Best, economical plan for mowing/weeds/etc

Thefarmofdreams

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Hi all! Hoping to pick some brains about the best way to get our farm going! We close in 2 weeks on a place with 55 acres, mostly wooded, with lots of trails. Long term, we plan to get an older tractor with a 5 point, and do all the things. But short term, we have a TON of expenses and need the cheapest (but still workable) band aid we can. We need to be able to mow some lawn (no having animals graze it isn't an option, my citified hubby wants some actual people-only yard space, lol). We also need to keep the trails maintained (they're currently manicured to perfection. it's really gorgeous). And finally, there are plenty of weeds to be dealt with. In particular, there is a section full of milk weeds and the like that I need to clear to set up our dry lot.

So I'm thinking a lawn tractor/mower for most of the work. A decent one ought to handle the grass and maybe even pull a wagon with buckets or hay if needed. and... something... for weeds? Traditional weed eater? Push weed eater? IDK!

What would you do?
 

Bruce

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Having animals graze isn't a solution anyway. I have 2 alpacas in a fenced acre which includes a 30'ish x 100'ish pond. I still have to mow because they eat what they like and ignore the rest! Neighbor across the road with 3 horses and 2 alpacas has to mow as well.

The question I have to ask is "how many acres need to be mowed?". I know this might be hard to calculate given a lot of it might be trails. The next question is "how 'smooth' are the trails and other areas to be mowed?" You might be able to get away with a riding mower for everything and it can pull a trailer. If the trails aren't reasonably smooth a riding mower might not work well and you really need a tractor with a flail mower or rotary cutter.

Before I got my 35 HP compact tractor and flail mower I had a neighbor who does hay cut my 5 acre weed fields with his sickle bar mower in August to give the wildlife a chance to use the land. Then I would mow with my garden tractor but if you do that you HAVE to keep up with it because a rider will choke on anything over about 6"-8" and can't deal with thick stalk weeds. The flail doesn't mind 5' or thick stalk weeds (which tend to be 5' tall ;) ). I don't really have thick stalk weeds anymore, I guess they are annuals and I've cut them before they could seed. The flail chops it all up, the sickle bar dropped everything whole (as one would want if they were making hay) and it would all mat down and nothing could grow up through it.

I mow my lawn with the garden tractor (54" deck), the real tractor CAN be used but it is just too large to go around everything easily. I also have a snow blower for it. There are sub-compact tractors with belly mowers, much more capable that a garden tractor (tractor being a very generous description) since they also have 3 point hitches and loaders. But they will cost a fair bit more than a garden tractor with a mowing deck.

Milkweed is pretty critical to Monarch butterflies. Maybe you don't want to cut it all down ;)

:welcome
 

secuono

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Used, old riding mower.
Or an old fashioned manual scythe. Good for grass and some mixed weeds.
There's also push mowers, the manual ones, where it's human propelled. I have one of those, too. Those are best for clean lawns and cut regularly! Too tall or steamy weeds and it's screwed.

For the majority of the 55 acres, might be best to find someone to make hay off it and take it all. They make hay and add ferts as needed as payment.
 

Thefarmofdreams

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Having animals graze isn't a solution anyway. I have 2 alpacas in a fenced acre which includes a 30'ish x 100'ish pond. I still have to mow because they eat what they like and ignore the rest! Neighbor across the road with 3 horses and 2 alpacas has to mow as well.

The question I have to ask is "how many acres need to be mowed?". I know this might be hard to calculate given a lot of it might be trails. The next question is "how 'smooth' are the trails and other areas to be mowed?" You might be able to get away with a riding mower for everything and it can pull a trailer. If the trails aren't reasonably smooth a riding mower might not work well and you really need a tractor with a flail mower or rotary cutter.

Before I got my 35 HP compact tractor and flail mower I had a neighbor who does hay cut my 5 acre weed fields with his sickle bar mower in August to give the wildlife a chance to use the land. Then I would mow with my garden tractor but if you do that you HAVE to keep up with it because a rider will choke on anything over about 6"-8" and can't deal with thick stalk weeds. The flail doesn't mind 5' or thick stalk weeds (which tend to be 5' tall ;) ). I don't really have thick stalk weeds anymore, I guess they are annuals and I've cut them before they could seed. The flail chops it all up, the sickle bar dropped everything whole (as one would want if they were making hay) and it would all mat down and nothing could grow up through it.

