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Author Topic: Zero turns mowing wet grass?  (Read 1002 times)

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Offline gspren

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Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« on: September 11, 2021, 02:29:27 PM »
  I'm in the thinking stage which is dangerous  :D, My 20 year old JD 345 with 48" deck has been strong and dependable but likes the grass to be very dry or it clumps. I've got a near 30 year old Exmark walk behind zero turn that will handle wet grass fine but my bum ankle won' allow too much mowing with it. Any recommendations for a 54" mower that don't mind early morning mowing? I think @Spike60 sells Exmark and there is a dealer not too far away but I don't know if I'd believe what he said. I'm open to any brand.
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Offline Gary_C

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2021, 02:54:51 PM »
I tried a Husky with a 54" deck and a mulcher attachment and did not like it because it makes a mess of the deck. I don't think there are any mowers that handle wet grass without extensive cleaning. The Grasshopper mowers have a flip up deck for easy mowing under shrubs, etc and they make for easy cleaning. 

I've got a Husky Commercial 60" zero turn and it mows most anything including grass in water (till the water gets too high and bogs the engine down) but if I mow in wet grass it usually needs a cleaning afterwards and it is a pain as I have to use a chain hoist to get underneath. It will cut fine but you are going to pay.

I had a cub cadet with nozzles on the deck for cleaning but they did not work worth a crap.

I just looked at a local dealer that usually has a lot of both new and used inventory and he has practically nothing. It's going to be hard to find any selection right now.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2021, 03:19:15 PM »
I have a walker 52 inch with an integrated aux. blower.  I agree, all mowers do better if the grass is not dripping wet.  this is considered a commercial mower.  the deck tips up.  uses two blades that turn opposite.  it is also easier to make a spin bare spot if the yard is wet.
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Online Southside

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2021, 03:32:33 PM »
A disc mower, like used to mow hay, will cut wet grass. Not sure if anyone offers that cutter style in a zero turn. 

Would make blade sharpening a lot easier.
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2021, 03:47:10 PM »
I am not sure leaving swaths is what he wants. I have tried zero turns in wet grass, used to sell them, and didn't find any that worked satisfactorily. My experience was with Exmark, Toro, and Husqvarna, ymmv.
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Offline alan gage

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2021, 03:50:31 PM »
I think it's a deck design issue. Toro is a very popular brand here and they were very bad with clumping and on some it took very dry grass to keep it from building up under the deck. Very frustrating. A few years ago my dad bought a new Toro with 60" deck and seat suspension. Really nice mower. For whatever reason this one doesn't clump at all in wet grass.

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Offline Tom King

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2021, 04:02:29 PM »
This one does, but I have to keep the motor revved up, and go slower than usual.  I can go faster if I wait an hour for the morning dew to leave.

I added a marine lifting eye to the front, to make easy access to the blades.  The stainless

 

 eye has a 3/4" bolt, and will lift 5500 pounds. I like sharp blades.



 

 

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2021, 06:48:52 PM »
I have a Kubota Zero turn, diesel, for 19 years.  It doesn't care if the grass it wet or dry.
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If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2021, 07:05:12 PM »
My 61 Scag Turf Tiger does fairly well in wet grass. 29hp Kawasaki gasser.
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Offline gspren

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2021, 08:35:10 PM »
It sounds like the better ZTs can handle what I want, I'm not picky and it doesn't need to look perfect but my JD garden tractor loads up under the deck and then rattles and drops soggy clumps that need to be picked up if the grass has any dew on it. This summer the heat and humidity was bad and mowing in the afternoon was rough on me, I tried mowing in the evenings with the headlights on but again the dew set in and it wouldn't mow right.
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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2021, 09:33:25 PM »
My toro 54 ztr handles wet grass ok without building up or clogging. It needs to be hosed out after Im done, but it doesnt accumulate enough during mowing to interfere with the job. Its not one of the pro models, its just the 54 timecutter. I do recommend getting a higher end toro (or your choice of brands) though.  This one was sort of an emergency stop-gap purchase. 

Sharp blades are really important when cutting wet grass. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2021, 10:01:07 PM »
I had even thought about this topic but reading these replies its interesting because we have about 5 acres of yard and will mow first thing in the morning while the dew is on the grass in the summer or after a light rain to keep the dust down.   
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Online mike_belben

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2021, 10:57:47 PM »
i only mow when its wet. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline Spike60

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2021, 07:36:13 AM »
The JD 48" stamped deck has poor airflow and doesn't discharge well. Very similar to the Husky stamped 48". Neither deck does well in anything but ideal conditions. Exmark probably does have the best quality cut in most applications, and the patented baffles are partly why. (I also sell Husky and Ariens/Gravely and they do not perform like the Exmarks)

But any deep commercial deck with good airflow should be able to give decent results in wet grass. Pro cutters start early; they can't wait til lunch time to start mowing. But this is a strange year conditions wise. The weather is giving us Spring like mowing conditions here into mid Sept. One of the problems with this is that when we reach this time of year, we aren't mowing the same "grass" as in the Spring. Unless you have a well treated lawn, the % of weeds and crab grass is much higher than it was 4-5 months ago. Also this time of year, there is a lot more dew on the lawns most mornings, and it takes longer for the sun to burn it off.

