OT: Lawnmower advice

Getting round to that time of year again for battle to recommence with the lawn. Now my faithful Hayter rotary job has served reasonably well in the past[1], its 14" cut made short work of my previous lawn, and at worst would required three emptying sessions to do all the lawn.
Alas I think it may have met its match with the new lawn(s). Total area of grass is probably something like three quarters of an acre - mostly flat although bumpy in places, and some dodging among the trees. The prospect of pushing the beastie back and forth is not too bad[2], but I expect the 50 odd trips to empty the blighter might get tedious very quickly.
Hence what would you recommend? Are we into "sit on" mower territory here or would that be overkill? (not that I have any objection to overkill if it does the job well and quickly ;-))
[1] Once I worked out how to rig its auto adjusting throttle to run the machine a little faster so as to create enough airflow through it to not clog with cuttings every 10 yards!
[2] Although note I have note tried it yet!
--
Cheers,

John.

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Hmm. I reckon our lawn takes an hour with a 21" rotary. At walking pace that is around 4 miles. Nothing like 3/4 acre either!
After breaking various bones last year, I opted for a ride on. I ended up with a 36" double deck Jonsered (now Huskvarna I believe so there may be some deals about)
Finish is OK: stripes even! Cutting while cornering tends to overtrim on the outside. You still need your old mower to do the edges and tricky bits. The wider deck grounds readily on banks and bumps despite the jockey wheels which are intended to avoid this. Fuel consumption is around twice the old rotary. Not all ride on mowers have decks suitable for mulching. Electric start and headlights should you want to chase rabbits.
Price. I paid 1500ukp + VAT new. I was tempted by a 6 year old John Deere at a similar price.
Watch security aspects. These things are very attractive to the asset re-locators. You can purchase bolt down front wheel clamps for around 100ukp or DIY
If you look at the American sites you will find folk burbling on about their yards etc.
regards
--
Tim Lamb

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Tim Lamb wrote:

Yup, I gustimate with the 14" one I would be looking at a 7 mile walk without emptying it ;-)

What does the mulching do for you?

;-)
Yes good points... I may be able to arrange for it to live in a shed.
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

It recirculates the grass cuttings inside the deck till they are very small, and fall through the grass that's left, and riot away very quickly. So no need to collect the grass cuttings. It almost works quite well.

Headlights are useful as cutting a large area takes a heck of a long time. I tend to spend nearly a day on it. If thats NOT Saturday or Sunday, it might be a late evening mid week

That may not be enough. I lost my westw3ood via thieves who drove across a 10 acre field,and lifted it over a hedge..after forcing the shed door.

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Saves emptying the grass collector. Downside is that your wife may not care to have small bits of greenery walked into the house. Agriculturally speaking, you are carting off fertility which may need to be replaced to retain good growing conditions for grass. Weeds love it as they can survive in less fertile conditions. A compromise may be to collect and cart off the cuttings near the house and mulch the rest.
The Jonsered has a big plastic gismo which fits down the grass collecting chute and retains the cuttings on the deck where they get chimbled up and lost.

Hmm again. Mine attracted some gentlemen with bolt croppers and a large van. Storage, they are rather large and may need 1/4 of a normal garage.
regards

--
Tim Lamb

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writes

Probably more like 2 miles, unless you're very fast - and since that would be faster than the mower self-propels, you'd need to be pushing it, which makes it really very hard work...
cheers, clive
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Maybe it just seemed like 4 miles:-)
Mountfield Empress, probably 3mph. Much of that hour was carrying the grass to the compost heap.
regards
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Tim Lamb

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I don't cut as much as that but I wouldn't be without a sit-on. Some are rather better than others at gathering up the grass cuttings so if you don't want to just leave them lying around make it very clear to the dealer (or whoever) that you won't find a machine that only collects dry cuttings acceptable. My previous machine, a 10hp Murray, was like that (the Merkins tend to have dustbowls for lawns I believe) but in some other ways it was nicer than my current 12hp Lawnflite.
--
Roger Chapman

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Roger wrote:

Yup something that can deal with damp cuttings would be good - an area where the current one is poor.
Any idea what "direct collect" refers to as in:
http://www.screwfix.com/prods/72280/Landscaping/Landscaping-Power-Tools/Lawnmowers/76cm-12-5hp-MTD-Tractor-Mower ;jsessionid=IDP5NBNUORLNYCSTHZOCFFI#
I have seen some which reference a brush system... is this better or worse than a vacuum one I wonder?
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/72280/Landscaping/Landscaping-Power-Tools/Lawnmowers/76cm-12-5hp-MTD-Tractor-Mower ;jsessionid=IDP5NBNUORLNYCSTHZOCFFI#

About 1000% better.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

The direct collect system or the brush one?
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Cheers,

John.

