Which is best for my sloped yard, WB, riding or ZTR

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by OZZIE3155, May 29, 2007.

  1. OZZIE3155

    OZZIE3155 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hello, I recently moved into my new house and now it's time to cut some grass. I've got a total of 1.07ac of lawn that's sloped, hilly and probably 15 poplar trees to get around. I'm curious if a Zero turn or riding mower would be recommended for this type of lawn, or should I just buy a regular walk behind for safety reasons??? I did borrow my friends Cub Cadet 50" zero turn mower and it was fun to drive but kinda scary a few times with the grass being cut for the first time and really wet from the fresh grass. And help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    You didn't describe how steep the hills are, but since you were able as a novice to mow the property with a ZTR, that's the way to go, but with the caveat that you not use it when the grass is wet. I'd get a commercial one though. Stay away from what is sold at Lowes and Home Depot.
  3. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    Agreed, avoid cutting when the grass is wet. Look for a mower that has a low center of gravity. Wider is better, too.

    NEVER mow uphill with a ZTR, it can flip over on you. You can mow across, or down, if conditions allow it. Don't go down if there is anything hazardous at the bottom, just in case you can't stop. If you do mow downward, back up the hill to get to the top.
  4. OZZIE3155

    OZZIE3155 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the replies back Larry and Steve. Well I'm not sure what the degree of front yard slope I have but I would say in a distance of 150 foot its probably a 20-25 foot drop, if that helps. So Steve what's the difference between lets say a John Deere mower at Lowes and one at a John Deere retailer store? Thanks ahead of time for all the help.
  5. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    That would be less than 10 degrees if it's a pretty much constant slope. I doubt if you'll find anyone who will say that's too steep for using a ZTR, so I think you would be safe with that choice. Mine is an Exmark and the manufacturer says it's ok to use on a 15 degree slope. I'm just a homeowner like you, and I adhere to the Exmark recommendation. I suspect most who mow for a living would have no reservations up to 20 degrees, and if you search this forum, you'll see that some have claimed mowing much steeper grades with a ZTR. But I think doing that is foolish. Too dangerous.

    You should also search this forum for an answer to your question about the John Deere ZTR. You'll find plenty of opinions. If I were in your shoes, I'd also consider Exmark, Toro, Hustler, Lesco and the other commercial mowers that have been discussed at length in this forum. Many, perhaps most homeowners are not aware of Lesco, because that company targets the commercial lawn-mowing guys. But they will also sell to homeowners, and their stores are just about everywhere. Try to find one near you using the web or your local yellow pages. It's a good (as good as you'll find, I think) source for seed and fertilizer too, which I'm sure you will be using in quantity with a lot the size of yours.
  6. OZZIE3155

    OZZIE3155 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey Larry or Steve, would I have any problems with a hydrostatic on this slope? I've heard that hills or slopes aren't good for the transmission, any truth to this?
  7. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    It would be easier to answer if you were more specific about what you mean by "hydrostatic". Many of the big-box-store riding lawn tractors, which I would stay away from, have hydrostatic drives. On the other hand, the Quick products (BOP) also use them for their walk-behind mowers and I mow my hills with one of them because some are too steep for my ZTR. I don't believe using mine on a slope will have any negative impact on the hydrostatic drive, and I'm not aware of any reason why it might. But if your slopes are only about 10 degrees, even the lawn tractors might be ok.
  8. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Messages: 950

    Get a good Toro/Exmark walk behind. 44"-52" deck. It's a breeze to cut with and will hold it's value. Safe and easy to operate.
  9. David Raupp

    David Raupp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I agree with Steve, I have a commercial grade toro 48inch deck with 15 hp Kawaski engine for the last 8 years and it is the most reliable machine you could ever want for a homeowner. I have a challenging property 15-20 degree grades in areas and my toro is a champ. Now with that being said there are downsides to going with a walk-behind mower. For instance the grass is constantly blowing in your face because you are walking behind the mower versus sitting in the center of the mower. Also you can't add attachments to a walk-behind beyond a bagger. I know a lot of people will attach velckies but I don't.
    I am going to buy a lawn tractor in addition to mower in order to do other projects like aerating, moving mulch & timber etc. Walk-behinds are the best cutting mowers but are limited in applications. I hope this helps anyone who is trying to decide what is best for their yard.

    P.S. if you have slopes beyond 20 degrees your only real option is a walk-behind anything else and you are risking your personal safety. I was a professional landscaper for 10 years and will not put a ZT on my yard for safety reasons.


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