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#218688 - 05/25/10 01:52 PM Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond.
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Iím getting ready to plant permanent grass around the new pond to replace the annual rye grass I planted for temporary cover. That got me to thinking about mowing. I cut most of the rye grass with my bush-hog and string trimmers on the dam and around the edge. We finally got it finished, and Iím ready for the hydroseeding guy to come tomorrow.

I have a tractor and bush hog plus a Cub Cadet SL1554 riding mower. The tractor and bush hog scare me on slopes and near the edge. And I doubt that the Cub would even have enough power to manage the slopes. I first thought about a sickle mower, but read on some threads here that they are a pain. I had considered a DR or Kunz or Swisher offset trail mower. But when I called my Cub dealer, he mentioned the Cub Cadet Z-Force S models that are zero turn, but have a traditional-looking steering wheel that I understand controls the hydraulics for the power wheels. He thought it would be safer than a regular zero turn mower on slopes. Then someone suggested the Gizmow Formula mower (http://www.gizmow.com/home.htm) . It also has a steering wheel, and it looks like the Cub on steroids. Apparently it was designed specifically for slopes. Itís out of my price range, but it sure looks nice.

Anyway, I was just wondering if others had researched this issue and had some relevant experience with some of the options above. I have seen a few threads dealing in part with mowers, but I thought I would see what others think about the alternatives.

Thanks,

Charles

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#218699 - 05/25/10 03:25 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: FarmerCharlie]
rcn11thacr Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 349
Loc: florida
Charles, I was out mowing the slopes at my pond with a zero turn Ferris 1500 today. I have made up
my mind. I am going to pay someone to bring a backhoe out to make the slopes easier to deal with.
When i built my pond i thought it was ok for the mower. But that was with my backside sitting in a cat d3 not the mower, big difference. I should have lowered the slopes sooner but i didnt. It will be easier to make a permanant soloution to the lay of the land than buying a special mower. With the hyd steering of the zero turn mower its not possible to "feel" the tires starting to slip, so
i cannot stop it in time if it spins. My recomendation is to make less of a slope before you sod or lay grass. It will be the best decision, i feel.
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#218705 - 05/25/10 04:03 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
rexcramer Offline
Lunker

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Birch Run, MI
I use a small 4WD Kubota tractor with loaded tires for a low center of gravity for my slopes. Also I have stone coming partway up from the water so I dont have to try and get the tractor down very far.

The 4WD is a must for anything you plan on driving on a slope IMO
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#218706 - 05/25/10 04:04 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
RAH Offline
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Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4223
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I find that I have a lot more time since I stopped the recreational mowing. Adopting a natural pond edge saves time and money, discourages geese, and helps out a lot of wildlife. A floating dock allows me access for swimming, and a kayak allows me ample fishing access. The older I get, the more I appreciate a natural landscape. If you must mow and the ground is not too wet, a walk behing Scag zero-turn cannot be beat on slopes for a finish cut. Don't use unless the ground and grass are dry or you'll slip and slide. My 36-inch hydro is over 20-years old with no problems. You'll have to work pretty hard to flip it.

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#218709 - 05/25/10 04:13 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Originally Posted By: rcn11thacr
With the hyd steering of the zero turn mower its not possible to "feel" the tires starting to slip, so i cannot stop it in time if it spins.

That's my understanding too about the regular zero turn mowers. You can't stop them going down hill, and they won't stay on the slope going sideways. I just got back from looking at the Cub Z-Force 48" with the steering wheel. The front wheels are controlled by the steering wheel--not on casters like a regular zero-turn mower. I think the steering wheel is also coupled to the drive like a regular zero turn. It's a hydrostatic drive like my Cub LT1554, and when you take your foot off the pedal, it stops on a dime. It seemed like it might work pretty well on slopes.

But I also want to look at the Gizmo Force. It is similar I think, but heavier duty and bigger--and a lot more expensive.

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#218711 - 05/25/10 04:16 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: RAH]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Originally Posted By: RAH
Adopting a natural pond edge saves time and money, discourages geese, and helps out a lot of wildlife.

That's my long-term goal too. What I really want is warm season native grasses. But all the experts advised me to go ahead and get some turf started first, and then come back and convert to NWSG gradually once I have the dirt stable. What I want long-term is a mixture of NWSG and wildflowers.

