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I've got to cut about 2+ acres of Floriduh grass at my place.  Since nothing has more grass flakes than the lawn care industry here, it's time I do it myself.  Zero Turn mowers are a necessity, as my property is infested with Cabbage Palm trees.  Pro-sumer Zero Turn grade cutters are my intention.  Current favorites are the Ariens Ikon XD 52 and the Toro Time Cutter 50.

As usual, the more I learn, the less I know. Since all human knowledge, and then some, is resident in this group, I hereby invoke the Sacred Summoning of Knowledge:
<Dumb Question Here> Anarchy. 

Do your worst. 

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Landscape manager at a dc college,  owned a landscape company in Orlando, and worked  for Disney Hort department...

i would consider a used commercial grade mower. something with less than 3000 hours   Deck size no larger than 52”. My neighbor has an older toro time cutter 42.  It served him well. I would not have been apply with it, bUt he was.   We use scags at work,  I’ve owned exmarks and walker branded mowers 

my current personally owned mower is a walker Ghs 42 walker from the early 90’s the hour meter stopped working at 7000 hours.  Motor has been freshened up andthe the frame body is just now starting to rust.

nice thing about the walker is that it has an out front mower deck. Which means you can really slide it under neath overhanging shrubs, much lower center of gravity,  newer models have flip up mower deck to make blade changes easier.  Down side is that doing work on the engine  is a bit difficult

scag and exmark are both great mowers as well.  If you are mechanically  inclined. Don’t worry about a dealer network.  

Keep it clean. Blow it off after cutting,  hose it down every now and again  if you can store it under cover  o matter what you buy will last a long time.   Try a test drive.  And if you can I would spend the extra money on a suspension seat.  The short wheel base of the  ztr will not  do your back any favors if your land has bumps and undulations   Figure for two acres you are going to spend about an hour on the machine  smoother ground equals faster cut. 

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I have 2 neighbors with the Ariens, They are both in the shop constantly for repairs, I hd a nother neighbor with omething like a Dixie trimmer. It sux.

 Get yourself a Sgag, Comfortable, fast dependable, and a really nice cut.

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Largely Bahia, some Bermuda, some gawd only knows what.  Been warned away from St Augustine.  Plan to tow a seed spreader behind the rig to overseed in Spring whatevah type I decided to go with. (Recommendations of low maintenance grass?)  My dearly departed grass guy cut the grass right to the nubs and killed off a large part of the lawns. So I'm working on restoring the lawn. 

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My SIL and her dad owned a huge landscaping and maintenance company.

Everything Marcjsmith says is exactly what she told me years ago.

Listen to him and you will be happy..

 

Or as an alternative, you could do bottom jobs without a vac.  That nasty grass will never grow back once you mix in enough bottom paint dust into the soil..

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1 hour ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

I've got to cut about 2+ acres of Floriduh grass at my place.  Since nothing has more grass flakes than the lawn care industry here, it's time I do it myself.  Zero Turn mowers are a necessity, as my property is infested with Cabbage Palm trees.  Pro-sumer Zero Turn grade cutters are my intention.  Current favorites are the Ariens Ikon XD 52 and the Toro Time Cutter 50.

As usual, the more I learn, the less I know. Since all human knowledge, and then some, is resident in this group, I hereby invoke the Sacred Summoning of Knowledge:
<Dumb Question Here> Anarchy. 

Do your worst. 

 

1 hour ago, Marcjsmith said:

Landscape manager at a dc college,  owned a landscape company in Orlando, and worked  for Disney Hort department...

i would consider a used commercial grade mower. something with less than 3000 hours   Deck size no larger than 52”. My neighbor has an older toro time cutter 42.  It served him well. I would not have been apply with it, bUt he was.   We use scags at work,  I’ve owned exmarks and walker branded mowers 

my current personally owned mower is a walker Ghs 42 walker from the early 90’s the hour meter stopped working at 7000 hours.  Motor has been freshened up andthe the frame body is just now starting to rust.

nice thing about the walker is that it has an out front mower deck. Which means you can really slide it under neath overhanging shrubs, much lower center of gravity,  newer models have flip up mower deck to make blade changes easier.  Down side is that doing work on the engine  is a bit difficult

scag and exmark are both great mowers as well.  If you are mechanically  inclined. Don’t worry about a dealer network.  

