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advice please for a tondeuse débrousailleuse


mint

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Summer time and the living might be easy but the grass cutting is increasingly becoming a chore and a worry.

Today, I saw one of these wonderous machines and I was asking questions of the sales assisstant.  Needless to say, she knew little more than I did.

Does anyone have one of these?  Are they really a better bet than a self-propelling lawnmower?  Our garden, about 2500 sq m has 2 steepish slopes (10% gradient) and is not suitable for a large sit-on.  We have been advised that a small sit-on wouldn't be powerful enough to get up the slopes.

Also, we have a strip of lawn that is narrow and I don't think a ride-on is ideal.

We do have a lawnmower that we bought when it was on offer at Leclerc and after seeking advice on choice here on the forum.  That's worked fine for a few years but now OH, with advancing age, is finding the machine heavy to use and complains that he has to push it rather than it pushing itself.

So, I got very excited on noticing one of these tondeuse débrousailleuse and would like to hear what the mechanically informed ones on here think about them?

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Won't these be heavy to use, so you would also need the self propelled part to work extremely well.

With nearly 2/3 of an acre wouldn't it be easier to get a gardener in, and join the CESU service. You'd get a reduction in your impots and the price of one of these would pay for an awful lot of work.  From a third of an acre, on the flat, in France we are down to a handerchief size lawn now, and that suits me just fine.

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ALBF to the rescue...

Have no idea what a tondeuse débrousailleuse is ???? I looked at a picture ????

Anyway, I bought a Lawn mower a month ago. I have a 1500 sq metre lawn and it is very awkward to mow.

I went into the shop and saw a small lawn mower which I thought would be OK. The bloke said is was not powerful enough and said you need the next engine up. I looked at it and he saw that I was not thrilled. Is it a question of price ? ... I said no, it looks very big and heavy. I don't want big and heavy. I explained my garden with pictures because I can't speak French apparently.

Right he said (in French) you need this and showed me a John Deere that was smallish, made of reinforced plastic with a very large engine on it. I could not believe how light it was and the build quality was fantastic. It was pro and designed for my garden.

Anyway, that is what you need Minty. There is no traction, but you don't need it. I cut my lawn in half the time now and actually look forward to doing it. In fact it is so light, OH can do it. Best lawn mower in the world.

It cost 350 euros.....but I can't find it on their website.
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Thats right, pensioners dont need any help to push a petrol engined lawn mower up a one in ten gradient against the resistance of cutting grass [B][:P]

 

I can only advise on electric mowers for flat and level postage stamp sized gardens.

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Here's an example:

https://www.jcmotoculture.com/59-tondeuse-debroussailleuse

When we moved into our first house here it was April and the grass was knee -high, on a slope too. We had found a french "handyman" and he said he had a machine that would cope with it, no problem. This is what he used, though his was ancient and battered. It was hard work for him though. I was amazed, never seen such a machine before.

How much grass have you got Mint? Is it worth spending a bit more on a siton? We have about 3500m2

of grass and have just bought a new siton which husband is thrilled with, even cut knee high grass in the chicken run. We'd had the old one for 11 years.

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Bonjour everyone and thank you for all your input[:)]

More food for thought or even grass for cutting? 

A sit-on is not ideal because of the 2 slopey bits of the garden unless it is a big one and a big one is also not ideal because parts of the garden are narrowish strips.

Yes, we did get someone in to do the first cut of the season and yes the man had to work very hard.  OH is keen to do the grass cutting himself and I believe it's good that he carries on doing things for his own morale, apart from anything else.

If someone can recommend a smallish machine as ALBF has described but with traction on the wheels that might be the answer?

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From what you say it may be that the drive belt on your self-propelled machine is either broken, slipped off or loose. Look at it from underneath and it may be a simple job to fix.

Our lawned area is about 1000m2 and when the grass is too long to cut with the lawnmower I give it a once-over with a strimmer before using the lawnmower. The model you are interested in does seem to be a bit of a beast to use.

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Mint, the one I recommend won't need traction. It really is that light. It is half the weight of a normal lawn mower because it does not have a metal chassis. If you can push a baby in a light pram across grass then you will be fine. My 7 year old could push this thing and mow a lawn going up an incline.

Remember, traction can easily break as well if you snag the cable and of course it uses more petrol. I hate stopping and filling up. One tank will do 1500 sq metres easily.

I think it is this one I have.

http://www.deere.fr/fr_FR/products/equipment/walk_behind_mowers/petrol_mowers/40cm_working_width/r40/r40.page?

They say it is only for 700sq metres but that is a load of tosh. Well, it depends how thick and mossy your grass is I suppose. But it has a 550 briggs Stratton engine which is enough for most.

I have a lot of tress and buses and growing stuff that I have to negotiate around and it is a breeze. If you have a Wembley type garden then maybe something larger would be better but that will add more weight. Weight is not good.

I have done my fair share of lawn mowing over the years and this thing is an absolute pleasure.

ALBF rates it 5 stars.
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There seems to be some confusion on the terms here. A tondeuse debroussailleuse is a heavy duty machine for dealing with very long grass, brambles, thick undergrowth etc. While they are great at clearing this sort of growth, they are no real use for just regular mowing of a lawn.

A tondeuse is a regular mower that needs to be pushed as the....uh....person....above linked to. Fine on the flat but can be a chore up hills, despite what certain people may infer.

A tondeuse tractee is a mower that can propel itself while you walk behind it and guide its direction. This is likely the best solution as almost no effort is required.

