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Unread 11-18-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
ddmoit
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Lawn Tractors

Boy, do I have a lot to learn about my new lifestyle. I'm on 6.58 acres of hilly, mostly wooded property in Tennessee. Still, I probably have close to 2 acres of lawn to cut - most of it sloped.

I need a machine to cut it. My thought is that a lawn tractor is the way to go, since it can be employed to do other things as well.

Any thoughts on sizes, brands, features, or options? Like I said, I have a lot to learn.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 05:43 PM   #2
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We went to Blacksburg Va. to visit tech last week and we stayed at a fellow Hokie(lives on the top a very big hill) and mows the side of his hill.. Has a John Deere rider with a Hydrostatic Tranny.. Can't remember the model but he's had problems with the Tranny slipping to the pooint where he can't get it to go...
Could be a purging issue but Lowes among others can't figure it out.. Has had it back numerous times - almost 2 years old...

Get a heavy duty tranny...
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Unread 11-18-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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If the hills are particularly steep you have to pay attention to the oil pump and how its constructed. Most tractors have a limit to how much you can tilt them before the oil pump inlet stops touching the oil. There is a difference between running the tractor parked on a ramp in a factory and driving over a bumpy surface with the oil sloshing around.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 07:09 PM   #4
Brad Denny
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A zero turn with aggressive tires would probably be best and most affordable for cutting only, though, you might find a good tractor less all the implements for the same price. If you can find a place locally to rent usable implements, the tractor would be nice to have, but to invest in all the add ons :yikes: . My FIL and his brother have Exmarks and they are excellent mowers, especially for the slopes his brother has. I hear Toro's are very similar and less expensive. There's a brand I see advertised that seems well built and reasonably priced, Bad Boy. The frame and deck thickness, motor, and hydro drives will be the comparing points. As far as a tractor goes, here's a little slanted side by side...Greene v. Orange
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Unread 11-18-2012, 07:19 PM   #5
tileguynky
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How fast do you want to mow those 2 acres?

Zero turn vs Lawn tractor

The big thing is how hilly is it when you say hilly? As in extreme slopes or mild to gentle rolling hills?


Brad, Toro and Exmark are owned by the same company. The big thing on the mowers, some of the lower priced units have stamped decks and stamped frames. A more rugged model will have the tubular frame and a plate built deck.

Shameless plug:I have an Exmark ZTR for sale. It is a Quest model. It is a 2010 mower with 48" cut, 22 HP Briggs&Stratton motor with less than 40 hours on the unit.

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Unread 11-18-2012, 07:30 PM   #6
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I haven't measured the actual angle, but much of it is too steep in my opinion to run sideways on the slope. Some preliminary research indicates that tractors with larger decks are more stable on hills than the zero radius machines. How useful are the zero radius machines for doing anything other than cutting grass. My guess is that tractors are more versatile.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 07:48 PM   #7
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Well, there is a hitch adapter for the rear of mine which will allow you to pull anything that a lawn tractor will pull. Also, there is a company that makes an adapter for the front of the ZTR that will open up a whole new set of options.

JRCO

My Dad has an older Ford tractor, I think it's either a 600 or 840 Workhorse model. Rear PTO and 3 point hitch. Like Brad said though, attachments can et pricey. It's slow enough with a low center of gravity for hils.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #8
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After considering (and creeping your pics on FB, that's what FB friends do, right? ) your particular situ, here's an additional thought...

I bet you are going to need a box scraper for that drive and yes, you are right, a tractor is much more versatile. When I cut our (in laws live next door) combined yards of roughly 3.5 acres, it takes ~2-3 hrs on a zero turn, depening on how hard I go. We have trees, obstacles, and houses. Witha '50's model Ferguson Ford and a finish mower (pre-trees and one house) it took me ~4-5 hours and I was beat after steering that beast.

If it were me, I might look into an inexpensive zero turn and an older tractor. I could be wrong, but I would worry about a newer sub-compact tractor being large enough to withstand heavy frequent use, a larger one could be terribly expensive with the attachments necessary, and both would be slow for the routine cutting. I think you could get what you need on an old rusty tractor and viable zero turn for under 10K.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Pricey, yes, but for versatility you just can't beat a PTO and three-point hitch, Dan.

I have use of a Kubota 3010 with a front loader and I don't know how we'd maintain the place without it. And it was indispensable at times when I needed to haul it to a jobsite for some final landscaping or clean-up or tree removal and whatnot. Five-foot mower deck for the real grass areas, shredder for the rougher terrain to cut the big weeds for fire control, box blade for landscaping and driveway repair, post hole digger, log splitter, and maybe other absolute essentials.

Great for moving trailers about, pickin' up heavy stuff, knockin' down other stuff, and general tractorin'. Prolly move alla snow off that long driveway if y'all get winter time down there. Just good to have around.

And transports quite easily on a 16" flatbed trailer when necessary.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 08:32 PM   #10
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What CX said plus a flail mower for the nicer sections of lawn
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Unread 11-19-2012, 06:36 AM   #11
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Goats.




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Unread 11-19-2012, 08:16 AM   #12
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Goats are getting serious consideration, Bob.
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Unread 11-19-2012, 08:29 AM   #13
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Might even be able to get some sort of agricultural tax exemption on the property if you run livestock, Dan. Don't know if other states do that sorta thing, but we have that in Texas.

And talk with the locals to see if you really want goats or if maybe sheep are the better option. Apparently they eat different stuff and one might be better then the other for your mowing needs.

You got already bib overalls, yes?
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Unread 11-19-2012, 09:31 AM   #14
Brad Denny
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I'd have goats and a hen house if my wife would let me. I think zoning makes all the difference here for possible tax help. If not chickens, guineas are for good for tick control.

CX reminded me something about speaking to the locals. Seek out the local co-op. They can be a huge source of info. Also, call the realtor that sold you the house to see who'd been cutting the grass and what they used on those slopes.
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Unread 11-19-2012, 09:38 AM   #15
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Bibs? Wearin' 'em as I read this, CX.

Some folks down the road have some goats. I haven't seen any sheep nearby - doesn't mean there aren't any though.
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