Good speed for good cut?

mickeyd

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2014 L3200 DT w/LA524 FEL, 2019 Kubota Z121S w/ 48" Pro Dec, TG1860G w/RCK54TG
Mar 21, 2014
1,190
14
38
Guin, AL
I was wondering what a good speed for my Z121S is and still maintain a good cut? With these ZTR's you can really zip around at a very fast speed compared to a yard tractor.

What has been your experience?
 

GeoHorn

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May 18, 2018
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Lots of variables there... what kind of grass, how tall, mower condition, etc etc.
You're going to have to get out there and do some cutting and when you find out how your mower does in your grass... you'll know. ;)
Slower than you might first think is usually better.
 

BruceP

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G5200H
Aug 7, 2016
344
22
18
Richmond, Vermont, USA
My experience is that very SHARP blades make a world of difference.

It is far easier to KEEP the blades sharp (by having more than one set and just swap-out) than it is to let the them get dull and trying to re-bevel, sharpen and balance.

Sharp blades not only cut better. The grass is sliced clean and does not 'brown' on the ends. Also, my mower uses less fuel to drive sharp blades.

On my battery-powered push mower, without RAZOR sharp blades, it hardly cuts my Red Fescue lawn. (because Red Fescue is super-fine grass and will simply bend over instead of cut)
 

rjcorazza

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L4060 HSTC Loader, ZD326, ZD331
Mar 9, 2016
761
3
16
Hyattstown, MD
With good conditions (dry grass, smooth surface) I can cut as fast as the machine will go. I don't do that however. Bounce hard on one bump in the lawn and those 3 circles carved into the lawn look horrible, and I would be fired real quick.
Cutting at a brisk pace I generally AVERAGE 4 mph on normal lawns with the usual number of features and obstructions. I used a GPS enabled app on my phone to estimate acreage, speed, etc... and it was quite interesting. Even shows a satellite image showing the paths my mower took around the yard!
I agree with the sharp blade comments, it does make a difference. I keep mine at 30 degrees with a jig and an angle grinder, but I don't keep them razor sharp, just sharp.


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SDT

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multiple and various
Apr 15, 2018
1,586
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SE, IN
My experience is that very SHARP blades make a world of difference.

It is far easier to KEEP the blades sharp (by having more than one set and just swap-out) than it is to let the them get dull and trying to re-bevel, sharpen and balance.

Sharp blades not only cut better. The grass is sliced clean and does not 'brown' on the ends. Also, my mower uses less fuel to drive sharp blades.

On my battery-powered push mower, without RAZOR sharp blades, it hardly cuts my Red Fescue lawn. (because Red Fescue is super-fine grass and will simply bend over instead of cut)
Bingo, Bruce.

Sharp blades do, indeed, make a difference.

In addition to my finish mowers, I keep the blades on all of my rough cut rotary cutters sharp as well. They cut better and use less HP and fuel.

Caveat: Do not do this if you are cutting saplings. You need dull blades when cutting saplings to avoid creating sharp stakes that can damage tires. My rough cut mowers are used as HD finish mowers so this is not an issue for me.

SDT
 

mickeyd

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2014 L3200 DT w/LA524 FEL, 2019 Kubota Z121S w/ 48" Pro Dec, TG1860G w/RCK54TG
Mar 21, 2014
1,190
14
38
Guin, AL
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I was wondering if there was a magic formula but I see it is as I thought it would be.
 

Daren Todd

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Z121S Zero turn mower
May 18, 2014
6,381
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Conway, Arkansas
Thanks for the replies everyone.



I was wondering if there was a magic formula but I see it is as I thought it would be.
The height of the grass your cutting is my limiting factor for being able to put the hammer down.

Up to around 2" of growth, I can put the hammer down with my Z121S and get a nice clean cut traveling full speed. Over 2" of growth, I tend to have to moderate my speed accordingly.

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mickeyd

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2014 L3200 DT w/LA524 FEL, 2019 Kubota Z121S w/ 48" Pro Dec, TG1860G w/RCK54TG
Mar 21, 2014
1,190
14
38
Guin, AL
The height of the grass your cutting is my limiting factor for being able to put the hammer down.

