Advice please

   / Advice please #1  


Elite Member
Nov 24, 2012
Near Johannesburg MI but in the middle of nowhere
2019 LS XR4140 HST Cab; 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX; 2021 Bad Boy 54" ZT Elite
I have about 1.5 acres of grass to mow. I currently use a Husqvarna 48" rider and it takes me 1.5 hrs to complete the job, I have about 2 dozen trees, a 55x75 pond, and a short fence line to deal with. I believe with a ZT I could cut my mowing time in half. I mow about 16 times a year. I am in my late sixties so I need something that will last 15 years. Based on my expected 12 hours of mowing per year, one of the cheap ($3000?) ZT's might be OK. I have a guy who will cut my lawn for $70. Over 15 years that would cost me over $15k. (I assume that any price increases in the mowing service are going to be about equal to the cost to maintain a ZT) Looks like a no brainer to buy a ZT. Hours saved per year, 12...hours saved over 15 years, 180. The first question is which one? The second, is it worth spending another $1000-1500 to get a better one? BTW, I got a 60" mmm when I bought my JD855 but it is too large to fit in a couple of places and not easy to put on or remove.

I have a lot of leaves to deal with. Too many for the rear bagger to deal with effectively. I started using a commercial backpack blower to blow the leaves but that is nearly a five hour job each time and I need do it twice each fall. I was able to get an old 8HP walk behind leaf blower at an auction but it takes almost as long as the backpack blower. I thought about making a "pusher" that would fit on the FEL to move the piles of leaves as I have an area to move them onto (100 yard shooting range) The pusher would not need to be 100% effective as I could bag, mulch or blow what little leaves remained. See idea below...Would likely use a frame with wire or plastic netting (deer fence) instead of plywood and HDPE plastic skids.

leaf pusher - Bing video

On another thread, I saw the Cyclone Rake. With the number of trees to deal with, I wonder if it will be a PITA to use? If it would work, It should reduce my leaf pickup chores from 10 hours a year to 2 hours a year. Figure a Commander model at $1600. Time saved over 15 years 120 hours. The other advantage of the Cyclone Rake is I would blow fewer leaves into the pond.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?
   / Advice please #2  
Shooterdon: Here's something to throw out in your way: I know you're trying to cut your mowing time down and certainly a zero turn would do that. However, zero turns do not like slopes that are usually found around pond areas - like those of pond dams. I live on country property that has a pond, and I have given up on the idea of a zero turn. There are tractor type lawn mowers that move very quickly these days. I'd expect your Husqvarna isn't of the garden tractor variety, and if it was, it should be able to have some mobility (quickness) about it.

I have a sub-compact tractor (Massey Ferguson GC1715) that I purchased a Woods 54 inch rear discharge mower for. It's not that difficult to attach to my tractor and it readily uses the 540 rpm your tractor should have too. I still use my 50 inch cutting deck Simplicity to do the trim work, but once the trim work is done, it's Woods time. With the speed of the GC1715 and the width of the Woods mower, I can make short work of my mowing out around the pond. I use the Woods mower during the fall to help round up the leaves, then rake them into the garden where I then mulch them with the mower. I too am looking at a leaf vacuum system to help me with the unrelenting leaves that fall on my property from my neighbor's property.

Perhaps this may give you some ideas to help you keep your property up. Oh yeah, I also have a John Deere 322 garden tractor with full hydraulics front and rear where I have mounted an old Haban 5 ft sickle mower on the rear. It really helps to keep the pond trimmed around the edges.
   / Advice please
  • Thread Starter
Windcatcher, the pond is of no concern. There is no slope into it. I have a two foot lip where the liner sits and gravel on the rubber. No danger of fallling in unless I do something really careless.
   / Advice please #4  
Whups. We have different definitions of a pond. Mine is an earthen dam type of pond. Your pond is made of man made materials. They both hold water, but have very different characteristics.
   / Advice please #5  
I would suggest a zt more in the $5000-6000 range due to better features mainly heavier drive unit which would be more likely to last several years over the entry level consumer mowers. You could also use the deck to blow/mulch the leaves into piles that would be easier to handle or even push with your tractor. There may also be an option for a bagger unit for the ZT which you could collect leaves and then dump them where ever you want them.
   / Advice please #6  
My employer has several leaf plows. They are all similar to these. Works pretty darn well. But I'd rather bag them with a cyclone rake type device then blow and push, blow and push....

I'v also seen baggers on ZTRs. My wife's church had one. That worked great, too.
   / Advice please #8  
My vote is the Grasshopper with the bagger. You could probably have a used one for 4K. I have a Dixie chopper with a bagger and I wish the bagger was on my Grasshopper. Reason one the Dixie chopper is short on power to run the blower and the Grasshopper has loads of power. Reason 2 I like my Grasshopper a lot better. I could probably cut that yard in 30 minuets on my Grasshopper assuming there’s not a lot of obstacles.
   / Advice please #9  
Walker ghs zero turn with a big hard bagger tank on back. Guy I worked for had one.

I have a cyclone rake with my bx1860 and 48" mmm. Works GREAT. Only complaint- get the biggest capacity available if it's for leaves. It fills fast. Grass doesn't fill it as fast, but I keep mine trimmed well. Stupid zoysia gets a fungus if I don't bag.
   / Advice please #10  
I can cut the first picture in 8 minuets and the second picture in 30 minuets. IMG_1142.JPGIMG_4348.JPG
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