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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    NW Oregon
    Kubota L3130

    Default Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    Hi Folks,

    I would like recommendations/thoughts on what I should buy for 1 to 1.5 acres of lawn. I already have an heavy L3130 with R1 tires for utility work and don't expect to mow my lawn with it. Actually my lawn is not even in place yet; it is just cleared brush at this point. Currently I don't have any obsticles on the area which I intend to convert into a lawn However, I can see myself possible putting in flower beds and small trees/scrubs into the landscape. Depends on what the wife wants. ;-)

    As far as budget, I am kind of open to peoples ideas. I guess I am most concerned with overall cost of lawn maintaince over a long period of time. A bigger machine can be financed if that makes more financial sense then buying cheaper machines via cash. For example, I am not sure if I am best off buying cheap "throw away" lawn tractors or getting a sub CUT/small gray market tractor. I just want to get something which will be the least overall cost over my lawn cutting career. ;-) . Here is what I have been debating. Keep in mind I only plan to have 1 to 1.5 acres of lawn, most likely watered regularly over the summer (ie soft ground) and I intend to make it smooth. Area is not overally sloped, maybe 5% max. I am in Oregon and we have periods of quick growing grass here in the Spring time.

    1. $1000 cheap new riding lawn tractor. I expect the bundled engines to outlast the rest of the tractor.
    2. $1500-2000 better quality lower mowers (AYPs or JD L series) - 48" decks I expect the rest of the tractor to probably keep up with the engine. Not sure however. Still think the engine will outlast the rest of it.
    3. Walk behind ZTR, I think it is ~$2500. Open to deck size. the bigger the better I guess. Will probably last a long time but I am not sure how much I will want to use this thing into the future. Yes, I guess I can see myself gettting lazy. Relatively young now but who knows how I will be feeling in 10-20 years.. It might outlast me. :-P
    4. $2400-3000 even better quality lawn tractor. Smaller decks on these ~40". kubota T1670 or JD LT/LX. I expect the rest of the tractor will probably outlast the gas engine.
    5. Low cost riding ZTR.. in the same price range as #4. A consumer grade Toro ZTR? Not sure what will give out first.
    6. Used or new Diesel garden tractor. JD 332 or Kubota GR2k.
    Not sure the chassis will hold up with the engine on this one.
    Not sure how much a used ones costs, a new one is around $7k.

    7. Small Yanmar grey market with finish mower and turf tires? Maybe something like a 1401D. $6000? Chassis will hold up with the engine but probably not as easy to navigate around as with a MMM.
    8. New Sub CUT with MMM. I expect this will last forever and will be much easier to use then then a tow behind finish mower as in #7. But we are probably talking $9000 here. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Especially since I already spend a lot of money on my L3130.
    9. ATV tow behind self powered finish mower. I have a new Suzuki Ozark 250cc 2x4 ATV with a 700# tow capacity. Mower I think is around 500#. I have heard these are a pain to deal with (backing up,etc). Not sure if this will shorten the life of my ATV much and something I should avoid using. Probably not the best choice.

    Again, Remember I already have a new CUT (L3130), so I don't think I will need a loader or other 3 pt attachments for this "lawn" mowing machine.

    I appreciate anyone's ideas and lessons learned. I don't know how many have gone down this same painful road. This mower problem is harder then deciding which CUT I wanted. That was more cut and dry. This one is a hard one for me. So many ways to go on this one. I can see many sides; Cheap throw aways which I might get a lot of use out of them because I will have a small amount of lawn which is relatively flat... then all the way into high quaility solutions and even expensive diesel powered machine which might actually have good resale value.

    With 1 to 1.5 acres, I don't expect to spend a lot of time cutting no matter what I cut with. Other then a small walk behind push mower and weed wacker.

    ok.. anyone want to give this a shot? I know it is a lot to ask and is a complex problem. Let me know if I can answer anything else about my situation which can help narrow down my choices. Thank you in advanced.

  2. #2
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Kansas, Butler county, Just east of DooDah
    Kubota L4200 GSTCA

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    I guess there is no ONE mower for all things…
    I Finish mow about 9 acres. I have a 7 foot Land Pride rear discharge mower for the large open spots;
    A 6 foot finish ZTR/with cab for the closer in places with obstacles that need to be mowed around;
    A Cub Cadet with a 44 inch that I use for tighter spots and when I want to attach a vacuum to pick up leaves;
    A 9 foot Reel gang set that I tow around some of the open places for that nice clipped and rolled finish;
    A 7 foot sickle for around the pond and along the ditch on the street.

    Those I use regularly. I also have a couple flails and a 6 foot shredder (bush hog) that I have not for a while… but they have been handy at times…

    Soooo I guess you will be very lucky if you can satisfy your mower needs with 1 or 2 or even 3 mowers. KennyV.

    PS You will also find a lot of use for weed eaters and small walk behind mowers… even hand powered trimmers. Mow Mow Mow [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]….

