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Old 03-01-2013, 06:17 PM
 
7,280 posts, read 10,247,356 times
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(Search isn't working so...) Have about 1/2 acre that needs attention. Some trees. The grass has been allowed to grow for a while, say 8-10" sometimes more and mixed with some weeds. The grass is a bit clumpy in that gophers are plentiful. No hills or watering system right now.

What I'm trying to accomplish: Get the grass manageable, smooth out the clumpy areas, maintain the area and maybe even dig out and smooth everything out. Also some general moving of dirt and garden supplies via a cart and things like that. I'm not going to be doing any small farming or that kind of thing.

Maybe I should turn everything over?

I thought about a riding mower/garden tractor and tow a box scraper. I am concerned that if I try to just mow the grass, the blades will hit where the gophers have dug up. Maybe that isn't something to worry about? I do have several solutions for the gophers going forward so I'm not including that here.

Lots of brands to consider and you always hear about Deere (probably for good reason?). I like the idea of a zero turn since there are some smaller areas I'd like to use it as well.

As a list:

1. Price range up to $2500 (giver or take a few hundred)
2. Used to do an initial management run, clumpy high grass, some gopher holes and pushed up dirt.
3. Maintain grass
4. Move dirt, landscaping supplies around with a cart
5. Ease of use/maintenance of the equipment.

Reliability is of course a factor but I know I'm not getting a 10k tractor for a $2500 price.

Any suggestions, especially geared to my objectives would be appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:43 PM
 
Location: In your head, rent free
14,888 posts, read 9,345,360 times
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Are you open to buying used?
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati, OH
1,718 posts, read 3,225,653 times
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Craftsman would be a good, cheaper alternative to brands like John Deere, Cub Cadet, etc. Turn Tight 46" Mower: Find More Yard Tractors at Sears That was has good reviews and is about $1000 less than your price limit. From the description, it seems to meet your criteria as well.

As for your gopher hole problem, I wouldn't worry about it. We used to have ground moles in our yard and our Yard Machines mower wouldn't even flinch.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
14,181 posts, read 8,481,791 times
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46" for a half an acre is overkill IMO. But I do like the Craftsman idea.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:48 AM
 
Location: Port St Lucie Florida
1,278 posts, read 3,410,634 times
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I bought a used Snapper 28 inch rear engine rider and I am sorry I did. It is hard to steer, and leaves streaks or lines in the grass with so many passes back and forth. I should have gotten something in the 40's. Alas, you get what you pay for. I will trade it at some lawn dealers place for a conventional rider.
Beware the front cover on many lawn tractors is fiberglass, one piece and if you crack it, be prepared to spend $400 for another one. I don't need headlights and they can drain the battery.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Port St Lucie Florida
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ps get something without gears to shift.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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the most important thing to consider is to be able to keep one hand free in order to drink a beer while mowing
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,630 posts, read 16,060,234 times
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I have five acres with plenty of trees and rocks. I have used and abused two Yard-Man tractors over the 35 to 40 years that we have lived here. I have always had great luck with MTD's 'Yard-Man' riding mowers. In 2001 MTD bought Troy-bilt. I see more Troy-bilt riding tractors on the market today and not as many Yard-Mans. Perhaps MTD is phasing out the Yard-Man name? Their Troy-bilt riding mowers look similar to the Yard-Man machines.

I know MTD also works with Craftsman. The problems I have with Craftsman are: The company is financially a little shaky – I would not want problems with warranties or parts an issue if something were to happen. Secondly; I have issues with them from way back in the 1970's - when I had my lawnmower shop (I know that times change - some of us do not).

I bought an Ariens last spring and do not like the mower. It is their 20 hp with a 46 inch mower. What sold me on the tractor was the fact that I option of going from froward to reverse while mowing. What I hold against the tractor is that it cuts too low for rocky terrain and the blade spindal housings are white metal – I broke one on my break-in first mowing.

I don't think that money always buys quality. I did sell one of the best mowers back in the 70's – Gravely. But one of my Gravelys, with attachments, could easily cost $5K. You can own five Yard-Mans for what that Gravely cost. The Gravely could push, skid, and garden much better – but the Yard-Mans can easily do their primary job of cutting grass and are more maneuverable.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:58 AM
 
427 posts, read 887,297 times
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The reliability of Deere riding mowers has been exceptional for me. I change the oil and sharpen the blade. And mine has lasted for 10 years and is still going. Deere L110.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:55 AM
 
7,280 posts, read 10,247,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMoreYouKnow View Post
Are you open to buying used?
Thanks everyone, all of those comments really helped. I'm going to order something this week.

I thought about used and found that used riding mowers cost within a few hundred dollars of new. I can fix cars, motorcycles and all that but there is something about this that makes me want to get a mower with a warranty so that should a major component go it might be inconvenience but not a big cost item. A push mower, sure but I think for this new is best.

I'll post back here on what I bought and some first impressions, I sure have enough work for it right off the bat.

Thanks again.
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