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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    12
    Location
    Georgia
    Tractor
    Kubota BX 2660

    Default Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    Hi, we work on a lot of foreclosures (maintenance and lawn care) and are in the market for a new piece of equipment. We are looking for a solution for that will best service our needs.

    Mainly interested in a piece of equipment that is strong, dependable and can handle running for several hours and on tall grass up to 5-6 days per week. We stay busy but some weeks are busier than others.


    Currently we run a 52 Grasshopper 220 Zero turn (20 HP Kohler) and a 48 Snapper Pro Belt Drive walk behind (15 HP Kohler) and we have too much down time with maintenance.

    We are in a semi rural area so the lawns we service range from subdivision lots to 1-2 acres lots. We have smaller mowers that can accommodate for any tight spaces.

    We are thinking that we are using the wrong equipment....have ran tractors years ago on farm but not on this type of work. Alot of the yards we are getting have been let go for quite some time and can be as high as 6 feet. Even with the zero turn going slow, it gets bogged down. Have had some properties that are full of undergrowth that have to be reclaimed and have rented a Billy Goat brush cutter fairly cheap then finish it with mowers. (quite a workout) I am wondering if I should look into a tractor...and buy attachments...belly mower, bush hog, etc. Or if the best option is to buy a mixture of tractor and something else that will take care of it all. The yards that are killing us are the first time cuts because they are so overgrown, thick and tall averaging 36"-42" in height. Once we get those out of the way, we cut them biweekly and its no problem.

    I have broken it down into the "types" of lawns we are cutting during each grass season (April 1st - October 31st)

    70% Lawns mowed biweekly recuts- height from 2" up to 15"
    15% Lawns mowed- 16" - 36"
    15% Initial Lawn cut over 36" up to 72" w/thick weeds & up to 2-3" saplings.

    With that said, we are cutting about 10 properties per day. Would a tractor be feasible turning on/off, loading/unloading that many times per day?


    We appreciate any insight and suggestions as to which mower or tractor they would recommend? maybe even a combination of two? Thank you very much, Phil & Sherry in GA

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    1,868
    Location
    KY
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830, Ford Golden Jubilee, AC B, '39 Sears Economy, Polaris Ranger 400

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    I would look at a kubota B or BX series Kubota for your tall grass work.

    Mowing 6' grass with a Zero Turn is not a good idea. The problem is with the mower. In my opinion, the tall grass (taller than 16") should be bush hogged first. Then after around a week come back with your zero turn set at the highest mowing height and mow again. And then in another week come back and mow again at a lower height.

    Trying to mow the yards in one session to a 3-4" height is not going to work with the grass taller than 12 to 16". There's just too much grass clippings. 6' grass is high for farm fields that are baled!

    I think you have the right equipment for the grass that's under 12". Toro, EXmark, Grasshopper, etc. make good units. I would simply add a small tractor to your equipment lineup for the tall stuff. Buy a good quality bushhog (Woods, Bushhog, Landpride, etc) and you will easily be able to mow down the tallest grass and saplings. Just remember going from farm field grass, even in a houses yard, to a finely mowed lawn is going to take multiple mowings. By the way I like mowing tall grass with a tractor equipped with loader and bucket. It helps to push the grass and sapplings down and prevents damage to the tractor. Plus you can always use the loader for other projects!

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Elite Member Ken45101's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    3,057
    Location
    southern Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota M5040, M9540, B21 TLB, B2710, RTV900, JD 325 Skid steer, KX-121-3 mini excavator

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    I agree that a small tractor with a rotary cutter ("Bush Hog") should be your first step. Maybe even for the second cutting. They can do a half decent job of mowing a lawn although not as nice as a good finish mower.

    Try to get one at least as wide as the tractor tires so that you can get along fences, foundations, etc.

    The drawback of a tractor/brush cutter is maneuverability. They don't turn quickly for small irregular plots. You may spend more time turning than mowing. Of course, that's where a ZT excels.

    A DR walk behind will work for just about anything but they are slow going.

