Landscaping is not a get-rich-quick scheme; your equipment – if chosen wisely – will be with you for the long haul. A mower is likely to be the backbone of your business, so invest the time and money you need to get the right one. Here are tips on what to look for:
“A lot of landscapers assume that bigger is better – both in deck size and horsepower,” says “Dusty” Dust, product manager, Ferris Industries. “But they don’t look at how many of their jobs are 1/2-acre lots with 36-inch gates or lots of trees. Grass isn’t that tough, it doesn’t take much horsepower to cut it. And for many landscapers, especially if they have residential jobs, a 48-inch machine could actually be more productive than a 60inch one. You can save a lot of unproductive work by sizing your mower to your actual needs.”
Chris Frame, of Scag Power Equipment, says to look for full-length, welded steel tube frames which provide a strong base for a commercial mower. “Tough commercial cutting conditions require a solid foundation if the machine is going to provide years of dependable use,” he says.
Ergonomics and operator comfort
Ergonomics aren’t just for those at desk jobs; a mower operator can be on or behind the mower all day, so the ergonomics can make a huge difference in productivity and comfort – and can help reduce workman’s compensation claims or missed work. Ease of mount and dismount should also be considered.
The more maneuverable the mower, the less labor-intensive hand work will be required.
A top-notch cutter deck
“A well-engineered and constructed cutter deck with proper blade tip speeds and deck baffling is the way to achieve this,” Frame notes. “In regards to durability, fabricated, welded decks are the best choice for commercial use. Marbain blades stay sharper longer and maintain a precise cutting edge.”
“A quick deck height adjustment is important, too,” adds Jenna Warrenfeltz, of Wright Manufacturing.
Reliability, parts and service
Mowers aren’t disposable; look for mowers with a past history of reliability and a dealer who is capable of making repairs and supplying parts.
–Lisa Anderson Mann
Feel the power of a diesel engine
Grasshopper’s 322D MidMount and 722D FrontMount mowers are powered by a liquid-cooled 22-horsepower, three-cycle MaxTorque diesel engine with horizontal crankshaft and torque you can feel. This direct port, fuel-injected diesel engine offers fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance. The mowers have cutting widths ranging from 51 inches to 72 inches.
A small mower that yields big results
Wright’s Sentar, a zero-turning radius mower, weighs up to 300 pounds less than similar mowers. The compact size and foldaway seat allows more mowers to be loaded on a trailer. Cutting height can be adjusted from the driver’s seat or standing platform using the rapid height adjustment control. The Sentar is available in 48-, 52- and 61-inch deck widths with engines ranging from 19 to 25 horsepower. The padded seat with mono spring suspension folds down for operation from a sitting position or folds up for stand-on operation.
Mow for a long time without emptying your hopper
Exmark introduces its new out-front deck mower, the Navigator. The mower’s rear-discharge 43/4-inch deep cutting decks trim on both sides of the deck. A large-diameter blower fan complements the 42- or 48-inch cutting widths. The Navigator’s integrated collection system deposits clippings into a large 91/2-bushel (76 gallon) collection hopper. Other Navigator features include a unitized, fully welded frame structure, Kohler Command SP V-twin engine options in 20- or 27-horsepower and mowing speeds of up to seven miles per hour.
Experience large cutting decks and high horsepower
Bob-Cat’s Predator-Pro series includes zero-turn commercial mowers with your choice of a 52-, 61- or 72-inch cutting deck and multiple engine options that include a 26-horsepower or 33-horsepower Generac V-Twin, or a 26-horsepower or 37-horsepower Kawasaki. The mower comes equipped with a large 12-gallon capacity fuel tank, fully adjustable suspension seat, anti-scalp rollers, DuraDeck molded rubber chute and extreme discharge system.
Walk-behind mower customizable for any job
The Bunton Bullet gear-drive walk-behind mower is powered by a Kawaski KAI 15-horsepower, 431cc V-Twin OHV gasoline engine and comes equipped with a five-gallon fuel tank. It features 36- or 48-inch cutting deck options with side discharge, along with a 7-gauge unitized engine deck. Long-life belts and blades require less maintenance and allow for more time on the job. Optional accessories include a GCPoly 3.75- or 5-bushel dump, jump grass catcher, an ACC-Hydro cold start and either a 36- or 48-inch Mulch baffle kit with eliminator blades.
Steel decks and reinforced side skirts provide durability
The IS 500Z from Ferris is powered by a 24-horsepower or 26-horsepower Briggs and Stratton extended-life series engine complemented by a six-gallon fuel tank. Available in 44- and 52-inch cutting widths, a foot-operated deck lift provides the operator with variable cutting heights from 11/2 to 41/2 inches. The mowing deck is made from 10-gauge steel, featuring over-lap welded corners, double thick top and double reinforced side skirts as well as individual pumps and wheel motors.
Mow slopes without worry
The new Ventrac MR740 triplex reel mower attachment is designed be one of the top trim and surround mowers in the industry. With a 74-inch cutting width, variable speed hydraulics, standard backlapping valves and offset capability, the MR740 includes many features to ensure strong performance. When powered by the all-wheel drive Ventrac 4200 tractor with 31-horsepower Turbo Diesel engine, the MR740 can be operated continuously on hills and slopes up to 30 degrees.