it would take less than 205 minutes.

    Also, you might want to check out Kubota's ZD331 with a diesel, but you haven't mentioned if there is a dealer around.

    If you're cutting this property every 2 weeks, I'm pretty sure any mower from that list will definitely last as long as you want it to.
  10. Dave Carney

    Dave Carney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I agree, I don't think my goal is possible without a 72" deck and I'd like 35 hp.

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