Lawn tractor vs ZT

   #1  

N80

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Kubota L4400 4wd w/LA 703 FEL
I have 3 or 4 acres I normally mow with a 45hp utility tractor and 6' rotary cutter which is not exactly 'lawn' but more like lawn than field. (I have mowed this with someone else's JD yard tractor and it did okay). I also have the yard around my cabin which I push mow. Getting tired of push mowing and the tractor + rotary cutter is not ideal for the job because there are lots of obstacles and the grass doesn't look great when I'm done. Ruts up the grass sometimes if it isn't perfectly dry too.

Thinking about a ZT but cost and the bouncy terrain have me concerned. Plus ZT isn't useful for much else.

So my question is this, does anyone have a recommendation on brand/model of large yard tractor (minimum 48" deck, prefer larger) that cost significantly less than a ZT and does most of what a ZT can do. I know tight turns will not be a strong point for the lawn tractor and I'm aware it will likely be slower. (But I'm thinking the less-than-smooth terrain of my lawn-fields will slow the ZT down anyway).

Any advice much appreciated.
 
   #2  

RalphVa

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Dec 19, 2003
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Charlottesville, VA, USA
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JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R
We had Sears garden tractors with underbelly mowers for the near 5 acres of church property in NJ. Well, my travel schedule got lax enough so I could volunteer to do the lawn. Said I would if they'd let me buy a ZT mower. They did. We got a Scag. The Scag would mow the lawn with all its trees in half the time that the Sears tractors required. Each tree would be hit at top speed with a once-around vs. 2 or 3 passes with the Sears. In the fall, I even mulched up the leaves by discharging inward until the Scag about choked down and then reversed for a round and then back. Before, they had an engine mounted behind the seat that sucked the leaves from the underbelly and discharged into a trailer pulled behind, a horrid, noisy mess.
 
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   #3  

BF2011

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1941 John Deere Model BN, 2016 Craftsman GT5500
I have 3 or 4 acres I normally mow with a 45hp utility tractor and 6' rotary cutter which is not exactly 'lawn' but more like lawn than field. (I have mowed this with someone else's JD yard tractor and it did okay). I also have the yard around my cabin which I push mow. Getting tired of push mowing and the tractor + rotary cutter is not ideal for the job because there are lots of obstacles and the grass doesn't look great when I'm done. Ruts up the grass sometimes if it isn't perfectly dry too.

Thinking about a ZT but cost and the bouncy terrain have me concerned. Plus ZT isn't useful for much else.

So my question is this, does anyone have a recommendation on brand/model of large yard tractor (minimum 48" deck, prefer larger) that cost significantly less than a ZT and does most of what a ZT can do. I know tight turns will not be a strong point for the lawn tractor and I'm aware it will likely be slower. (But I'm thinking the less-than-smooth terrain of my lawn-fields will slow the ZT down anyway).

Any advice much appreciated.
I purchased 3 acres of land in 2015 that was rough (former pasture). I had this same debate and ended up buying a Craftsman GT5500 "Garden Tractor" with a 54" deck because I wanted to be able to use ground engaging implements like a small box blade, aerator, spreader, tiller and wagon. Things that I couldn't do with a zero-turn mower without risk of destroying the dual transmissions. Craftsman claimed as little as a 7" turning radius, but in reality it's closer to 15" radius. I just make sure I mulch my newer trees to a minimum of 18" radius and I never have to back-up and redo. I paid $2600 for it in 2015 and in 5+ years have only had minimal tune-up work to do on it even with putting it through an absolute beating. A comparable zero-turn would have been $4-5k and I wouldn't have been able to do some of the things I do with my GT.

If you're only mowing, the trade-off is a ZT is more expensive, but faster mowing. The GT is cheaper but slower. Time is money for some, but mowing is my relaxing time.

One other thing to think about is the deck width. A 54" deck is actually over 60" with the side discharge and deck lips. If your gates or trailer are 5' or less, it's a tight squeeze. There is a point when the wider deck slows you down instead of speeds you up if you're mowing around obstacles.

Good luck.
 
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   #4  

5030

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Banana Republic of Amerika
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Keep in mind that most ZT are solid ride so bumpy terrain equates to a rough ride. There are exceptions, but you will pay for them. The high end Ferris has suspension and so does the Kubota diesel ZT but be prepared to take out a second mortgage for either one.
 
  
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#5  
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N80

N80

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@BF2011 Very good info. I'm leaning that way. No narrow gates to worry about.

@5030 That level ZT is way beyond my current means or needs. I may borrow a friends garden tractor and see how it does.
 
   #6  

5030

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Beyond my means as well. I just keep running my old trustworthy M60 Tank and call it good. Added a suspension seat so my kidneys survive.
 
   #7  

blacktruck

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Texarkana, TX
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Cub cadet 2450 and several older Ford LGTs
I have 3 or 4 acres I normally mow with a 45hp utility tractor and 6' rotary cutter which is not exactly 'lawn' but more like lawn than field. (I have mowed this with someone else's JD yard tractor and it did okay). I also have the yard around my cabin which I push mow. Getting tired of push mowing and the tractor + rotary cutter is not ideal for the job because there are lots of obstacles and the grass doesn't look great when I'm done. Ruts up the grass sometimes if it isn't perfectly dry too.

Thinking about a ZT but cost and the bouncy terrain have me concerned. Plus ZT isn't useful for much else.

So my question is this, does anyone have a recommendation on brand/model of large yard tractor (minimum 48" deck, prefer larger) that cost significantly less than a ZT and does most of what a ZT can do. I know tight turns will not be a strong point for the lawn tractor and I'm aware it will likely be slower. (But I'm thinking the less-than-smooth terrain of my lawn-fields will slow the ZT down anyway).

Any advice much appreciated.
Since you asked.
If I were mowing this regularly, I would be using a ZT mower. For the most part they only do one thing but if the thing you are needing is mowing, they do that very well. In the case of obstacles, the ZT will make much shorter work of your grass cutting duties. Several of the newer models of the ZT are equipped with suspension to smooth out the imperfections in your yard. If you are set on a tractor, get a subcompact diesel powered model. Find a dealer you can work with that is easy to access and that will be your best choice.
 
  
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#8  
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N80

N80

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Subcompact diesels cost as much as nice z turns. I already have a 45hp tractor with loader.
 
   #9  

4570Man

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Mowing 4 acres on a 48” lawn tractor doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. I’d way rather have a 60” ZT. If that’s not in the budget I’d look for a finish mower for the tractor. It wouldn’t help the rutting problem but it would be better around obstacles and the cut quality is good.
 
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   #10  

coobie

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Beyond my means as well. I just keep running my old trustworthy M60 Tank and call it good. Added a suspension seat so my kidneys survive.
Those cute little M60 tank mowers are ok for short grass small acre use but taller grass more acres need a diesel Kubota ZTR..

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