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Old 04 August 2007, 09:15   #1
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Lawn tractors

Anyone know anything about lawn tractors, or ride-on mowers?

I'm looking for a second hand one to help my father in law tame a scrubby paddock. At the moment he gets a man in a couple times a year to strim it, but otherwise it's pretty wild.

There seem to be quite a few around on Ebay, but I don't want to take a complete punt and end up with something that won't do the job.

What should I look out for or avoid?

Ta!

John
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Old 04 August 2007, 09:33   #2
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Buy a goat!!!

Seriously they are a load of hassle unless you like tinkering all the time.

It all depends what you want to do - do you want it as a lawn or just keep it manageable???

Maybe you should just organise one of these - would save a lot of work!!!

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Old 04 August 2007, 09:58   #3
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Yup, I've just bought a new one and had the previous one for 25 years. The one I've replaced uses a Foote gearbox which I've broken internally several times and I've plit the casing twice. I'd give a Foote gearbox a miss if it's a few years old.

The new tractor has a front mulching deck and the previous one has a central, between the wheels, side exit deck.

On balance, I think I prefer the side exit deck. You can mow and at each pass the cuttings are shifted across which leaves the area pretty clean and if you want the grass lifted you only have to clear up the final strip. There is obviously a limit to this if the grass is left to get very long.

You have to work out a strategy for cutting because you can end up throwing the cuttings over your paths and garden.

With the mulching deck the grass is left below the deck and doesn't get thrown out at all but the tractor wheels run over it and compress it into a bit of a sludge. The wheels also pick it up and it becomes a tyre. It eventually breaks away and leaves a sticky strip of mulched grass as the tyre rolls off.

If you want to have the grass lifted you can do this 3 ways; 1) a collector can be mounted on some mowers which will collect the mulched cuttings,
2) the side exit deck will often come with a chute from the deck exit to a couple of bins mounted on the rear of the tractor,
3) use a rake and a wheelbarrow.

If the area to be cut is largeish, say 0.5 of an acre or more, collecting the grass will quickly produce a mound of waste grass and it becomes a bit smelly as it rots down. It will not have nearly enough time to rot down between regular cutting so the mound grows with the passing of the season.

If the land is a bit rough and/or sloping, the normal grass tyres on a two wheel drive tractor may not give you the traction you need to climb even a small gradient because they are designed to spread the load and not damage the grass with their tread. This was the case with my old tractor and I had to fit some knobbleys to make it usable. The new one is 4 wheel drive.

There are alternative transmissions, manual and hydrostatic.
The hydrostatic type use hydraulic motors so there is no need for a clutch and the deck can be driven at cutting speed while the tractor can be driven to suit the grass.

With the manual type, because the cutting deck needs the motor to be run at high speed, depending on which gear you have selected, you can shoot off like a rocket so control can be a bit of a challenge.

However, if the grass cutting is in long runs then the manual machine can be a good bet because the throttle is set and it drives itself whereas the hydrostatic drive requires the driver to use a foot throttle as in a car. Using a foot throttle can become a bit wearying after bumping around for an hour or so.

With a manual machine 12hp is plenty but with a hyrdostatic drive 16hp is better.

John, I'll pm you my pnone number and you can phone if you would like to chat.
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Old 04 August 2007, 10:14   #4
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Do you have a quad? You can get attachments to tow behind it.
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Old 04 August 2007, 10:26   #5
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If it's a fairly rough paddock you might find garden mowers struggle with it. If the growth is fairly hardcore and you're not concerned about a putting green finish you're probably better off going for a flail based topper like this on the back of a small tractor like a kubota mini

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NEW-1-05M-FLAI...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 04 August 2007, 10:42   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
Buy a goat!!!

Seriously they are a load of hassle unless you like tinkering all the time.
They had a couple of borrowed Shetland ponies for a couple of years and they did a reasonable job, but I don't think that livestock is an option right now.

Don't want anything that's lots of hassle though . . .

John
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Old 04 August 2007, 10:45   #7
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John, I'll pm you my pnone number and you can phone if you would like to chat.
Ta. I'll give you a call. Had a feeling this might turn out to be slightly more complicated than anyone realised!

John
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Old 04 August 2007, 10:58   #8
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Send a message via Skype™ to Limey Linda
Another alternative, if you do not care about appearance, which I use, is buy a pump up pressure sprayer and spray with a non ground contaminating weedkiller such as Round Up. ( buy the concentrate and mix yourself it is much cheaper) This is the stuff that is used to kill marijuana fields. If you do it before scrub gets more than 6 inches high then there in no clean up.
Cheers.
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Old 04 August 2007, 11:51   #9
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Quote:
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to help my father in law tame a scrubby paddock.

i rekomend ajunt orinj. itt werrkt wunders inn vietnamm



Quote:
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What should I look out for
snaiks espeshully annaconders

gaRf
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Old 04 August 2007, 12:17   #10
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My God .. poor John Kennet - alll he wants is a a bit advice on what to buy and it ends up with chapter and verse on grass cutting.


I have about 2 acres of grass and I went for the Husquana with the Koehler engine, It takes me about 1 hour to cut the lawn and cuttings come out the back into the bin which you can empty without getting off the machine. Just choose an appropriate part of the garden you dont like, and empty the cuttings on it.It has twin counter-rotating cutters ,takes about 4 liters to do the 2 acres. Cost new two years ago about 1800 euros. Cutter drive belt breaks every year- hydostatic drive belt still ok. Top speed about 20 mph .
Be careful of heavy machines as when the ground wet they tend to sink and leave wheel marks.

Advoid second hand machines unless you know the pedigree. Best thing to do is to wait for an elderly relative /or persons whose husband has just kicked the bucket and offer to take it off their hands for a pittance.

Jonathan
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