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ZTR and bermuda question


LawnSite Member
Durant, OK
I live in an area with a lot of bermuda grass and personally have bermuda grass .. I am considering purchasing a ZTR mower for me personally, but plan to also delve into doing some for-hire cutting, perhaps next year.

Anyway, I'm prepared to invest in a commercial grade mower, but not necessarily towards the high-end, large mowers, as my lawn is small. John Deere is local as well as a toro dealer, else, I'm 90 minutes from Dallas where anything can be aquired and supported.

But what I want is a machine that will do a good job of mulching bermuda down "pretty low". I was wondering what factors influence mulching most ..
Blade configuration/cut width?, HP to Cut width ratio?, deck style/mulch kit design?

I have a Troy-bilt 6.75 horse/21 inch that can not cut (mulch) well if more than about an 3/4 inch needs to come off. That translates to 3.1 HP per cut width inch. A JD 717a translates to only 2.5 HP per cut width inch. So should I not be too concerned with inadequate power when dealing with commercial grade mowers and their performance in mulching a good stand of bermuda?

I'm not adverse to cutting a lawn twice, assuming the machine is quick, and I don't want (don't think I want) a cut width greater than about 48" Really, I guess I don't want to spend more than about $5,500.

I'm also open to suggestions for a good walk-behind for same application. The way I see it, if a mower will do a good job mulching a well established bermuda lawn down to an inch or so, it should handle anything.

Also, there is vast price difference between residential mowers such as at Lowes versus commercial mowers (almost double the cost) ... is the price worth it for a homeowner? for a lawn care company? what do you get for the EXTRA $4000 besides a better warranty and a little more speed? (I assume)

A question I'd like to ask is .. In a "small" lawn-care business application, is it better to have one commercial machine that costs $7800 or 2 residential machines that cost $3800 ea. :confused:

thanks in advance.


LawnSite Member
miami, ok
I have the 717a and live in norther OK. I am not set up to mulch, but the thing will cut anything I have encountered. My personal yard is bermuda and from what I can tell there is no need to mulch. Make sure your blades are sharp. Another thing you will notice between a residential and commercial machine is the blade tip speed. The commercial machines are between 17000-18000. The 19 hp kaw has plenty of power to tackle any type of grass that I have encountered.

Twister Turf Man

LawnSite Member
Central Oklahoma
I live in central Oklahoma and actually have an 03' commercial Deere 717
48" , 19 horse Kawasaki, (brand new, 6 hours on it) that I am selling that would be an excellent mower to start up with without spending 17-18 grand on.


LawnSite Fanatic
My lawn is an acre lot, I'd get a rider if I didn't have the business, a lawn tractor I mean, like 2-3 grand and be done with it. Nice machines for less money, way nice one for way less. Because Z's are designed to cut 8-10 and more acres / day, some can do 20 acres / day easy, just saying.