Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations

Posted by: teehjaeh57

Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/16/18 03:19 PM

Hello Pond Boss Family:

Looking at walk behind brush mowers to take care of trails around the pond, will need to work through some 2-3" sumac occasionally as well. Looks like I can't go wrong with a DR, but was hoping you could relate some of your experience/opinions so I can be a bit more confident with my purchase.

Thanks in advance guys!

TJ
Posted by: KRM1985

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/16/18 03:40 PM

Dr is good. Billy Goat makes a decent one too. There are others but they can be pricey for what they are in my opinion. Does it have to be a walk behind? Walk behinds are nice for tight areas.. I use a small ford jubilee tractor and 5' brush hog..whatever the tractor can run over the mower can cut.. this way you are not walking through poison ivy etc.. A setup like that is about 2k and it can be used for other projects too.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/16/18 09:05 PM

TJ, I have used the Billy Goat, Swisher, and DR. I now have an old DR All Terrain Mower. The DR is the best of the three IMO. If you get one, be sure to get the optional heavy brush blade. It's flat and sharpened on both sides, so reversible. The 26" cut with 14 HP will be plenty.
Don't get the basic model that doesn't have interchangeable decks.

It will cut the 2 inch sumacs fine if you go in first gear. Basically, it will cut whatever it can ride down, if you go slow in the heavy stuff. I can cut two foot tall grass in third gear, and never slow down. Mine has an old flat head Briggs 10.5 HP.
Posted by: DrWizz

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/16/18 11:51 PM

You won't be disappointed with a DR. My buddy has a walk behind and has had very good luck with it. I have had a DR pull behind for 10 years and it has been a work horse. I use it behind a 550 cc ATV and haven't encountered anything it couldn't handle from heavy brush to tall, wet grass. I have the 17HP Yamaha engine and chose it because of the active oil pump system it has for internal lubrication which helps with better oil circulation on steeper hills. I mow the back side of my levee (3 to 1 slope) with this set up. Makes me too nervous to mow that much slope with a tractor.
Posted by: teehjaeh57

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/17/18 12:16 AM

Thanks for the feedback, boys. This is the model I'm considering...the electric start and power steering sure add a lot to the price, though. I have a lot of trees so thought the steering might be helpful enough to warrant the extra $.

https://www.drpower.com/power-equipment/...ng-new-50st.axd

What do you think of a 3 year extended warranty for $199? Sucker deal?
Posted by: DrWizz

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/17/18 10:58 AM

I got the extended warranty and ended up using it to replace a wheel late in the warranty period. BTW, I have ordered several parts from them and their customer service has been very good.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/17/18 11:58 AM

I have also had good experience with DR customer service. The only thing I have ordered from them is the optional heavy brush blade. It's a MUST HAVE for this machine. It's about twice as heavy as the blade that comes on it. Other than that, I have talked to their tech department about issues I was working on, due to it being 18 years old at the time and needing some refurb, which I did.

I never buy extended warranties unless it's Harbor Freight (sketchy) stuff (return to store warranty). In my younger years, I did, and only used one once, and it didn't quite pay back the cost of the warranty.

I have no trouble steering around trees, and am not that big and strong. The electric start would be nice though. That 10.5 HP used to wear me out until I found the trick of starting it with one pull. Turn the gas valve off when you are done, and let it run a half minute before you shut it down.
Posted by: Matzilla

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 07/17/18 02:23 PM

those briggs ohv 28 and 31 cu in motors are bullet proof so long as you keep them clean and change the oil often - only big problems are blown head gaskets which are very easy to change and valves needing adjustment...both are caused by overheating
Posted by: Texasbuckeye

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 03/12/19 11:21 AM

Just recently picked up a 20hp 30Ē D R mower (walk behind) for my place. Letís just say my father in law loves it! He has run it dry of gas three times already as he gets to working and doesnít think about gas (whatís that say about him, three times?). It has chewed up plenty of thick stuff and hasnít thought twice about it. Talking 3-3.5 inch oak saplings. I bought it to create a walk around for my lake and the ground was too soft to go all the way around as some of it is on a pretty good slope along the dam, but did use it to create some better fishing spots in a couple areas, and if it ever dries out here I will take it all the way around.
Itís a work horse for sure and a great adjunct to a tractor based shredder for smaller tighter spots that would be impossible with a tractor. I have a lot of trees on my place and the power steering is quite helpful.
Posted by: RAH

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 03/12/19 12:22 PM

My worry with some of these mowers is the ability to turn (maneuverability). We sold our BCS with brush maker back to the dealer because we were not intending to buy a machine to condition ourselves for MMA. Wish they made a brush deck for our walk-behind Scag hydrostat. Bachtold's are not made anymore either.
Posted by: Flame

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 03/12/19 02:20 PM

TJ, how much area do you have to cut? Once its cut the first time can you keep it down with a nice gas powered weed trimmer with a blade. That is what I use all the way around my 2 acre pond and...it will reach out into the water when need to for trimming sawgrass tops. To me if I'm going to spend 2-3 thousand dollars it better have a seat on it to haul my but around. Or for thousands of dollars you can hire someone to come trim it. Just a thought and my personell opinion. Good luck with whatever you choose.
Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/08/19 03:53 PM

I have been back and forth on how to deal with a 6 acre field. On one hand a mid-range 50's to 70's era used tractor seems like a good idea, due to a large deck and being able to sit... but the turn radius stinks for tight spots and if you want to chew under large limbs, you need a different tool for that.

