The tractor mower is a large ride-on mower that can mow lawns with a minimum area of 1000 m². Ideal for maintaining your garden without getting tired, this type of machine is easily manoeuvrable, efficient and suitable for all terrains, including the most capricious. You just need to drive it like any four-wheeled vehicle. However, to choose the right machine for you, several criteria must be taken into account. Let’s discover them together.
What are the characteristics of a lawn tractor?
The lawn tractor is a self-propelled machine whose function is to mow large areas of lawns and at the same time harvest the cut grass. This machine can be adapted to flat grounds such as irregular, sloping or strewn with various obstacles. Very practical, it saves precious time by almost halving the mowing time compared to a petrol or electric mower. Easy to handle and to drive, it is a gardening tool accessible to all.
There are two types of lawn tractors: the rider and the ride-on.
- The rider should be reserved for mowing of medium-sized areas, from 1,000 to 2,000 m².
- Riding mower tractor suitable for large spaces from 1,500 to 6,000 m².
Regardless of its type, the lawn tractor is made up of four wheels on which a frame rests. It is equipped with a four-stroke engine that runs on gasoline. Below 2000 m², a 10 to 12 HP motor is sufficient; beyond that, it is better to consider 13 to 15 HP of power. Equipped with two driving wheels, the lawn tractor is driven with a gearbox (manual or automatic) like that of a car, with three speeds and a reverse gear.
While all lawn tractors harvest cut grass, this collection method varies depending on the model. Some have a classic bin that must be emptied automatically or manually. Others throw the grass on the sides or on the back of the machine. For the latter, it is possible to manually collect green waste or to opt for the technique of mulching, which consists of crushing them to leave them in the grass to feed it.
If the lawn tractor is a very practical and comfortable machine for the maintenance of medium and large areas, it can be very expensive and requires a significant investment. The first models are sold for 1,500 to 2,000 euros. For a machine that performs well on large surfaces and on complex terrain, count 4,000 to 7,000 euros.
It should be noted that for an area of less than 1000 m², the mower tractor is of no interest.
How to choose a lawn tractor?
Choosing the right lawn tractor for you shouldn’t be left to chance. Indeed, to benefit from the advantages of a powerful tool, it is important to make your choice by following certain essential criteria. Here they are.
Field size: engine power and cutting width
The size of the land is a determining criterion since it determines the power of the mower tractor engine and the cutting width.
- 1,000 to 1,500 m² of surface area : for such a surface, a 10 HP motor (from 300 to 350 cm3) is sufficient for a cutting width between 72 and 92 cm.
- 1,500 to 3,000 m² of surface area : for such a surface, a 10 to 15 HP motor (from 400 to 500 cm3) is recommended, for a cutting width between 84 and 102 cm.
- More than 3,000 m² of surface : for such a surface, a 15 HP motor (at least 550 cm3) is necessary, for a cutting width between 102 and 122 cm.
It should be noted that most lawn tractors support a terrain slope of up to 30%. Beyond that, it is better to use the services of a professional.
The method of collecting cut grass
Depending on your needs, your physical capacities and the time you have available, you will need to choose a specific collection method. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
- The collection box : this option is practical, because the cut grass is immediately collected, which allows you to do everything in one pass and obtain an impeccable result, well finished and clean, more aesthetic. If you wish, you can save the mowing for your compost or for recycling it in another way (mulching, etc.). On the other hand, as with a classic mower, you will have to stop several times to empty your bin, hence the need to opt for a large container (300 liters) in order to limit back and forth trips. The bin can be emptied manually, which is restrictive if it is bulky and heavy, or automatically, by actuating a button or a lever.
- Side ejection : this device ejects the cut grass directly on the side of the machine during mowing. You save time since it is no longer necessary to stop to empty your bin. On the other hand, it all depends on what you plan to do with this waste that adorns your lawn. Cut coarse, they look unsightly for two to three days after mowing, but then act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn. If they bother you, you can pick them up by hand, but the time savings will quickly be lost.
- Mulching : Mulching is similar to the ejection version, but the grass is crushed into very small pieces before being redistributed to the sides and rear of the machine while mowing. The result is more aesthetic, because the small strands are barely visible and penetrate better into the grass to make a better fertilizer. On the other hand, these machines do not appreciate too tall grass and need regular maintenance after each mowing.
To make the best choice, several points of comfort should hold your attention.
- Blade protectors : If your land is littered with obstacles or wood or rock debris, opt for a lawn tractor with reinforced blade protection to avoid damaging your machine.
- An ergonomic seat : in high season, you will spend several hours mowing on your machine. Choose a comfortable model, with a height-adjustable and ergonomic seat as well as easily accessible centralized controls.
- The wheels : the larger the diameter of your wheels, the more you limit vibrations and gain in comfort and the less unsightly streaks you mark your lawn.
- Cutting height : Be sure to invest in purchasing a model that allows you to easily choose and adjust the cutting height to suit your needs.
- The transmission : you can opt for a manual transmission model, as on traditional vehicles, or automatic to gain driving comfort.