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Cutting a lot of long grass

Short version:
I need to cut ~2 acres of grass (with >100 trees in it) twice a year, I have a large lawn tractor (John Deere LTR180) which doesn't quite cope if not bone dry so was thinking of something like a Jansen AT-120 and towing it behind the lawn tractor.  Anyone with any relevant experience or suggestions?

Long version:
I've had a search but as always finding a relevant thread isn't easy and so far I haven't suceeded.
So we're rather lucky and a few years ago we moved to a house with nearly 3 acres of garden, the formal bit is easy to mow but I'm struggling to work out what the best way of mowing the ~2 acres of non-formal bit, the ground is relatively flat, with over 100 trees, some areas have a lot of trees others are fairly wide open areas.  We like to leave the non-formal bit with long grass through the summer with paths cut through as the kids and us love it and it gives the copious amounts of wild life somewhere to enjoy.  Every spring and autumn we cut it, the first year I got a local farmer to top it but it needed a lot of additional cutting to get it to the standard we wanted (trees get in the way etc.).  I then got (for free) a broken John Deere LTR180 (~17hp 42" lawn tractor), after fixing it I also modified it so it would do side eject.  This deals with the long grass as long as it's dry which for 2018 was fine, for 2019 getting the grass to dry was impossible and the mower struggled!  I was thinking of getting something like a Jansen AT-120 flail mower and towing it behind the lawn tractor to cut and break the grass down then collecting using the rear eject mower, a trailer and a tarp (very effective), my question was is there anyone with relevant experience and suggestion of how to do this, I also need to be a little careful of twisting actions so a scyth is out of the question.

Thanks for any suggestions!


  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,211
    We've got a bertolini 2 wheeled tractor. We have just under 2 acres, most of it as rough grass with trees and shrubs and short grass paths and like you, apart from the paths we leave the grass long all summer outside the small areas I like to call 'garden'. Our site is very uneven (remains of old farm buildings in the ground) and steeply sloping, which rules out a ride on mower or conventional tractor. But I think the principle of the grass cutting is probably the same.
    We have a flail mower and it's brilliant. It cuts everything to a very fine mulch (including long wet grass, brush, even small trees). It's not a lawn finish you get - you can see the tracks of the flails when you clear the cut grass. So if you want it to look like a lawn, you'd need to go over it a second time with a rotary of some sort. But for clearing paths through long grass, and for the main cuts of the whole area, it's just the job. 
    We have tended to use the flail mower three or four times a year to keep the paths cut and the ordinary petrol lawn mower to keep the paths short in the interim. Last year I think we only managed to get the lawn mower round once or twice - it was either so dry the grass wasn't growing or so wet the mower couldn't cope even with a couple of inches long grass. So we ended up using the flail mower about once a month on the paths (just the usual twice annual cut of all the rest).
    We're thinking of getting a rotary deck to go on the tractor, when funds allow, to do the path cutting.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,551
    You could also look at cutter bar type blades (think hedge trimmer) or  lawnmowers designed for tall grass, like they are only standard mower sized though so 2 acres would take a while.

  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,404
    Hi tomfkemp, another option you could look at would be a landscape gardener/garden maintenance firm. Many moons ago I worked for a firm with several grass cutting gangs and had a mean flail mower set up with a large walk behind unit and a ride on unit that absolutely pulverised the grass to next to nothing. 

    The big advantage to this is they provide the equipment in good working order and do the work for a very small cost compared to the capital outlay of buying your own gear 
  • Thanks everyone for your input!  Does anyone have any experience pulling a flail mower with a lawn tractor (ride on lawn mower)?  Still tempted by that option as I'd prefer not relying on another company and long term I think i'll save money as I can do all the maintenance myself.
  • AWBAWB Posts: 421
    I got an effco last summer, to replace an outback brush cutter ,much easier you use, can recommend 
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