My front lawn is nice rurf, and I can mow in any weather; in dry weather the deck is barely damp. The back lawn is filled with weeds and crab grass this time of year. It's more like mowing a salad than a lawn and the stuff just gets turns to slop. Builds up under the deck until it pukes.

Some of the pro guys run different blades during the season as conditions change. They'll switch to gator blades, medium lift, notched vs solid air foil. But it's always a moving target. Last month's solution might be this month's problem. The balance they are looking for is enough lift to get a clean cut, but not too much that it will tend to pack the deck. One guy who is real particular ran gators a month ago and though it was magic how it solved his problems. But now that we're in Fall conditions, he had to go back to the hi lift blades and deal with some deck packing.

One thing i will brag about Exmark, is that at least down through the Radius models, you are still getting a quality Exmatk deck not very different than the more expensive Lazer models. It costs 30% more to make an Exmark deck vs a Toro deck coming out of the same building. Most mower brands really de-content the decks as you drop down the price ladder until you end up with a lawn tractor deck under a Z that travels faster than the tractor speeds that the deck was designed for. Then it's either keep mowing or start raking. :)
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2021, 07:51:03 AM »
But any deep commercial deck with good airflow should be able to give decent results in wet grass. Pro cutters start early; they can't wait til lunch time to start mowing.
Ours is a commercial grade mower because our dealer knows us, knows we are hard on equipment, and sold us the best with a diesel motor.  As Spike60 says, the commercial guys mow all day, every day.  After a couple years, when I came in to get new sharp blades, the dealer laughed and said most of the pros come in buying blades every year, because they wear them down to the nubs.   :o

We have had a series of other mowers, all the way back to a Sears Craftsman riding mower long ago.  However, with the Kubota commercial series, we bought it almost 2 decades ago, and it has been bulletproof.  I don't think it will ever die.  So in the words of Forrrest Gump - "One less thing to worry about."

I would think any brand's "commercial" series would be more than worth the money in the long run.
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline Tom King

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2021, 08:41:03 AM »
Commercial mowers have geared up, very high tip speed blades, and typically good horsepower.  The higher tip speed will sling any grass, even wet, better.

The one I posted a picture of is 72", with 35hp.  It doesn't care if the grass is wet, but if it's also tall, I have to slow down to sling that width, with that horsepower.  If I'm only cutting off a few inches, it doesn't tax it, at all.

The main reason I don't like to cut the grass when it's wet is that the front tires sling water all up in the air.  Commercial mowers also go faster.  I cut the smooth areas as fast as that mower will go, which is 14 mph.  I guess I could fab some fenders, but I usually have other stuff I can do then, anyway.

Offline Larry

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2021, 09:14:28 AM »
I always try to mow when the grass is wet eliminate dust.  First zt was a Husky and now a Kubota.  Both threw clumpy grass until I modified the factory grass chute.  I fabricated a steel plate to replace the chute.  With the metal plate wide open no problems with either mower.

This is similar to what I made.
Advanced Chute System

Their are other's and they are simple to make if you have a few tools.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2021, 10:27:37 AM »
WOW!! 14 mph would throw the wife off the mower. The old field is some rough now, that is what we mow. Well we have a lawn, but that extends out into the rough field. 
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Offline Tom King

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2021, 12:29:48 PM »
I'm working on getting more of it smooth enough to be able to

 go faster.  The machine has an air ride seat, and power steering, but still have to slow down for rough ground.




Offline gspren

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2021, 08:20:42 PM »
@Spike60 Do the pro guys usually run their mowers till they're shot or trade in with some good life left? I tend to like pro stuff like the 044 and 261 Stihl saws I use for personal firewood and would like a pro series mower but I know I won't put many hours a year on one. I don't mind used if it gets me a better mower and I won't put much over 100 hrs a year on if that.
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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2021, 10:19:42 PM »
Watch market place and craigslist.  Some homeowners sell commercial mowers with low hours.  I missed out on two because I was too slow before landing my Kubota.  It had 125 hours, excellent condition, and half the price of a new one.

If you see one move fast as it will be gone in just a few hours.



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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2021, 11:23:19 PM »
I bought a used Country Clipper 52" deep deck, jazzy pro model, thing is a hog, will cut anything.  I hook the chute up, and can't clog it up.  Hauled it around to different water ways to cut cockle burs.  Seems you have to mow cockle burs late, as they grow again if you cut them early.  Cut them late, they don't have time to grow up and make burs. The country clipper is made so you can tip the deck up and wash it out or work on the blades.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2021, 05:14:28 AM »
the buddy i know (K state educated lawncare guy) that recommended the walker, replaces engines and lots of parts.  there is a good dealer in Wichita that can do major overhaul stuff.  If too far gone he gets another and keeps the old one for a spare or trades.

