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Old 04-08-2015, 06:59 PM
 
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I am buying a house on 3.6 acres of yard, it's all fairly flat, lots of little trees planted all over. Going to need something bigger than the walk behind I've got now. I've heard that zero turn mowers do a better job, and obviously they are faster. A garden tractor, however, I could put a plow on in the winter (this is Wisconsin). Could you all give me some input here, what do I do?!
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:24 PM
 
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With that much yard, a zero turn would be much faster to mow, but the key factor I looked at in a similar situation was how much driveway did I have to clear in the winter. Wound up buying a John Deere larger lawn tractor and a snow thrower attachment for the front end to clear the long paved driveway. I spend a little more time mowing but one trick I did was install a 12 volt outlet on the dash of the lawn tractor and then set up an regular portable XM radio with nascar sound deading headphones from Radio Shack and listen to XM radio old time radio shows as I mow. Makes the time spent on mowing go a lot faster. You could also attach a self powered pull behind mower as my next door neighbor did to his lawn tractor so he mows almost twice as much with each pass.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:44 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
30,129 posts, read 66,422,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth23 View Post
I am buying a house on 3.6 acres of yard, it's all fairly flat,

A garden tractor, however, I could put a plow on in the winter (this is Wisconsin).
Could you all give me some input here, what do I do?!
You could justify having BOTH; maybe even going up to a CUT
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:33 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
25,008 posts, read 42,789,779 times
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Really tough to justify the cost / maintenance of two machines (one of each).

I would get a compact Diesel tractor with 3pt (snow blower and 'finish' mower) and loader.
Diesel is so much quieter and cheaper total cost of use (takes MUCH less fuel and can use 'alternative diesel' / brew your own, and will last thousands of hours). Can get a PTO genset for tractor to watch NASCAR during power outage.

A Zero turn would mow much faster (I hate mowing... that is what animals are for... they are a PITA too)

A std garden tractor will not be good at moving much snow (or mowing).

If you have a long driveway... get an older 'rust-free' 4wd from SW USA and have HEAT for plowing. I have seen plow trucks for under $1000. Recently a Zero Turn Kubota Diesel for $2000 (with cracked block / freeze damage / EZ fix. )

I think you will need to build a very LARGE shop for all this stuff (will result in less area to mow and plow!).
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:01 AM
 
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The first thing I would do would be to determine what areas I could STOP mowing. I think creating wildflower meadows is preferable to lawn--and trails can be mowed through it for enjoyment. Doing that can also save a lot of time and expense in terms of mowing. Even if you don't seed the area for wildflowers, a grassland habitat can be attractive both visually and for wildlife. Plus, you'll be surprised at what comes up on its own.

As to your selection, though, it sounds like the snow removal aspect is a big concern, so you'd probably be better off with a garden tractor such as a John Deere. Pick the size which seems most appropriate. If you decide that you'd prefer something just for mowing, a zero turn, of course, would be best. I hope to buy a Hustler Z mower this year primarily because it's one of the few brands which has a rear discharge option. I think that will work better for my purposes since I primarily mow trails on my property, and a side-discharge mower tends to bunch up the grass clippings along my trails.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
16,263 posts, read 13,037,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth23 View Post
I am buying a house on 3.6 acres of yard, it's all fairly flat, lots of little trees planted all over. Going to need something bigger than the walk behind I've got now. I've heard that zero turn mowers do a better job, and obviously they are faster. A garden tractor, however, I could put a plow on in the winter (this is Wisconsin). Could you all give me some input here, what do I do?!
How long is the driveway? What kind of pavement do you have or is the driveway stone? You could have a house on 3.6 acres and a very short or very long driveway. Crushed rocks will sheer the pins in snow throwers.

If you plan on gardening and are into home improvement; possibly you might want to get a pickup truck - then you could get a plow for the truck. That way you could have your zero turn mower.

But 4WD trucks are expensive to operate and plows are not cheap. If you driveway isn't too long and you have good neighbors with plows; you could hire them to plow and still have your Zero turn mower.

Only the more expensive garden tractors are good at plowing snow. Many are simply too light - especially for a heavy, wet, snow. Many snow throwers also do not work great on heavy wet snows.

Anyway give us a little more information on the length and type of paving you have. Also let us know what else you plan on doing with a 'garden' tractor.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:15 AM
 
Location: NC
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Depends on whether you also want to be able tow something like a garden sprayer or a little cart behind the mower, in addition to having the snow blade. And how much snow you need to remove, since a little lawn tractor can't handle much. Other than that, I think a zero turn would be a lot more fun (but I suspect you could not let a youngster mow with it like you could a lawn tractor).
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:19 AM
 
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Thanks for everyone's input so far! The driveway is quite long, maybe just shy of 100 yards, ashfault. Someone mentioned building an extra shed - probably going to happen next year. I happen to drive a 4wd truck, but it's company owned, don't know that they'd allow me to put a plow on it, but that would be awesome!

I'm sure some of it will be made into garden space, but not a ton. Other than that I plan on keeping it mowed grass.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Midwest
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After just moving from 11 acres (that we kept ALL mowed) I can attest that zero turn are faster (took 5 1/2 hours to MOW it all) but they do not do double duty. Thank goodness we sold it when we sold the house. You are better off as others have said to buy a John Deere with attachments for snow and a front end loader attachment for mulch. We had garden beds throughout the 11 acres. I can drive a backhoe/loader but could never get the hang of the zero turn. If a branch catches one of the levers going under a tree it speeds the machine up and gets out of control quickly. My husband was able to master it but he said he would never buy another one...Having a machine I was afraid of did not allow me to cover for him when he was on a business trip. I loved my John Deere tractor, it was powerful and never failed to work. The front end loader attachment saves pitchforking mulch into a wheelbarrow or pull behind cart and in our opinion is a real timesaver!!
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:11 AM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,827,576 times
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I own three of these for my Landscape company. I don't need to snow blow down in the central valley of California.

However my uncle regularly takes one during winter to the mountains to clear his drive and property.

He even bought his own snow blower attachment for my machine. I'd charge him but he let's me and my family stay at the cabin free during the year.

Walker Manufacturing
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