I mow my lawn with the garden tractor (54" deck), the real tractor CAN be used but it is just too large to go around everything easily. I also have a snow blower for it. There are sub-compact tractors with belly mowers, much more capable that a garden tractor (tractor being a very generous description) since they also have 3 point hitches and loaders. But they will cost a fair bit more than a garden tractor with a mowing deck.

Milkweed is pretty critical to Monarch butterflies. Maybe you don't want to cut it all down ;)

:welcome

I agree about animals not being a solution, but i've seen it suggested a few times, so I wanted to address it right off. :)

I think probably... 5ish acres need mowed? The trails are mostly flat, a lot of them look like strips of lawn because the current owner takes such great care of them. And those that aren't, I think I might just have to own up to doing by hand with the weed eater, or similar.

Sounds like a lawn tractor is definitely the answer. I just have to roll the dice and hope for a decent one, lol.

We definitely will keep some milkweed, just not in the horse/donkey living area. It's poisonous to them. And that area will be a dry lot (Donkeys get fat on air, so we need a dry lot to control their calorie intake.) We have a lot of milkweed about, and will likely also transplant some of this milkweed elsewhere. We definitely like butterflies! My sister is going to build a house on the back end of the 55 acres, and plans to do all of her landscaping with milkweed and other butterfly/bee food. 😁

@secuono Thanks for the thoughts! It definitely seems a riding lawn mower is going to be the answer. With everything on our plate, convenience definitely needs to factor in a little, lol!



Any thoughts on the best option for a particularly aggressive weed solution? Are push weed eaters worth it, or is an old fashioned hand held, string type the best bet?
 

Bruce

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Sounds like you can do the trails with a riding mower given their condition. I wouldn't take mine more than maybe 50' into my woods on the 1 trail, tough enough with the real tractor. And nothing to look at "lawn" wise on the trail.

"Push weedeater" like the DR trimmer? I can see one of those if you have a lot to do and the area is fairly open. A regular string trimmer can get heavy even with straps. I have 2. A single string battery one, the battery has died and there are better brands for more money. I got it at Lowes, it would run for maybe 20 minutes and take 45 to recharge. Heavy stalk weeds, like stinging nettle or burdock, would shred the string, it sits unused in the little barn. And I have a 2 string Stihl gas trimmer that can even take a "circular saw" type blade. I have one but haven't hit the bigger stuff yet so it is still in the box. I have a double harness for this one.
 

Thefarmofdreams

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Sounds like you can do the trails with a riding mower given their condition. I wouldn't take mine more than maybe 50' into my woods on the 1 trail, tough enough with the real tractor. And nothing to look at "lawn" wise on the trail.

"Push weedeater" like the DR trimmer? I can see one of those if you have a lot to do and the area is fairly open. A regular string trimmer can get heavy even with straps. I have 2. A single string battery one, the battery has died and there are better brands for more money. I got it at Lowes, it would run for maybe 20 minutes and take 45 to recharge. Heavy stalk weeds, like stinging nettle or burdock, would shred the string, it sits unused in the little barn. And I have a 2 string Stihl gas trimmer that can even take a "circular saw" type blade. I have one but haven't hit the bigger stuff yet so it is still in the box. I have a double harness for this one.
Thank you for this! That 2 string Stihl sounds like just the thing to get things done. I like the flexibility to do big and small jobs. Definitely going to look into that. Thanks again!
 

Baymule

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The string trimmer with the big wheels is really nice. My neighbor has one that we share. He has a key to my tractor, so we just call it community equipment. LOL I think he paid $300-ish for it a Lowes. It sure beats a hand held.

Congratulations on the purchase of the farm, can't wait to hear more about your adventures.
 

Thefarmofdreams

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The string trimmer with the big wheels is really nice. My neighbor has one that we share. He has a key to my tractor, so we just call it community equipment. LOL I think he paid $300-ish for it a Lowes. It sure beats a hand held.

Congratulations on the purchase of the farm, can't wait to hear more about your adventures.
Thanks Bay! I'll definitely check that out too!


We're super excited about it. It's been a long time coming. I'm going to start a journal soon with all the planning-from-scratch stuff. I can't believe we close in a week.. .and I already have hay scheduled to come in for that weekend! :D =D🤯
 

Thefarmofdreams

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I guess that means the new property has good fencing already. BONUS!
Nope. We have a barn but no fencing at all. Going to throw in a post & electric fence the first weekend and build a shed to use until the barn is ok'd for creatures. But we want to stop boarding the horse asap, and I wasn't sure how hay is up there (we're 4hrs away now), so hay was one of the first things on my list. Then we can hopefully get everyone moved in by November!
 
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