Maneuverability and efficiency key to encouraging new growth, better productivity
Whittington Woods Campgrounds in Whittington, Ill., is a densely wooded camping retreat in southern Illinois. Easily accessible from the nearby highway, the campgrounds see visitors every season of the year.
For Reed Christensen, the campground owner and manager, this means year-round mowing and maintenance of the 26-acre campground, a task that he finds much easier to accomplish with a Grasshopper 900 Series FrontMount™ diesel mower and 72-inch cutting deck than with anything else.
“It’s simply amazing,” Christensen says, “that this big diesel mower is as light and maneuverable on the turf as it is. And it has a very good cut. Even with all the uneven terrain we have on the grounds, it always leaves a smooth, clean cut.”
Christensen says he has an “intense” mowing situation, with more than 100 campsites with obstacles such as RV parking, benches, tables and utilities. And many places in the grounds are heavily shaded, which makes growing grass tricky.
“When I bought Whittington Woods two years ago, the grounds weren’t in good condition,” he says. “We’re working hard to elevate the appearance, and in many cases that means planting and encouraging new grass, which is difficult to do in the dense shade.”
Before planting new seed, Christensen does most of the preparation work with an AERA-vator™ implement attached to the Grasshopper.
“I’ve had some pretty good success with it,” he says. “It helps relieve the compacted areas, giving the new grass roots the room they need to establish.”
New grass must mature before it can stand up to regular traffic, but the new blades must be mowed to encourage healthy growth in the long run. Christensen says that is what makes his mowing “intense,” the delicate balance of when to mow and when not to mow.
“The maneuverability of the Grasshopper is essential when mowing new turf,” he says. “You have to get on and off the grass as quickly as possible with as few turns and repeat tracks as you can manage. The 6-foot deck and zero-turn capability help tremendously.”
The Grasshopper not only helps keep the new turf from being damaged, but it also helps Christensen mow all 26 acres in two days, maneuvering around obstacles easily in less time and fewer passes, leaving him time to tend to other necessary utilities and building maintenance.
“I make good time on the Grasshopper, and with great results. It just goes through the grass, no matter what kind, like butter,” he says. “There are ‘faster’ mowers out there, but what good is mowing fast if the cut isn’t good or if it tears up the turf?”