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Purchase advice for a rookie

1379 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  DonF
I'm new to garden tractors and am looking to purchase one for use on 3 acres of mildly hilly land with not many trees. Any advice on recs for deck size, HP needed or any other options I should look for? Do zero turn models have any utility on hilly land and are they able to have accessories like carts, fertilizers or aerators attached? Any advice on brands or models would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to avoid having the Ferrari of garden tractors when a Ford would work. Thanks.
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If you don't have many obstacles or trees to go around, look for the largest deck you feel comfortable with. 60 inch would be a start.

ZTR's are able to pull light loads, a plug aerator would be pushing it. If its just a spike aerator, it'll be fine. Like lighter duty lawn tractors, excessive use of a ZTR to tow will shorten the hydro drive motors' life span.

Is this property already developed? Home and lawn already established? Any landscaping projects planned? Any pictures of the property?

The more info you give us on what you're planning to do, need to do, want to do; help us narrow the choices down. For some, 3 acres is a blurry line between garden tractor and subcompact utility tractor. (GT and SCUT)

And most importantly, what's your budget?
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What are your current needs and future needs? If you buy right the first time you'll save money in the long run. How much time do you want to spend doing your yard work and what budget do you have to work with? Enjoy the hunt. slkpk
Right now the main tasks would be mowing, using a plug aerator and fertilizing. I don't anticipate using it for a whole lot more than that in the future either. The property is mostly developed except for some wild areas that nothing short of a mountain goat would be able to safely navigate and trim. Would like to stay under 2500 if possible. The only thing I have really looked at have been the models carried at Lowe's and Home Depot (Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, John Deere, Troy Bilt, Ariens). As far as time spent on yard work...I'd rather not be out there for 6 hours, but I won't be disappointed if its longer than 45 minutes.
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Perhaps some pictures of your moderately hilly property would be beneficial. I get concerned about the longevity of the transmission using other than a GT grade transmission, or at least one you can change the fluids in without removing from the tractor. You could find yourself replacing a transmission or the whole power after 3-4 years or so. Also, pulling a plug aerator on a hill could be more than an average LT or zero turn could handle.
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They Only ZTR in Your Price range would Be a Cub Cadet ZTRs and the Only one I would suggest for a Hilly Yard are the Cub Cadet RZT S series Because there steering is Not a Tradition ZTR steering is a Steering wheel and You actually have control of the Front wheel's Unlike a Conventional ZTR which Just has Caster style wheels But as stated a Few Picture of your Property would all Help Us Out to answer You questions Better Here a Good way to post Pictures On the Forum :thThumbsU
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My advice is to buy more than you thing you need. If buying new I spent almost as much as the $2500 you want to stay below in 1977. In today's money that would be around $8,000. I'm still using the 35 year old GT, I replace the engine last spring and don't plan on buying another mower.
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