Keep it clean. Blow it off after cutting,  hose it down every now and again  if you can store it under cover  o matter what you buy will last a long time.   Try a test drive.  And if you can I would spend the extra money on a suspension seat.  The short wheel base of the  ztr will not  do your back any favors if your land has bumps and undulations   Figure for two acres you are going to spend about an hour on the machine  smoother ground equals faster cut. 

I question the deck size limitation at 52"  IF the terrain is flat bigger would be better, time effiency wise.  If the maker concentrate on making their 52 inch units the very best then go that route.  Disclaimer is I had a rolling  hilly 1 acre that I cut with a 43 inch deck.

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I don’t have personal experience, but regional landscape company that mows our company property uses commercial series Gravely(s). I believe it is an Ariens brand. Caveat that we are in Wisconsin, so use is maybe 7.5 months rather than year round. From casual conversations, the commercial Gravely products have a good reputation. 

No connection, though Ariens is a Wisconsin company.  That  may partly explain popularity around here, though I expect most lawncare companies look at ROI/reliability more than regional ties. 

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10 hours ago, warbird said:

 

I question the deck size limitation at 52"  IF the terrain is flat bigger would be better, time effiency wise.  If the maker concentrate on making their 52 inch units the very best then go that route.  Disclaimer is I had a rolling  hilly 1 acre that I cut with a 43 inch deck.

   I’ve found that even on flat ground, the 52 offers the best cut/productivity.  Once you get up into the 60+ inch range you really need a super flat surface, think sports playing field flat, to avoid scalping the turf on the outer edges of the deck.      I’ve owned ztrs, walk behinds, tractor style, triplex reel mowers from 36” to 72”.  From a residential point of view over 52”  I was never happy with the cuts.  At GU. We had a 72” toro groundsmaster that we used on the football field and it was great,  but anywhere else it sucked.  Our 60” scab does ok on our flat turf areas, but even then I notice scalping  and some uneven cutting.

alos keep in mind that ztrs, are very time pressure sensitive.  You get one rear tire or one front tire with too high or to low of a pressure the mower won’t sit level ergo the deck won’t sit level. And you end up with uneven cut.  The wider the cut swath, the more this being out of level is noticeable.

also. Going from a 52 to a 60, usually ends up with a greater hp engine, which means higher cost as well... 0.5 hp per inch of cut is a good safe guideline as well.

Just my opinions (which when added to 5 buck will get you a Starbucks) I think 48-52” is a good size for larger residential property in regards to cut quality and speed.  Yeah a 36” will cut much better but who wants to  sit on a mower for 2 hours and another 30 min for trimming and blowing.   

Also cup holder,  novel idea,  but all the bouncing around beer ends up going flat or spilling.  Just pound one, get on the mower and start cutting...

if I was up north sitting on a couple acres I’d consider a lawn and garden tractor as opposed to a ztr, for the simple fact that I could put a plow blade on it for snow removal.

productivity mower times

http://www.encoreequipment.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Mowing-Times-and-Productivity.pdf

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11 hours ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

Largely Bahia, some Bermuda, some gawd only knows what.  Been warned away from St Augustine.  Plan to tow a seed spreader behind the rig to overseed in Spring whatevah type I decided to go with. (Recommendations of low maintenance grass?)  My dearly departed grass guy cut the grass right to the nubs and killed off a large part of the lawns. So I'm working on restoring the lawn. 

You might want to over seed right about now with perennial rye grass. you could do a mix of white clover too, for the bees.

Another suggestion is to get 0 lift or "sand blades". They're 2 sided, and last at least 4 times longer than the "gator" blades I'd been using before.

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12 hours ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

There are drink holders.  But like my neighbor, I plan to install an insulated gimbled drink holder, so I will never spill a drop of my beer.  ;)

FYI zero turn means both hands on the controls. No hands available to drink beer. Unless you have hands large enough to span the gap between the 2 controls and have a long enough straight away to sneak in a sip. Otherwise it’s a pain. Plus a little wind and you have grass clipping in your beer. 