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The powered brush - eg Westwood / Countax. They are the only ones that will properly collect with long lush or wet grass.
Tim..
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Have you thought about what you would do with the volume of grass if you do collect it? I had an acre garden at my last place and ended up switching to a mulching mower just so I didn't have to deal with enormous piles of clippings.
Jonathan
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The message

Since Bradford Council started collecting vegetable matter for composting I have been putting some of mine out for them in the large canvas bags provided*. A single session will fill 4 of the bags but unfortunately although I cut my grass weekly at the height of the growing season the council only collect every 4 weeks.
The remainder I just tip over a wall and forget about as I don't have anything much to mix it with to get it to rot into compost.
*I think I now have 6 of of the bags, having collected another 2 over the winter. The council only provided the first one. All the others have come courtesy of the wind. Being downwind of general habitation has its disadvantages with reference to rubbish blowing in the breeze but there are occasional advantages as well. :-) So far at least when I have put out 4 bags all four have been emptied. I sometimes wonder how many I will get to before someone spoils the party.
--
Roger Chapman

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Roger wrote:

It doesn't need anything else, if you leave it long enough. Sure it goes through and acidic slime phase, but leave it some more, and its eventually just organically useful humus.
I am surprised thpugh, Mine gets mixed wit smashed up branches that fall off te trees, autumn leaves, rabbit deer fox dog and cat turds, etc etc. All grists to its mills..;-)
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I have 2 piles of grass cuttings but they are used on the basis of closeness, not time. I don't think I have disturbed either in a decade. I only have about one third of an acre of lawn grass but the shape is awkward and I probably cut getting on to twice that each time I mow.
Fallen branches are mostly picked off before cutting and, judging by the evidence (or lack of it), the local roe deer don't usually get into the garden itself although I frequently see evidence that they are often in the adjoining fields at night time. I have seen them in the garden on 2 or 3 occasions over the years and I have a Leylandii that a stag half trashed trying to develvet his antlers.
--
Roger Chapman

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Jonathan wrote:

What I did was find a place inside a thicket of thorn and elder and hazel. And I made three piles. This year's pile, last year's pile and the year before last year's pile.
After a few years I had deep rich humus everywhere in that area.
Its is amazing how fast and how far it all compacts down. What started of as a several foot high tip over a few square yards ends up after a year as less than an inch..
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Tim.. wrote:

And even they can clog, and they fill remarkably quickly.
Mine used to do about 200 linear meters per grass box empty..on a 36" wide cut..if I left it a couple of weeks.
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I presume it is because the discharge is rearwards direct into the collector. The other option is a side discharge that requires a convoluted tube to fill the collector.
http://www.screwfix.com/prods/72280/Landscaping/Landscaping-Power-Tools/Lawnmowers/76cm-12-5hp-MTD-Tractor-Mower ;jsessionid=IDP5NBNUORLNYCSTHZOCFFI#
Looks so like my Lawnflite 603 that I initially thought the illustration was a mistake.
(I didn't realise that Screwfix did lawnmowers but that one is so new it isn't yet in the catalogue).
The rear collector on my Lawnflite 603 (5 years old and recently bought 2nd hand as it happens) is much much better than the side collector on the previous Murray for the primary purpose of collecting grass cuttings. It does however clog very quickly if the target is dead leaves.

My first ride-on had a large rotating brush. I found it cumbersome. It was a Westwood I think but that went so long ago that all the details have faded from my mind.
As others have said watch out for thieves.
My first one was stolen by thieves who broke open the garage doors on my barn while I was at work. The thieves were back 6 months later to collect the replacement and the additional padlock on the yard gate didn't deter them in the least. They were the reason why I now have a burglar alarm. Pure coincidence of course that at the time of both thefts there were travellers encamped in a layby at the bottom of the hill.
--
Roger Chapman

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Roger wrote:

Ive got 1.5acres, and am currently running a 48" John Deere. It takes a lot of punishment and it gets it. I would say a 36" is all you need for 3/4 acre..depends on how sharp your corners are.
All lawnmowers are basically shite. The John Deere is pretty tough, which I need, and had lights on, till the apple tree knocked em onto the exhaust pipe..and a pretty tough deck, that instead of bending when it hits trees, simply ripped out its mounting brackets and needed welding after a year..teh grass coll;ectort is a joke. Its supposed to use fan powerto blw the cuttings into a hopper, but unless its ultar fine and pretty dry it clogs almost immediately. so I use a mulching deck mostly. That clogs on first cuts of the 'meadow bit tho, so that is run just dumping huge streams of hay out the side..
If grass collection is an issue, get a machine that has a power brush that sweeps the stuff into a bin.
Some types have the cutting deck in the front: these are useful in that they can be run closer to some things.
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