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    kubota b3030

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    Hi OrangeAlex
    I would suggest you take a look at two wheeled tractors.
    BCS is popular if you want new. They are not cheap, but
    if you can afford it, they have many attachments from tillers
    to mowers, and even chippers. The advantage is one powersourse for many attachments, just like 4 wheel tracters.

  4. #4
    Gold Member bearhawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Milton, New Hampshire
    Kioti CK20HST

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    I bought one of those Husquavarna mowers from sears. It was on sale for 1800.
    24hp Briggs, Hydrostatic, 48" deck.

    I think they are made at the same factory as the Craftsman mowers, but it has a few more features for less money.

    It runs and mows nice.


  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Central Florida
    Kubota L5030HSTC

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    I use my L4330 to mow my lawn with a 6' finish mower. I am done in 20 minutes! I spend more time trying to go around trees. Then I use my weed eater to get the other stuff. The finish mower does a better job than my riding mower. I can get closer to objects with my riding mower, but the time I save using the big mower is the reason I use it. Of course, I would recommend R4's since the R1's on a wet or moist lawn will leave marks.

    I ended up with a finish mower after my 10 year old riding mower starting blowing blue smoke. I too didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a riding mower, when I had a tractor that could do the job. I would recommend a rear discharge finish mower since a side discharge will limit how close you can get to objects from the discharge side of the mower.

    Good luck,


  6. #6
    Super Member
    Rest in Peace
    frank_f15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    You say it is going to be a smooth lawn? then i think i might give serious thought to a nice ride on ZTR , more than likly you will also need a small walk behind for some areas.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Springfield, MO
    JD 4410

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    Talk about timing, I just finished going through this same process and mowed with my solution for the first time yesterday. I'll tell you how I arrived where I did.

    First, our situations are very similar, I am just a few months ahead of you. I have just a little over an acre of lawn on 10 acres of property. There will also be another 3 acres of wildflower prairie. I have a John Deere 4410 CUT, which built the yard, but it is a little awkward and heavy for mowing. I have done it. I bought a 72" rear discharge finish mower with the tractor when I was planning on mowing closer to 5 acres. When my older ZTR trashed a belt a few weeks ago, I started mowing with the RFM and have been suprised by the manueverability and quality of cut. But, if you have the least amount of moisture in the ground (particularly on a newly graded lawn), the heavy tractor is a problem.

    I bought an older used ZTR even before we moved onto our place, thinking that it would be the answer. It is fine, but I find that I cannot relax for even a moment when mowing with a ZTR. Personally, I prefer a steering wheel where I can occasionally "zone out" and not end up making a 90 degree turn. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] In my buying process, I thought that maybe the problem was my old machine, so I test drove some new ZTR's and found pretty much the same thing. One pump always seems to run just a little faster than the other, requiring constant correction.

    Another point of consideration for me was that I often get involved in projects where I am using one implement on my tractor and need a different implement at the same time. For instance, I need both my dump trailer and my PTO chipper when I am cleaning up brush.

    All these points led me to the decision that I wanted a good, heavy duty, high HP lawn & garden tractor with 3pt hitch and 540 RPM PTO. But, as you seem to have learned as well, I found that this route could easily push you into the 12K - 15K price bracket. I narrowed my choices down to a used JD 20'ish HP diesel LGT or a new kubota BX1500. The BX2230 may have been the ideal solution, but it and the new JD X series LGT's and 2000 series SubCUT's just weren't in the budget. The BX1500 cuts beautifully and has some very attractive features. However, I ended up with a used JD 455 because I found one for about 60% of what the BX1500 would have cost, and it had about 45% more HP. It is slightly more manueverable than the BX, but not enough to influence the decision.

    Right now, big used LGT's seem to be a bargain. With the emergence of the SubCUT's as a group, the LGT's are losing favor and trade in values reflect dealers' reluctance to put them on their lots. SubCUT's on eBay go for about 75% - 80% of new price (if you can wait long enough for one to be listed) but LGT's -- even late model -- show much more depreciation.

    If you're not afraid of buying used, I would start watching eBay for a good, clean, low hour JD 455 or 430. You might as well get a diesel, since you're storing diesel for your CUT already. For an education on the history of JD LGT's and some details on which models to consider and which to watch out for, visit Weekend Freedom Machines

    Finding a 'Bota on eBay is pretty rare.

    If you want to buy new, the BX1500 is probably the best "bang for your buck".

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Blair, Ne.

    Default Re: Need advice on finish mowing 1 - 1.5 acres.

    I have about 2 acres that gets mowed with my L3130 and a 6' finish mower. We also had a 22" self propelled for getting up close to the house.

    We had the NRD plant several hundred trees and bushes however they spaced the rows at ~6 apart. Didn't even think about that when they were planting. So we bought a 42" 18hp Craftsman riding mower to go between the rows.

    The rider gets 99% of everything close to the house. Still need the manual mower for a few spots. So now that we have the rider I just stay about 10' out from the house and deck with the tractor.

    Just for comparison...It takes 50 minutes to mow with the tractor. That same area takes almost 3hrs on the rider.

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