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#218712 - 05/25/10 04:17 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
Blaine Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 449
Loc: Central Indiana
I traverse my 3:1 sloped dam with a Ferris IS2000 and navigate a fair amount of ruts and loose stones. The suspension makes all the difference. I tested three zero turn mowers; Dixie Chopper, Xmark and Ferris. Chopper and the Xmark almost immediately broke free sliding sideways down the dam only to be saved by the rip rap (dealer was driving). I have to admit that I am pushing it's limits but two years running and it has stayed dry and on course. Wouldn't even consider running it on a steeper slope.
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#218720 - 05/25/10 05:00 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
Clayton Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/25/10
Posts: 221
Loc: Cherokee County, Texas
Originally Posted By: rcn11thacr
Charles, I was out mowing the slopes at my pond with a zero turn Ferris 1500 today. I have made up
my mind. I am going to pay someone to bring a backhoe out to make the slopes easier to deal with.
When i built my pond i thought it was ok for the mower. But that was with my backside sitting in a cat d3 not the mower, big difference. I should have lowered the slopes sooner but i didnt. It will be easier to make a permanant soloution to the lay of the land than buying a special mower. With the hyd steering of the zero turn mower its not possible to "feel" the tires starting to slip, so
i cannot stop it in time if it spins. My recomendation is to make less of a slope before you sod or lay grass. It will be the best decision, i feel.


I agree with your recommendation to ease the slope now rather than waste effort on sodding or laying grass on a difficult-to-mow area. We're already experiencing here that the zero-turn mowers are just too finnicky to mow slopes. We'll get the dozer out eventually to fix our predecessor's mistake but until then I'll probably resort to push mowing and string trimming. I like the speed and agility of zero-turns but there are times we've run off into the pond far too easily. Fortunately the ATV is handy to winch it out!
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#218732 - 05/25/10 07:01 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: Clayton]
rcn11thacr Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 349
Loc: florida
Blane, I agree. I take my ferris almost everywhere my dozer used to go, they are top notch and mine handles my 3 to 1 slope but thats it. Nothing steeper. But less of a slope is always better. I only mow around the pond cause the kids are always there and i dont want them to come up on a snake.
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#218748 - 05/25/10 09:30 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
Rattletrap2 Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 06/21/07
Posts: 132
Loc: Mono, Ontario, Canada
I use my Cub Cadet GT2544 which is a bigger, more powerful tractor, but with a small deck to cut as close as I dare. I have slid it in twice and had to winch it out with the ATV. This is always good to get the heart racing!
I also use a push mower and string trimmer to finish up, but it is a pain and takes me longer to trim than it does to cut the rest of the yard.

Swisher makes a tow behind offset string trimmer that looked like it might have done the job. It was called a PostMaster and was intended to get you in close to a fence row. I could not make a decent deal with our TSC store and gave up on it. Unlike a regular offset tow behind, this thing had a set of small wheels that would stay up on high ground and leave the trimmer portion floating out to the waters edge.
http://www.swisherinc.com/postmaster.asp



Edited by Rattletrap2 (05/25/10 09:33 PM)
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#218750 - 05/25/10 09:44 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: Rattletrap2]
Happy Birthday catmandoo Offline
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5682
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
I prefer my string trimmer. It may be a little more work, but . . .





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#218751 - 05/25/10 09:54 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: rcn11thacr]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
I'm stuck with the slope I have, because the dam is pretty close to the fence line. It is about 3 to 1 in the steepest part.

Has anyone tried either of the zero-turn mowers with the steering wheels? They are supposed to perform better on slopes (even mowing across the slope), because the front wheels are not on casters, and will not tend to turn down the hill. I did a parking lot test of the Cub, and it worked pretty well. The only two down sides I observed were that the steering is a little hard to turn, and the deck can be set in only up or down positions unless you stop and reset a pin for a different height adjustment. As for the Gismow, the dealer is fifty miles away, and he doesn't stock them anyway. But it sure looked neat in the promo videos (at a cost about 100$ more than the Cub. The two WEB sites are Cub: http://tinyurl.com/27fbugn and Gismo: http://www.gizmow.com/home.htm. The Gizmow video sure makes it look almost fun. http://www.gizmow.com/video.htm

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#218752 - 05/25/10 09:59 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: catmandoo]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Originally Posted By: catmandoo
I prefer my string trimmer. It may be a little more work, but . . .



That's why I don't want to get close to the edge with my tractor and bush hog. You can get killed doing that.