And. If you are thinking of towing a spreader. Make sure your unit will handle the weight and that hitch is comparable with your spreader, trailer, whatever you think you want to tow. Mine was not, I had to have my nephew do a G job at work and fab something up for me. 

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26 minutes ago, Marcjsmith said:

   I’ve found that even on flat ground, the 52 offers the best cut/productivity.  Once you get up into the 60+ inch range you really need a super flat surface, think sports playing field flat, to avoid scalping the turf on the outer edges of the deck.      I’ve owned ztrs, walk behinds, tractor style, triplex reel mowers from 36” to 72”.  From a residential point of view over 52”  I was never happy with the cuts.  At GU. We had a 72” toro groundsmaster that we used on the football field and it was great,  but anywhere else it sucked.  Our 60” scab does ok on our flat turf areas, but even then I notice scalping  and some uneven cutting.

alos keep in mind that ztrs, are very time pressure sensitive.  You get one rear tire or one front tire with too high or to low of a pressure the mower won’t sit level ergo the deck won’t sit level. And you end up with uneven cut.  The wider the cut swath, the more this being out of level is noticeable.

also. Going from a 52 to a 60, usually ends up with a greater hp engine, which means higher cost as well... 0.5 hp per inch of cut is a good safe guideline as well.

Just my opinions (which when added to 5 buck will get you a Starbucks) I think 48-52” is a good size for larger residential property in regards to cut quality and speed.  Yeah a 36” will cut much better but who wants to  sit on a mower for 2 hours and another 30 min for trimming and blowing.   

Also cup holder,  novel idea,  but all the bouncing around beer ends up going flat or spilling.  Just pound one, get on the mower and start cutting...

if I was up north sitting on a couple acres I’d consider a lawn and garden tractor as opposed to a ztr, for the simple fact that I could put a plow blade on it for snow removal.

productivity mower times

http://www.encoreequipment.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Mowing-Times-and-Productivity.pdf

Thanks,  good points.

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12 hours ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

Largely Bahia, some Bermuda, some gawd only knows what.  Been warned away from St Augustine.  Plan to tow a seed spreader behind the rig to overseed in Spring whatevah type I decided to go with. (Recommendations of low maintenance grass?)  My dearly departed grass guy cut the grass right to the nubs and killed off a large part of the lawns. So I'm working on restoring the lawn. 

St Augustine cuts easy but loves water.  If you want lower maintenance and don’t need the golf course look you can get Bahia seed,  it’s very slow to germinate though. Overtime, the Bermuda might start taking over as it’s a bit more aggressive and will spread faster.   Especially during the warmer months.

the down side to Having a mixed grass,  is to make sure you check Chemical labels when it comes to herbicide to ensure you won’t be killing weed and turf.

florida extension office has a lot of great free info. https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn-and-garden/yard-maintenance-and-care/ 

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I've pretty much determined that Florida grass is all wire, and dust collector.

I'd love to have a little patch of Fescue, or Kentucky Blue, but they won't grow where I am.

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I have good experience with Hustler ( from a Hustler dealer).  The Z is the midsize model. The smaller model is good too. Do some research, they make a private label brand. I don't recall the name, but simply a different color for much less money. It is a tan/brown color if I recall correctly. 

THe Super Z is a great machine, but more than needed for two acres. 

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21 hours ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

I've got to cut about 2+ acres of Floriduh grass at my place.  Since nothing has more grass flakes than the lawn care industry here, it's time I do it myself.  Zero Turn mowers are a necessity, as my property is infested with Cabbage Palm trees.  Pro-sumer Zero Turn grade cutters are my intention.  Current favorites are the Ariens Ikon XD 52 and the Toro Time Cutter 50.

As usual, the more I learn, the less I know. Since all human knowledge, and then some, is resident in this group, I hereby invoke the Sacred Summoning of Knowledge:
<Dumb Question Here> Anarchy. 