Up to around 2" of growth, I can put the hammer down with my Z121S and get a nice clean cut traveling full speed. Over 2" of growth, I tend to have to moderate my speed accordingly.

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That is exactly the type of answer I was looking for.

What cutting height do you have it set for?
 

Daren Todd

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Z121S Zero turn mower
May 18, 2014
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Mines set on 3" right now. But about to be bumped up to 4 to prepare for the hot and dry months of July and August. I can usually get the grass to ride through those two months staying mostly green that way with out going broke watering. :D
 

RCW

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Apr 28, 2013
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Never driven a ZTR, but neighbor across the road has a Ferris.
We are often mowing at the same time.
Just amazing how much faster he can go with it versus my BX.


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SidecarFlip

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M9000HDCC3, M9000HD, Kubota GS850 Sidekick
Oct 28, 2018
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Never driven a ZTR, but neighbor across the road has a Ferris.
We are often mowing at the same time.
Just amazing how much faster he can go with it versus my BX.


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I can mow at 9 mph with my 60" Tank, problem is, staying in the seat.:eek:

Never watered a lawn in my entire life. I gauge my cut height to weather conditions.

One thing I learned pretty quick was sharp blades equal a nice cut. I change out my blades every spring no matter how good they look, or bad.

I look at mowing as a necessary evil. I'd just as soon let it grow and bale it.
 

Daren Todd

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Equipment
Z121S Zero turn mower
May 18, 2014
6,381
292
83
Conway, Arkansas
I can mow at 9 mph with my 60" Tank, problem is, staying in the seat.:eek:

Never watered a lawn in my entire life. I gauge my cut height to weather conditions.

One thing I learned pretty quick was sharp blades equal a nice cut. I change out my blades every spring no matter how good they look, or bad.

I look at mowing as a necessary evil. I'd just as soon let it grow and bale it.
My neighbors retired. Mows his yard twice a week. Golf course short with all the soldiers in a nice even row. Mine gets mowed once a week if the weather cooperates. There's a huge difference in our water bills in the summer. I do like you and adjust the height of the grass for the pending weather conditions. Switch to every other week or so during droughts. Higher in the peak of summer and shorter during the wetter months.

Neighbor stays the same height throughout and averages around $100 buck or more during the summer watering his yard.

I'll mow mine the next few times at 3.5 inches, then creep up to 4 in July and august. Then work my way down to 3" in middle September, and chop leaves in November.
 

lugbolt

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ZG127S-54
Oct 15, 2015
2,523
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Mid, South, USA
If you're mulching, the deck "rake" (front-to-rear level) needs to be 0-1/8" low in front. Even the, you get better cut quality if you overlap a little. Must run slow travel with mulching, really slow. Blades must be VERY sharp (razor?) AND the tips MUST NOT be rounded, it needs to have a sharp 90 degree point at the tips; if rounded (at all), cut quality suffers drastically.

When leveling, measure the rear of one of the side blades and the front of the center blade.

A lot of that also applies to side-discharging, but for mulching it's imperative.

Kubota sets them at 1/4" or so lower in front and you get 3 stripes, one for each blade. 0-1/8" down in front will give it one wide stripe that looks better, IMO. 1/4" is allowable but I like perfection. The downside is that at zero, it takes more power to cut. Not a lot, but noticeable. Some customers are really picky and those are the ones that require attention to every detail!

Slipping belt will affect cut. So will loose spindle bearings, Out of level (front-to-rear and side-to-side), bent deck shell, bent blade, dull or worn blades, cutting too low (affects under-deck airflow), deck plugged underneath with wet/stuck clippings, loose spindle pulleys, and a laundry list of other things.

I know mulching wasn't mentioned but what I've learned by mowing cemetery yards who wanted no clippings also works for side-discharging, and works VERY well. Your travel speed will vary. Your mower and your grass will tell you how fast you can or can't go. On my yard (country yard full of weeds), I can cut at 10.7 mph...which is the speed of my G1900...however staying on the seat at that speed is challenging particularly with 4 wheel steering.