I'm looking for some sage advice from those that have been there, done this before. My nine, almost ten year old daughter has indicated a significant amount of interest in starting to help mow the lawn. I think she's big enough, mature enough, and takes guidance well enough that I'm ready to let her start. She's actually mowed twice already, and did an acceptable job. Needs to slow down a bit, but I digress.
My primary question is this: What would you put your daughter on to mow with if you had the choice: Husqvarna ZTR vs JD 1025R with 60" MMM vs. John Deere garden tractor (GT 235 or similar)?
I'm currently mowing 2.3 flat acres with many trees and obstacles with a Husqvarna ZTR. I'm in the process of purchasing the 2 acres next door, which is wide open and flat. The ZTR is already 10 years old, and going from 2 to 4+ acres is probaby going to wear it out in a hurry. The logical decision is to buy a nice ZTR, but I'm hesitant to because of the weight. I live in a very low lying, swampy area, and am afraid that the 1500 lb commercial ZTR will tear the place up. Sometimes my 700 lb Husky tears up the place in the spring and fall. It's not unusual to have standing water for weeks on end. I'd rather not have to contribute to the "where did you stick your ZTR today" thread!
I'm pretty sure I want to add a deck to my 1025, simply for summer mowing when the ground is hard, and I want to be able to mow at 3.5-4 inch height. The current ztr will only cut at 2.75 max, and the yard becomes very dry very quickly at that height. Use the ztr when it's wet ground and around the obstacles, and use the 1025 during the summer and in the wide open areas.