Do your worst. 

Hmm... First I'll disagree with your premise. For a cabbage palm infestation, you need a backhoe to get them out of the ground, a brush grapple to carry them off, and a swamp to toss them in. I've dealt with dozens of them that way so far. Still have hundreds to go.

Then you'll still need to mow. I'm on my second Scag, so obviously liked the first one. Mine's a little one at 48" but still cuts my lawn in about half the time that its predecessor took just because it can cut at a much faster speed. I like it. My neighbor has the 72" one. Super nice machine but he told me what it cost and you can get two like mine for about the same money. Yipes.

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12 minutes ago, Polytelum Tom said:

Hmm... First I'll disagree with your premise. For a cabbage palm infestation, you need a backhoe to get them out of the ground, a brush grapple to carry them off, and a swamp to toss them in. I've dealt with dozens of them that way so far. Still have hundreds to go.

Then you'll still need to mow. I'm on my second Scag, so obviously liked the first one. Mine's a little one at 48" but still cuts my lawn in about half the time that its predecessor took just because it can cut at a much faster speed. I like it. My neighbor has the 72" one. Super nice machine but he told me what it cost and you can get two like mine for about the same money. Yipes.

Red necks'll pay you in natty daddy's for cabbage palms, ya know. They say it's the same thing as hearts of palm you get from La-Choy.

 I dunno. I ate some. It tastes like.... It pretty much tastes like whatever you cook it in/with.

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2 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

Red necks'll pay you in natty daddy's for cabbage palms, ya know. They say it's the same thing as hearts of palm you get from La-Choy.

 I dunno. I ate some. It tastes like.... It pretty much tastes like whatever you cook it in/with.

I've offered mine for free on craigslist and Facebook and nobody wanted them. My neighbor did sell some of mine and some of his but the work of cleaning off the old branches and vines made it a pretty hard way to make a buck and he has better ways so stopped doing it.

The only time I ate it, swamp cabbage stew was awesome. Probably because it was filled with great stuff and had these fibrous, tasteless bits of palm heart in there.

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Ariens 54 xl here with a kohler. Had it for 6 yrs now Took my 3 acres mostly centipede from 3-4 hrs to 1.5 to 2 hrs. It gets ridden hard and put away wet. 

No major issues ...blades, oil changes, scarfing rollers etc. still on original belt. Did run into what turned out to be a fuel starvation issue this year. Intermittent misfire and down on power.  After a bunch of piddling around including plugs and a carb rebuild i found a bunch of junk in the fuel tank. If i had taken it in, might of come to that conclusion first but I enjoy piddling around. Got rid of that issue and good for another 6 years. Put a hitch on it to drag trailers etc. too

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  • 4 weeks later...

Did the deed: A Toro TimeCutter 50 with the Kohler engine. 

Wholly Carp, we PAY people to cut our grass with these things??? It should be the other way around: Never had so much fun cutting grass.  And I'm sure I can easily fix that downspout. 

The Toro looked to be the better machine, but what really sealed the deal was that the best mower shop in the area sells and services ONLY Toros. They also offered a lot of extra benis for the same price as Home Despot. 

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1 hour ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

Did the deed: A Toro TimeCutter 50 with the Kohler engine. 

Wholly Carp, we PAY people to cut our grass with these things??? It should be the other way around: Never had so much fun cutting grass.  And I'm sure I can easily fix that downspout. 

The Toro looked to be the better machine, but what really sealed the deal was that the best mower shop in the area sells and services ONLY Toros. They also offered a lot of extra benis for the same price as Home Despot. 

You cannot go wrong with local dealer service. The Toro is fine as are most others mentioned. I fit a cushion under the seat on the springs of my current steed which mellowed that rough ride. I'm always going too fast for a beer. You've pulled the trigger but if I ever need another, I'll get a front bladed rig for the increased reaching ability. 

Tractor therapy I calls it with a dollop of instant gratification.

Downspouts happen.

