So if you are one of the few lucky individuals to own a woodland you might be looking for a mode of transport that can be used to move wood and tools around your space. Whilst there are a number of potential solutions, briefly covered below, this post explains why sit on lawn tractors provide a cheap and economical solution.
- 4×4 truck – Expensive compared to other solutions. Can be used to get to the wood but requires wide tracks and large turning circles within the woodland. Will still get stuck if used during poor weather/ground conditions. A winch is almost essential if operating on hilly ground.
- Tractor – Expensive and cannot be used easily over long distances outside the wood so will need to be stored on site.
- Heavy Horse – Has to be fed and cared for daily but provides an environmentally friendly solution.
- Quads – See Tractor.
What kind of lawnmower are we talking about?
Not any old sit on lawnmower will do. What you are looking for is ideally a Garden Tractor (left) or even a Lawn Tractor (centre). A small standard sit on lawnmower (right) is not going to work for woodland work.
Garden Tractors can usually be spotted as they have a horizontal drive shaft, PTO at the front and/or rear and bolts hubs. Lawn Tractors are very similar but will typically have vertical drive shafts, single under PTO for the cutting deck and key shafts for the rear wheels. However, the big advantage of Lawn Tractors vs Garden Tractors will be cost.
Things to look for when buying a Lawn Tractor.
- Manual Gearbox – The ‘best’ gear boxes are Peerless and spares/replacements are readily available. Other geared gearboxes exist and work. Avoid hydro as they tire with age and are less good when under load on hills.
- Rear Wheels – Do they come off? Key Axles are terrible for getting stuck on and a careless attempt to remove them can mushroom the axle.
- Engine Size – We have found that engine size is not as important as tyres and weight over the rear tyres. The little WH A90 above has a 4 speed box powered by a 8HP engine compared to either a 12, 16 or 17 HP engine all on a 6 speed box. They all perform equally well off road and we find grip is the limiting factor.
- Tyres – The standard lawn tyres are not going to work off road. You will need some more suitable tyres. We have found that tractor style quad tyres work better than traditional tractor tyres because the finer tread allows them to climb over roots without slipping. Check tyre costs and include this in your budget. Inner tubes are recommended as well because you can run lower pressures.
- Tow Hitch – Lightweight pin hitches are ok but will bend if the overloaded or the trolley rolls. Ball hitches work better.
Useful Information and other links.
- Have a moouch around the Wheel Horse forum loads of useful stuff here including documents and manuals but also lots of cool stuff being done by others. Allthough there are other excellent makes available Wheel Horses seem to have a loyal following and therefore there is lots of information on them.
- Also check out the All Terrain Lawnmower Forum for more information on using Lawn/Garden Tractors off road.
- Todd on https://www.youtube.com/user/Fearlessfront does super cool stuff with more than just WheelHorse
- http://outdoorpowerinfo.com/ and http://www.tractordata.com/ are good websites for checking specs etc.