Here is the reason mine usually gets clogged.  wet grass and a stick or weed.


 

 

 

cleans out easy enough.  I have has this one about 5 years and it should last me the rest of my mowing life.
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Offline Spike60

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2021, 07:14:05 AM »
Most cutters run them until they start to get unreliable. If it's basic stuff, the mower can be made into a decent homeowner machine. Past the time when it can run 10 hrs a day all week, but fine for a guy doing his own lawn. Assuming that is that the mower received basic maintenance. Wouldn't want to end up with a mower that never had the hydros serviced. Some cutters are good on maintenance, some never even check the oil. Each mower has it's own unique history, so it's hard to generalize.

I wouldn't buy a mower with more than 1500 hours on it, regardless of price. Many guys will take them up to 2500-3000 hours, at which point serious repairs are just around the corner.



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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2021, 07:22:46 AM »
Zero turn mowers are pretty much just a couple hydraulic pumps (one for each rear wheel) and engine to drive them.  If there is anything wrong with them, it is a scrap pile unit.
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline zippski

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2021, 12:44:58 PM »
Especially if you can find an affordable used one, you simply cannot go wrong with Kubota ZD1211 zero turn.  I have had one for several years and it consistently mows 5 acres of farm and residence lawns on a weekly basis in any condition (wet or dry) without any problems.

The best thing I ever did was invest in a 60" rear discharge commercial deck with mulching blades  Bullet proof and soooo much easier to mow in any direction without building up grass windrows or clumping.  Actually, the rear discharge deck is imperative for me because of the incredibly steep hills I mow with the machine limits travel directions.  Many Saturdays I attract quite a crowd of onlookers on the road looking upward while I mountain-goat the machine up and down the super steeps I have to mow every week.  (Note: the ups are usually ok, but on the downs, I can be travelling pretty darn fast at the bottom even with both drive wheels running in full reverse :D  I am not sure how steep I could actually mow but my comfort zone has expanded every year along with the mowed acreage of my domain.

Anyway, if you can find a way to swallow the entry fee, not only do you have a 15-20 year mower, you have one with superior trade value.

Mowers - Zero-Turn Mowers - ZD1211-3-60 | Kubota (kubotausa.com)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2021, 01:29:50 PM »
I agree, we got our especially for mowing slopes, but we use it for everything we don't bush hog.  
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline Tom King

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2021, 02:33:18 PM »
The reason I bought that Cub Cadet, with the steerable front wheels was because of mowing slopes.  

I've pulled regular zero-turns out of the lake.  For those that don't know, the front wheels on a regular zero-turn just caster.  If the back wheels start sliding, the front wheels just say, "okay, we're going that way".

With the steerable front wheels, if the back wheels slide a little bit, the front wheels are sort of self-correcting, and it will just go up the hill at a slight angle.

I don't really have any super steep hills, but that picture of the shoreline was the first time it had ever been cut with anything but a string trimmer.  I did pull a regular zero-turn off the rip-rap before, that had slid sideways because the operator thought he could make it.

The rear end is a regular zero-turn, with the largest size Parker hydraulic drive units, and 26" tall tires. They are tied to the steering system for the front wheels.  You can drive right straight up to something, turn the front wheels 90 degrees, and the rear wheels will counterrotate, just like if you were using regular sticks, not touching what you just drove straight up to.

The first day I brought it home, I drove it the mile to the nearest store to fill it up.  They have a fairly steep hill on the road front.  Not only did it hold the hill fine, but at the end of the pass, I just did a zero turn, and came back the other way.  When I got to the other end, I turned, and went straight up the hill. That was with the turf tire that came on it.  It didn't feel like it came close to slipping on that hill in the picture, but that was the steepest I know of, around here.

They make one with dual rear wheels, but I drive a dually, and figured I'd try the single rear wheels first.   I thought I'd add the other wheels if I needed them, but so far, don't see any need even for more grippy tires, than the turf tires.

In that waterfront picture with the rock, I drove it down onto the rock-used the hand brake, turned around, and cleaned off the side of the slope around that rock.



Offline sawguy21

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2021, 02:59:43 PM »
I learned my limits with a Kubota BX2670, a conventional tractor, on slopes. Ran into the fence which held, it would have been ugly had it not
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Offline Spike60

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Re: Zero turns mowing wet grass?
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2021, 07:02:02 AM »
Yup, what's at the bottom of a hill is more important than how steep it is. If it softly levels out, then an unplanned ride isn't a big deal. But a serious drop off or going for a swim can be life threatening.
Husqvarna-Jonsered
Ashokan Turf and Timber
845-657-6395


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