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I have been cutting my lawns since 1980s best move was getting a Toro Z time cutter 42 came with mulcher and bagger which I use it was a machine tested by consumer reports then I got it. Have done all maintenance parts are easy to get etc. Get a good set of Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones

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2 hours ago, Blue Crab said:

Tractor therapy I calls it with a dollop of instant gratification.

Downspouts happen.

Nuthin' like mowing down those damn hitchhiker plants.  Die, Die, Die!!!  ;)

And to be honest... the drink holder will hold nothing but water or gatorade. I'm way too old for such foolishness as alcohol and power equipment. Unfortunately, my neighbor hasn't quite learned enough of those lessons yet.

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cool,

watch your tire pressures  keep em under 20 for better traction and less compaction, and a better ride. also try to keep them the same pressure for a level cut

running equipment is therapy.  I'm stuck in the office most of the days,  but sometimes  I'll hop on a mower or when snowing, on plow just to break the boredom.  turn the phone off, turn the music on and veg for a couple hours.

have fun  be safe.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Man, that Zero-Turn is so cool!

Found out I unconsciously cut in a counter-clockwise direction. However, the Toro is engineered to best to use a clockwise cutting pattern.  No biggie, just an observation... and a lil' retraining

Next is a seed spreader for the new universal 2" hitch receiver. And... a roll bar. It was more than a little disconcerting to see that front wheel come off the ground, hesitate, then bang down.  Whew!

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1 hour ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

Man, that Zero-Turn is so cool!

Found out I unconsciously cut in a counter-clockwise direction. However, the Toro is engineered to best to use a clockwise cutting pattern.  No biggie, just an observation... and a lil' retraining

Next is a seed spreader for the new universal 2" hitch receiver. And... a roll bar. It was more than a little disconcerting to see that front wheel come off the ground, hesitate, then bang down.  Whew!

My first one didn't have a roll bar but I didn't know they even sell them without any more.

I got a plastic shade cover that attaches to the roll bar, a very welcome addition in the hot months.

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Be careful with the roll bar....don’t go under branches. Or that front wheel is gonna come way off the ground.

also remember the roll bar only works if you wear you seatbelt.  Otherwise it works like a guillotine when you fall off and the mower rolls in top of you 

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Well, hells, I do have my Live Oak grove that I have to duck under. Dat'd be baaad.

Marcjsmith, I owe you a dram of my Highland Single Malt Scotch for preventing me from having to learn that hard lesson on my own...

Pedagogical Tom:  Doooooooood, you do that to a fellow Florida Man?  ;)  You'll get that Sam's Club Whiskey that I won't use to start the the BBQ.  B)

 

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I actually had to learn it twice. I was mindlessly going around my well-worn track, just like I did with the previous mower, and even ducked for the branch, just like I always had. Then the back of the mower stopped and the front started rising rapidly. Startled heck out of me but I managed to start reversing before flipping the mower onto its back end. Went back to mindlessly mowing, got to another low branch, and... guess what happened? Not quite as startling the second time but that time the lesson stuck.

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6 hours ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

Marcjsmith, I owe you a dram of my Highland Single Malt Scotch for preventing me from having to learn that hard lesson on my own...

No worries.  I learned it the hard way on dad tractor bushhoggin.  The next trip out I took the chainsaw with me. So I could get closer to the trees.  I hated string trimming

ill take you up on the drink,  it only if we are sipping it in the cockpit of a boat. 

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35 minutes ago, Amati said:

I’m saving my pennies for this guy.  
 

https://egopowerplus.com/zero-turn-riding-mower-zt4204l/

I love my self propelled E Go push mower.  I can hear after using it without a noise reduction (and sweaty) headset.  And it doesn’t require any tuning up.  Whirrrrrrrr.....

We demoed the mean greenmowers.  https://meangreenproducts.com/nxr4852/. Very impressive line up   I’d love to have a couple in my fleet, but for us to set up the infrastructure and add circuits for charging plus the already pricy mower., puts it out of reach.    We are using greenworks battery blowers since dc is outlawing gas blowers. We are happy, their ztr looks promising, but a 12 hour recharge, 4 hour run time, and 20k price. Doesn’t really suit it for our use on campus right now.

 

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