A tracteur tondeuse is a ride-on mower, which you dont think will cope. Not having seen your garden, I cant say, but they can do faily steep slopes if taken straight up and down.

Buying brand new a tondeuse debroussailleuse is likely to be about 1000 euros for something that isnt cheap chinese dogsh1t.

A regular mower with petrol engine starts from a couple of hundred and goes up from there depending on power etc. a collection box for the clippings will usually be included with all but the smallest.

A self propelled mower is not much dearer. I bought a MTB branded one from Mr Bricolage for 400 euros...kawasaki engine and large collection box for the clippings. It is excelent and easily breezes up even very steep slopes.

A ride on tractor is likely 1000+ for a very basic one.

Buy something with a known brand engine...Briggs and Stratton being the most common, then stuff like Honda, Kawasaki etc. As a rule, the japs make very good small engines that require minimal servicing.

Brand-X stuff may be cheaper but they are usually chinese made copies of older models and while they work well from new, they generally dont last well and spares can be hard to find.

If old age and physical weakness is starting to become a factor, look for a mower with an electric starter rather than the pull-cord. (demarrage electrique) This adds to the price but is very easy to use.
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Good reply, Dave.

My friend's husband is disabled (amputee) and she wants to keep him moving so they bought a self-propelled mower to keep him out there and working [;-)] but he has to be careful it doesn't go too fast!

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My best friend Dave said:

"A tondeuse is a regular mower that needs to be pushed as the....uh....person....above linked to. Fine on the flat but can be a chore up hills, despite what certain people may infer"

I personally vote for less weight of the mower itself over traction. My one is light.

John Deere make tractors...they know their stuff. My last lawn mower was Chinese with traction and will be my my last Chinese mower...with or without traction. LOL.

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Chancer wrote:

I can only advise on electric mowers for flat and level postage stamp sized gardens

I have to half disagree there Chancer. For large areas an electric machine is absolute pants, but for steep slopes a light electric can come into its own.

I have a grassed bank about 15m long by 2-3 m wide as a surface but inclined at 35 - 40 degrees. Too steep for the petrol jobbie, too steep really for a strimmer, but starting at the top I can let the mower down the slope as far as I can reach working along the length in an up and down motion and then from the bottom I can run the mower horizontally on the lower uncut slopes, without having to put crampons on my boots to gain purchase on the slope.

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But even if it is light the weight will increase significantly as the grass box fills.

 

I only have postage stamp lawns to do and then only when I am in YUK, had flymos for years and then swapped to a Bosch (both electric) and its really really good its easy to push empty or if you dont use the grass collector but if do it compresses the cuttings so well that it becomes difficult to push even on the flat, its a good work out but I am very fit, it would not be suitable for someone older or not in good physical condition with a 1/10 gradient and if you add the weight of a petrol engine to it then no way José!

 

Une tondeuse thermique auto-tractée would be my recommendation for Mint and her husband, you still get the exercise that you wouldn't with the ride on, rather like having an electric bike.

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No, no, no....blimey hell I am talking to city types have moved to rural France and never mowed a lawn.

A tondeuse auto-tractée is only good if you have a football pitch of a garden and you are going backwards and forwards in straight lines all day. If they have that then that is probably the better option.

Awkward garden, definitely not traction.

P.S I don't know what tractée is in English. Is it traction ?
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I'm sorry I seem to have stirred up some disagreement!

Actually to give ALBF his due, I was actually attracted to the mower he has described.  And I might indeed get that so that I can do the 2 areas with slopes and OH can carry on in the usual way with his self-propelling mower on the flat!

Which brings me to the John Deere site and I think I might find just the jobbie there[:D]

So, combining some of your posts and with special attention to Dave's, what I need seems to be a tondeuse tractée with démarrage éléctrique?

Nothing like knowing the right terms to describe what you really want, is there?[:D]

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See what you've done, Mint - woken all of us out of our torpor for this vital topic! And it is vital, it has occupied my mind one or two hours a day for the last 16 years. Apart from Novs to Fevs.

UK grass doesn't grow like french grass.

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[quote user="alittlebitfrench"] P.S I don't know what tractée is in English. Is it traction ?[/quote]

 

In this instance it would be a "self propelled" lawn mower, tracté(e) is the past participle of tracter - to tow, so would normally be used for "towed"

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[quote user="Patf"]See what you've done, Mint - woken all of us out of our torpor for this vital topic! And it is vital, it has occupied my mind one or two hours a day for the last 16 years. Apart from Novs to Fevs.

UK grass doesn't grow like french grass.

[/quote]

[:D]

You're right about UK grass being different to French grass.  UK grass is green and soft and grows out of slightly damp squidgy earth.

The French grass in our garden is coarse with stalks like mini twigs and grows out of ground that is as hard as concrete. 

Also, instead of smelling sweet and damp and freshly-mown like UK grass, the stuff here throws up clouds of choking dust. 

Then there is the heat, mon dieu, the heat is enough to make you want to give up any sort of grass maintenance altogether[;-)]

To ALBF, see, Dordogneshire is nothing like Hertfordshire (where I was from) or indeed any of the home counties.  Perhaps it shouldn't be called Dordogneshire at all?[:)]

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My multi weed and grass patch is left to the charge of my Robot mower. Several times a week it exits its 'kennel', bumbles around the lawn for the day, pausing only to recharge itself. At the end of the work time it reverses back into its charge station to await another day. The only real mowing I do is our awkward front lawn with a lightweight battery hand pushed job.
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