What is needed to mow 1 1/2 acre lawn?

I just purchased a home with 1 1/2 acres of fairly level and open lawn. Any information that will help me make a good decision on what to purchase will be appreciated. Do I need a lawn tractor or a riding lawn mower. How much HP is needed? How wide a cut? Any thoughts on which brands to consider or stay away from would be appreciated.
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What is your time worth and what kind of budget are you looking at ? If money is not the object then a zero turn mower may be worth looking at. If money is tight then you may want to look at a John Deere Lt 120 or something in that series. Get the largest cut mower you can affoard if you want to save time. Some of the 3 bladed mowers do not do as even of a cut as the two bladed mowers. YOu may have to make a tradeoff as to what is more important , looks or time. Also to keep the lawn in good shape you may want to make sure you have enough mower to pull an airerator and other things.
YOU could get by with a Murry 38 inch cut but you may have to replace it in a few years. I don;t think I would get one for that size of lawn. A few years back my dad had a Murry about that size and had about 2 acres to mow. It would do the job but it took a while to do it. As he was retired it did not mater how long it took. Also had to replace it every few years. He had the money to get a good mower but did not want to spend it on a mower.So he made "payments" on a good one by buying several that did not last as long.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

A tractor+mowing deck will slow you down if you have many gardens, trees and large rocks to go around. Tractors are best for long, straight cuts such as a football field. For reference, my old Craftsman "12.5 hp" (now labeled 18 hp!) moves along at 5.2 mph. It's supposed to be a 38" cut and I overlap 50%. You can figure how many acres per hour it will cut from this, assuming no inside corners or gardens to go around.
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 11:51:30 GMT, "Ralph Mowery"

You can get a lot, an awful lot, of good info here, but I again suggest borrowing asking your neighbor for advice, and borrowing your neighbor's mower to get first hand info. It's also a good way to strike up a friendship with him. (Many/most people feel better about someone they have lent something to than they do about someone they have borrowed something from, even if they needed to borrow it..)
However since your lawn is so big, and people are talking about mowers wearing out, I'd ask only to mow the part around my front door, or a 6 foot strip paralleling the driveway or something. He might say, No, do the whole lawn, but I still might only do enough to tell if I want exactly his type or something different.
There is a problem. If you ask his advice, as well as his lawn mower (and you'll get advice either way.) and then you don't take it at all, and probably if you don't explain why you didn't take it entirely, he might not like that. Friends of mine, years ago, asked what brand of color tv to buy, and then I said, Just don't get mechanical tuning. And what did they buy? Mechanical tuning. I was mildly annoyed, but we'd been friends for years, so it wasn't my first impression of them.

You should pay attention to what this guy says. If you check his name, you'll know he is an authority on mowers.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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I would look and see if there is a Dixie Chopper Dealer near. Or go to www.DixieChopper.com just get the best the first time and save a lot of hassle. They make a Residential Model now that is great for places like that.
From Mel & Donnie in Bluebird Valley
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get a comercial zero turn like scag or dixie chopper. and buy the best seat . twice as fast as a riding tractor ,,more comfortable .lucas
http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm
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Suggestion: -- Once you've moved in and started landscaping you may find that you use the tractor as much to pull a garden cart or other accessories as for mowing. My preferred solution has been the best John Deere lawn tractor I can afford, plus a Rubbermaid trailer, to which I've added side posts and various brackets to hold tools. I've got one acre, and use the lawn tractor for moving landscape timbers, pavers, bags of fertilizer, towing a sprayer, lawn sweeper, etc. I use the tractor for non-mowing purposes about 75% of the time. I've also got an attachment so that I can put on a ball hitch to move a couple of light-weight boat trailers.
The ZTRs that I've seen don't have a towing capability, but I haven't spent much time looking at them.
I would only consider a ZTR if (1) I had a very large number of obstacles to mow around, and (2) it had a towing capability.
Also, I seem to be the only one on this newsgroup that doesn't see any reason to pay extra for a hydrostatic transmission. I would rather put that money into a larger mower or other accessories, such as a canopy. Regards --

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On 10/7/2005 12:53 AM US(ET), Craig Davis took fingers to keyboard, and typed the following:

If you like walking and have a lot of time to mow the lawn, buy a walk behind lawn mower. If you want to ride and cut down the time, buy a riding lawn mower. If you want to have a garden and want to attach garden implements to the mower, like a tiller, etc,. and/or you live in the northern part of North America and want to use a snow plow, or snow blower attached to the mower, buy a lawn or garden tractor.
--
Bill

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