    Ken

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Code54's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    1,293
    Location
    Putnam Co. West Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100 (50 Hp, 42.5 pto) Kubota BX25D Gravely 2 wheel tractor

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    I would look at the DR as a nice add on for the area I cant get to easily with the tractor - close to house, bldgs, tight tree's etc...
    Kubota MX5100
    Kubota BX25D
    Gravely 2 wheel tractor
    Camo RZR4 800LE

  5. #5
    Elite Member Ken45101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    3,057
    Location
    southern Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota M5040, M9540, B21 TLB, B2710, RTV900, JD 325 Skid steer, KX-121-3 mini excavator

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by Code54 View Post
    I would look at the DR as a nice add on for the area I cant get to easily with the tractor - close to house, bldgs, tight tree's etc...
    I don't know about newer DR mowers, but on mine, the handle is wider than the cut and it's really rough on knuckles even trying to get close to a fence or wall

    Ken

  6. #6
    Silver Member JakeBrake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    234
    Location
    Central Mississippi
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken45101 View Post
    I don't know about newer DR mowers, but on mine, the handle is wider than the cut and it's really rough on knuckles even trying to get close to a fence or wall

    Ken
    I agree. I have a 2002 DR Field & Brush Mower 15 HP. I have both the 26" brushcutter and the 42" mowing deck. I think the new models are the same configuration.

    The 26" brushcutter is a knucklebuster when close to a fence. The 42" mowing deck is much better close to a fence, but you have to mow in first or second gear in tall grass.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Code54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    1,293
    Location
    Putnam Co. West Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100 (50 Hp, 42.5 pto) Kubota BX25D Gravely 2 wheel tractor

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    Sorry, I was meaning walking the deck up close using the front edge or between things that the tractor wont fit between, I should have been clearer.....
    Kubota MX5100
    Kubota BX25D
    Gravely 2 wheel tractor
    Camo RZR4 800LE

  8. #8
    Veteran Member deepNdirt's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    2,258
    Location
    Nth East Ga, USA
    Tractor
    yanmar YM-1700

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    Here is another option you could try, I know many lawn maintenance people having their own businesses, Most of these Guys don't have any extra room for other equipment such as a tractors and brush cutters etc,etc, and really don't have time in their cutting season schedules to cut overgrown lawns/ Lots, Rather then them having take time to get the appropriate equipment and employ another person to operate this equipment They just call on me to come knock it down with my tractor & cutter @ XX amount per lot or Hourly rate, Then they come back behind me the next week and finish cut it,....
    If you can find and get hooked up with someone that has a CUT tractor and willing to do this? it might be a lesser up front cost than buying any additional expensive equipment, although Most tractor owners will want a Minimum hours, and also not wanting to travel outside a certain distance, I request 2 hours and no farther than 25 miles, some exceptions are made if having 2 or more lots in the same general area, But I'm sure this is as well with lawn maintenance, Travel time and fuel is an expense,
    just a thought

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    12
    Location
    Georgia
    Tractor
    Kubota BX 2660

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    It would be easier on me to have someone with a tractor rough cut so that I can come in and finish. I have called several in my area....but with good reason, they are not on the same time schedule that I am. I have a short window of time to cut my properties Usually I receive my work orders for properties and only have 2-3 days turn around time. That actually would be the easiest way to handle this. I havent had much luck so far. The banks require photos before and after of my work so trying to work this in with the schedule of someone who is retired can be a little challenging. I have considered the DR brush cutter 18 HP 30" cut for the overgrown properties(they are usually 1/2 acre to 2 acres). Currently, I am renting a Billy Goat which is not as strong or easy to handle as the DR.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member deepNdirt's Avatar
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    2,258
    Location
    Nth East Ga, USA
    Tractor
    yanmar YM-1700

    Default Re: Zero Turn vs Compact Tractor vs Mower and DR Brush Cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by georgiatwo View Post
    It would be easier on me to have someone with a tractor rough cut so that I can come in and finish. I have called several in my area....but with good reason, they are not on the same time schedule that I am. I have a short window of time to cut my properties Usually I receive my work orders for properties and only have 2-3 days turn around time. That actually would be the easiest way to handle this. I havent had much luck so far. The banks require photos before and after of my work so trying to work this in with the schedule of someone who is retired can be a little challenging. I have considered the DR brush cutter 18 HP 30" cut for the overgrown properties(they are usually 1/2 acre to 2 acres). Currently, I am renting a Billy Goat which is not as strong or easy to handle as the DR.
    when reading your user name I would assume you could be a Georgia resident.... if this is so may I ask what area? I do most of my cutting around barrow/jackson/Banks/Hall & nth Gwentt

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