What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris

steve31266

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  • / What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris
Just bought a 5 acre property, but about 2-3 acres of grass. There is light slope, perhaps a 3% grade, maybe 4 at worst? Also, several large oak trees, so there is lots of leaves and twigs on the ground in the fall and winter. Is tire traction going to be a problem? Do I need the widest tires I can get on a ZTR? The ground is also full of rocks, which tend to work their way above ground. Most of these rocks are about the size of a marble to a golf ball. I know I should remove these before running a ZTR over them, but I can't possibly find and remove them all over 2-3 acres. So, what kind of ZTR will withstand all these rocks and sticks?

I have a John Deere dealer in my town, but also dealers for Kubota and Exmark within 50 miles, and a Toro dealer about 60 miles away. I figured on buying one of these four brands just because I can take it do a dealer for service.
Thanks
 

cpurvis

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  • / What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris
Short answer? None, if you're going to hit those rocks regularly.

Golf ball sized rocks would be rough on a bush hog. Marble size rocks might make lethal projectiles.

I think they make spring-tooth rakes that would do a pretty good job of gathering up the majority of the rocks.
 

StarTech

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  • / What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris
For the rocks why not hire a local kid or group of kids to pick them up every so often. That was one my first jobs when I was in school and was happy to get a little extra cash for treats. But of course kids are on the lazy side now a days when compared to 40+ years ago.
 

rdedrick

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  • / What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris
Get or rent a good size roller. One of those you fill with water and drive them into the ground.
 

SHB

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  • / What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris
I will probably catch some flack for this... We have about 12 acres that I try to keep free of briars and high weeds, it’s all former pasture, some slopes up to 20 degrees or so. When we moved here it hadn’t been cleared for years, in some places the briars were over my head. So I bought a 2009 bad boy zero turn mower at an estate sale for $2K, deck is built like a tank. Changed the turf tires to lugged tractor tires, and went to work on the fields. It wasn’t fast, but over the course of 2 years I worked through it. Had to replace one spindle after I ran into a chunk of 2” pipe that was covered with weeds, couple of belts, one set of blades (were pretty worn when I got it). Knocked a baffle loose under the deck one time on a stump the power company was kind enough to leave me, welded it back up. In the process I have run over all kinds of rocks, branches up to 2” (no problem if somewhat rotten) and the mower just keeps cutting. We live in a very isolated area, so throwing debris isn’t an issue. The ZTR works great under and around trees, much better solution than a bush hog. I had thought about a rotary cutter for my skid steer, but the operating cost is much higher - mower parts are cheap compared to heavy equipment parts. I did add an inclinometer to the mower so I can better gage slopes, and am very careful on the steeper areas to always mow up / down the slope and watch my speed. Biggest headache was finding stray barbed wire and dropped hardware after the power company rebuilt the power lines. Best tool is a ½” impact wrench, can get the blades off in seconds (great for removing said barbed wire). Always keep a spare set of blades, that way I can just change blades when the cut gets fuzzy, rather than having to stop and sharpen. Now the fields are clear, I can mow it all in a weekend if it doesn’t rain.
 

bertsmobile1

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  • / What ZTR to buy, 2-3 acres with light slope, and lots of debris
Get a rake and a used mower with the highest cutting height
Some of the commercial units will cut as high as 5"
Start by cutting weekly at 5" to get it under control
Drop the deck height till you start to find the debris then get stuck into it with the rake.

From here on in it will depend upon what you want to do with the grass .
If it is just for looking at then just cut above the remaining rock height.
If it is green on the top the eyes will not see the debris underneath.
If you intend to play croquette on it then continue with the cut rake / cut rake regeime till it is 1/2" tall .

I for one can never see the fascination of acres of unproductive high maintenance grass, unless you live some where that needs clear line of sight to mow down the hoards of attackers with th 2 M60's at each corner of the rear of the house
 
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