Then I look up cost for new tires, wires, belts, plugs, and hydraulic fluid. OMG. That is a new shiny DR mower, and you still have to deal with an old clunker that needs constant work and leaks fluids for fun. Also, you need chains for any kind of slope, and that is another $800! For chains!

And forget about it on soft spots. I sunk a tractor to the axial twice on my dam. It had filled tires and chains. I had to drain the water by digging ditches and wait a month for it to dry out to get it out.

So I have been thinking a DR may be in the cards for me. I don't mind the exercise much, as I used to mow everything with a walk-behind. Thanks everyone for chiming in here.
Posted by: RAH

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/08/19 04:22 PM

Six acres with a walk behind is too much. An older diesel 4x4 tractor and a 3pt brush mower is a better investment IMO. Bought mine new in 1990. Would not buy new now due to particulate mitigation on new ones.
Posted by: RStringer

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/08/19 05:24 PM

I'v had a swisher. Never again!!! I wouldn't own one of those if someone gave it 2 me. I spent more time TRYING to get it to stay running than I did mowing. My old man used to run a small engine shop and he liked the DR'S.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/08/19 09:33 PM

My limit for my 26" DR walk behind would be about an acre. I mainly use it to trim in tight spots, steep areas, around and under trees, and along the ponds and creek where it would be dangerous to use a ride on. I use the little tractor and 5 foot rotary cutter for anything else that cannot be finish mowed. If I could depend on the hay farmers to always cut, I wouldn't even need the rotary cutter.

The DR also came in handy a couple times when a neighbor lady let her small yard get away and it couldn't be mowed with a finish mower.
Posted by: RAH

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/09/19 06:19 AM

Wish they still made the Bachtold fence mowers. Cannot even find the hard tires anymore.
Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/09/19 10:24 AM

Originally Posted By: RAH
Six acres with a walk behind is too much. An older diesel 4x4 tractor and a 3pt brush mower is a better investment IMO. Bought mine new in 1990. Would not buy new now due to particulate mitigation on new ones.


Diesel sucks around here, granted they will run forever... if they decide to start when it is cold out. I would definitely get a gas one if I were to get a tractor.

I agree, the field is large for a walk-behind, but it doesn't need to be cut all at once. I only do it once a year. I just keep the brush out and avoid some pines and fruit trees I have planted for snow fence. The trouble is along the hedgerows, there trees lean over the field which I can no longer get under unless I cut them back. Plus I cannot fit the tractor down wooded trails or cut new ones.

I wonder if I can rent one to give it a try first, to see if it drops me dead or not.
Posted by: KRM1985

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/09/19 10:38 AM

I tend to agree with RAH on that six acres is not a place for a walk behind brush mower... that's a lot of walking lol.

I use both a Diesel tractor and a gas tractor to mow my property and I would take the Diesel over the gas any day. Much more power and can run for hours on a minimal fuel. The gas tractor certainly gets the job done but I am constantly refilling the tank.

For mowing with a tractor, find one without a front end loader as that can make mowing in tight places much harder. There are lots of other projects that I wish I had a front end loader but for mowing they can be difficult to maneuver.
Posted by: RAH

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/09/19 05:10 PM

Having a quick connect bucket helps if a mowing tractor has a loader. I got mine with a skidsteer disconnect.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/09/19 10:04 PM

Originally Posted By: KRM1985

For mowing with a tractor, find one without a front end loader as that can make mowing in tight places much harder. There are lots of other projects that I wish I had a front end loader but for mowing they can be difficult to maneuver.


For unfamiliar fields, a loader, held low, can find stumps, rocks, and other obstacles before they damage the tractor or mower. A loader also somewhat helps keep chaff away from the radiator screen when mowing high weeds. I agree, it's best without a loader in familiar fields containing only moderate grass/ weeds.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/09/19 10:13 PM

I haven't seen one for rent around here in many years. If you only mow it once a year, it won't be very bad. Just mow a different half acre 12 times. They will mow about a half acre an hour in third gear with a sharp heavy brush blade. Get the heavy double sided brush blade with it if you buy a DR. It's completely worth the extra cost. The blade that comes on them is too light. You need the heavy flywheel effect.
Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Walk Behind Brush Mower Recommendations - 08/12/19 11:39 AM

I used to cut the lawn and trails with a walk behind Feris hydrostatic mower. It was a back-breaker as the handles were not adjustable and were set for someone being about 5'6", not 6'. Just enough to hurt. It took about 4 hours total to hit it all, and I didn't have the additional pond to mow around then. It was about 1 mile of trails, and 1.5 acres of regularly mowed area.

However, I was in great shape every summer! I could basically run up mountains while my friends were huffing and puffing. I could get away with eating anything. Then again, that was 10 years ago, and I am not feeling quite as spry these days. I traded it in so I could sit on my butt on a zero turn and finish the whole thing off, pond included in 1.5 hours.

I think I am just going to rent a tractor this fall with brush hog, and see how much hassle it is to rent. The chaff in the radiator has always been a problem, so leaving a bucket down is a good idea. I usually have to stop up at the house periodically and blow out the seeds from the radiator to keep things running cool.