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Review of Our MTD Riding Lawn Mower

Updated on September 19, 2017
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Mary is an organic coconut farmer. In her articles, she shares ideas on land management and how to increase the profit from a small farm.

MTD Riding Lawn Mower
MTD Riding Lawn Mower | Source

Why We Bought an MTD Riding Lawn Mower

For us, getting a ride on mower revolutionized work on our coconut farm. My husband had been cutting our grounds with a brush cutter and was finding the work too much. He is 67 years old and is an amputee.

We don't have workers so the cutting and clearing on our 8-acre farm is down to the two of us. Couple that with a high humidity level and an extreme UV rating, it is fair to say we were struggling to cope with the work which needed doing. The time had come where we needed help in the form of a tractor or ride on lawn mower.

Before we bought the ride on lawn mower, my husband looked at the other options available to us. A large tractor was out of the question as they are horrendously expensive in Brazil and in retrospect, we didn't need it. The mower does everything we need it to do. The only exception to this is cutting the bases around the trees. My husband has developed a method for getting pretty darn close though. He then follows up with the brush cutter.

Our ride on mower is the same as the Yard Machine mower produced by MTD. They rebrand it for the Brazilian market though. It has a 42-inch cut and is 17 HP. My husband knew the quality of the Briggs and Stratton engine it had and after scouring the internet for weeks to find the one he wanted, this was the most bang for our buck.

Using the Mower on Slopes

When cutting slopes, which might be up to a 45-degree angle, my husband will cut across the slope not up and down. The reason for doing this is less strain on the tractor and a more thorough cut. As he cuts he leans towards the incline to counteract the imbalance and prevent any accidents happening. We have the tires it came with and my husband was initially concerned that they might not be grippy enough. I'm happy to report, that he hasn't experienced any slipping or wheel spin unless he has gone into an area which has standing water.

Selecting the Correct Cutting Levels

Because we are a farm and not a landscaped garden my husband keeps the cutter at a level of 3 or 4. This keeps the blades high enough so it won't hit debris such as small coconuts but low enough to cut off the unruly grass heads and keep everything looking tidy.

We have a variety of grasses and weeds including some which form quite a dense clump. For these, he passes over them with the blades at a higher level and then drives over it again with the blades set lower. Otherwise, the mower may stall. This is not something you want to happen as starting and stopping a lot takes its toll on the battery, just as in a car. Moreover, the jarring, in the long run, wouldn't be beneficial for the machine.

Source

Caring for Your Lawn Mower Blades

Unlike a conventional gasoline push mower, our sit on mower has two blades which are housed under a cutting deck.

If you're cutting ground which has never been cut do a walk across the intended cutting area to remove debris. This may include stones, branches etc. Here on our farm, there are coconuts, bits of building rubble, and trash which keeps resurfacing. We are in a rural area of Brazil where people would bury their trash. Although twice-weekly trash collection occurs here, the custom of burying or burning trash still exists here. Therefore we are finding bits of bottles, cans, shoes and plastic bags resurfacing from time to time. If you are in a rural area, this may be the same for you, especially if your homestead had people living there previously.

The blades should be checked regularly for signs of wear. Because we are on sand, the blades wear down fast. You can extend the life of your blades by using a grinding wheel to put an edge on it. This has to be done with care as the blades have to be balanced or it can cause problems to the mower.

For the job they do, buying and replacing the blades as needed is the better option as they have been precision engineered to provide you with optimal cutting.

Pulling a Trailer

Once we bought the tractor mower we needed a trailer. Before I was having to use my wheelbarrow or we used our VW Kombi for larger items. Our trailer was built by our neighbor who is a welder. The majority of materials were sourced on our farm, including a wheelchair, fish cages and a chicken shed door. My husband discussed what he wanted with our neighbor, the weight he expected it to carry and the welder began to go to work.

Not only are we using the tractor as a grass cutter, it is now a workhorse here on our farm as there is always something which needs moving. When we replant trees, everything we need including spades, stakes, manure, compost, trees and the worker (me) goes into the trailer.

custom built trailer for lawn mower
custom built trailer for lawn mower | Source
Ride on mower with trailer
Ride on mower with trailer | Source

Lawn Mower Maintenance

As with any machine, there is ongoing maintenance. Getting to grips with what to check and potential problem signs can save you not only time but money. My husband is now quite handy at doing minor repairs and maintenance when needed.

The main user will train their ear to the sounds of the operating machine. This is the same for a car, a washing machine or a lawn mower. The operator knows what it should sound like when it is doing its job. By doing this, if a problem occurs, it is immediately rectified and the machine is back ready for the next job. It isn't just a change in sound but also any change in vibration. This could indicate that there is something loose under the cutting deck.

Check the following regularly as a matter or course for any wear and if necessary, replace with new ones.

  • Belts

  • Air filter

  • Blades

Other Attachments

We have had the trailer made for us but there are also other attachments which can be purchased for it including:

  • Grass collector

  • Leaf bag

  • Rakes, threshers, aerators

  • Ground levelers, rollers

Cutting Efficiently

My husband is continually looking for ways to make every job easier and use the mower more efficiently. This not only saves time but also money.

In the manual, we downloaded for our MTD lawn mower, there was a guide showing the best way to cut. A grid pattern is suggested so you are covering the area without missing any ground or driving over an area twice.

Everyone will find their own best way of cutting including speed and height of blades. Our MTD mower has 7 speeds and my husband has found, cutting on #3 the most effective for our situation.

Using the Ride on Mower as a Mobility Scooter

Although the mower is used for cutting and hauling here on our farm it serves another purpose. Since my husband is disabled, he uses it if he is having problems with his prosthetic. This enables him to still check the coconut trees here on our farm but without the excessive walking involved.

Although this is designed as means to cut grass, on our farm it has become so much more.

© 2017 Mary Wickison

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    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Shauna,

      My husband is continually tweaking his method of doing things on the farm. In order to save gas, he will often cut on his way to where he wants to go and cut another section on his way back. He says, if the grass and weeds are kept low, the machine is using less gas than when he leaves to grow. If he doesn't have anything to mow, he will remove the cutting deck completely to make the machine lighter. That also gives him a better ground clearance.

      Now is a busy cutting time as we are nearing the end of the wet season. He will have to cut as the water recedes otherwise it will be a job for the brush cutter.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 months ago from Central Florida

      A riding mower is definitely a necessity for anyone who has acreage. When your husband uses it as a means of transportation on the farm, does he raise the blades?

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Hi George,

      You're right about the turning circle on those. We looked into those before we bought. For us, partly due to our location, the availability and price were prohibitive. Plus we knew ours was robust and going to give us years of service.

      Thanks for reading and your information.

    • profile image

      Georgeetaylor 5 months ago

      Enjoyed reading your article as always. I want to let you know that the "zero turn" riders are more efficient than the regular riding mowers. Investigate them and you will find you can get closer to the trees and turning around is a breeze.

      As always, I thank you for sharing.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Although we have a lawn around the house, the majority of our cutting is in between our coconut trees. Because we have buried our irrigation pipes, we need to cut on top instead of plowing.

      Although it is a lawnmower, we use it in lieu of a tractor.

      Hope your Sunday is peaceful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, we have completely gotten rid of our lawn, so this really isn't something I can learn from. Oddly, I don't think I've ever ridden a riding lawnmower. Seems like it would be kind of fun. I'm babbling now, so wishing you a happy Sunday.