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#218778 - 05/26/10 03:52 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: FarmerCharlie]
andedammen Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 414
Loc: Norway
Get some sheeps, they'll keep your lawn down for free, and in the late autum you eat them, and get some new next year.
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#218782 - 05/26/10 06:51 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: andedammen]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13557
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Paul, the Texas coyotes would eat the sheep long before autumn.
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#218785 - 05/26/10 07:14 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Happy Birthday catmandoo Offline
Moderator
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Lunker

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5682
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
We had a very similar discussion about this time last year:
Mowing Pond Edge
It had a number of good suggestions.
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#218816 - 05/26/10 11:33 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: andedammen]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Originally Posted By: andedammen
Get some sheeps, they'll keep your lawn down for free, and in the late autum you eat them, and get some new next year.

Actually, I do have sheep.

I was up to about 65 last year, but thinned them down to just three to keep them off the pond during construction. I'll probably add some back after the grass gets established.

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#218817 - 05/26/10 11:35 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: Dave Davidson1]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Originally Posted By: Dave Davidson1
Paul, the Texas coyotes would eat the sheep long before autumn.

We have a few coyotes, but they haven't been a problem. It's the neighborhood sweet little old dogs that have been a bigger problem. Coyotes usually kill for food. Dogs kill for sport.

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#218818 - 05/26/10 11:36 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: catmandoo]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
Originally Posted By: catmandoo
We had a very similar discussion about this time last year:
Mowing Pond Edge
It had a number of good suggestions.

I had read that thread. Lots of good info there. That was what made me eliminate sickle mowers from my list.

Charles

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#218820 - 05/26/10 11:51 AM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: FarmerCharlie]
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana

[/quote]
That's why I don't want to get close to the edge with my tractor and bush hog. You can get killed doing that. [/quote]

Funny how even a 4WD tractor acts on a soft, muddy pond bank. The more you try to steer away from the bank, the more they slip toward the water. Best thing to do when they start acting funny is to STOP and get another vehicle and a chain. Also funny is how it takes only a slight nudge to pull them out.
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#218825 - 05/26/10 12:28 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: Dave Davidson1]
andedammen Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 414
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: Dave Davidson1
Paul, the Texas coyotes would eat the sheep long before autumn.


We don't have coyote here.
However we have wolf, bear, bobcat and eagles that predate on sheep, and dogs beeing the worst predator.
Shepards is not common anymore, but creative farmers use lamas (import from peru) in the sheep herd, they deefend them selves and the rest off the herd.
No match for a predator that really wants to kill, but they totally cnfuse the predator by counter atac so the predator choose another prey.
Those are way to expencive to slaughter in the fall do, but if you have the space available and the time to spare/nurse it you have a good employe.


Edited by andedammen (05/26/10 12:28 PM)
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#218848 - 05/26/10 04:13 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: FarmerCharlie]
Matt Clark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 822
Loc: S.E. Iowa
I use a swisher trail mower and atv...never worry about it anymore.
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#218969 - 05/27/10 12:50 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: Matt Clark]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4223
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
That wet Deere looks like the loader is in the raised position - sure bet for a disaster on a steep slope

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#228378 - 07/26/10 11:04 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: RAH]
FarmerCharlie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Auburn, AL
I thought I would bump this to see if anyone has any more thoughts on the possible benefits of the two mowers for slopes. The two I am looking at are the Gizmow Formula: http://www.gizmow.com/home.htm and the Cub Cadet Z Force S: http://tinyurl.com/27fbugn.

Both are Zero Turn, but they do not have the loose caster front wheels typical on ZTRs. They have a steering wheel to control both the rear wheel drives and the front wheels. The Gizmow is promoted as more stable on slopes than normal ZTRs. Their video demo is pretty impressive. http://www.gizmow.com/video.htm. I believe Massey Ferguson has a couple of similar models.

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#228508 - 07/27/10 04:09 PM Re: Mower Options for Slopes and Edge of Pond. [Re: FarmerCharlie]
Bossone Offline
Hall of Fame



Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 297
Loc: Central Illinois (Bloomington)
This is a very timely thread as I am starting to work on the landscape around my new pond. I have a JD 2305 (25 HP) with a 60 mower, bucket, blade, and tiller. My concern is where the water level is projected and the slope around the pond. I want to be able to mow it without rolling into the pond, which could be very serious.

Here are some photo's that somewhat show the slope.The flags(white and pink) are suppose to outline the water level.


This is the damn (east side), which I have reduced the slope a bit.


Here is the north side that doesn't look to bad til you get up towards the grass.



Here is the south side, which bothers me a bit.



This is the west side, which really concerns me.

So my question is does the current slopes look acceptable or is the thinking I need to flatten them out as I circle the pond.

Someone will ask: my goal for now is to mow up around the pond and not have a lot of growth. However I may need to for various reasons that will be pointed out to me as people respond.
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