Landscape contractor Robbie Welch of MT Baker Landscaping in Bellingham, WA, is often forced to cut tall, wet grass. Needless to say, his mowers really get put to the test. Earlier in April, Welch’s equipment dealer asked him to test out a new zero-turn riding mower: the Gravely Pro-Turn 460 Propane.
The dealership was Carl's Mower & Saw in Ferndale, WA, which sells both Exmark and Gravely mowers. Welch has been a hard-core Exmark guy for eight years. “We bought our first Exmark back in 2005 and are still running it,” Welch relates. “But we’re always looking for other options out there to see what will work best for us.” MT Baker Landscaping has a good mix of both residential and commercial lawn maintenance accounts.
Bags wet grass well. Welch demoed the Gravely Pro-Turn 460 Propane for about a week and a half. “We get a lot of rainy weather up here, so it’s always interesting to see how a mower will bag,” he says. “I put this mower to good use. We had yards we couldn’t even get on because the grass was so tall and damp. This mower did an amazing job on them.”
Propane passes the test. Initially, Welch was skeptical that a propane-fueled mower would possess the power needed to mow in tougher conditions. He was pleasantly surprised. “I actually had a hard time plugging it, even at faster ground speeds,” Welch tells. “I never noticed any kind of loss of power in the deck. The only time I noticed some slight power loss was in the hydraulic drive when climbing a hill.”
Welch can’t say if this propane version of the Pro-Turn 460 is on par with the gas version, because he hasn’t tried out the gas version yet. All he can say is that the Pro-Turn 460 Propane is a “powerful, comfortable, user-friendly mower.”
Is it worth purchasing? Welch had tried running Gravely zero-turn mowers before. He said they’ve always been comfortable, good-running machines, but never impressive when it came to bagging. The Pro-Turn 460 is definitely an improvement in that area, Welch says. Will he now add one to his fleet? There’s a strong possibility, but he can’t say for certain just yet.
“Now I have to look at some of the newer Exmark models to see how they perform,” Welch points out. “We’re running some older models, and they can be a little hard to service. For example, getting at the bearings in the blower (vacuum on the side) can be difficult, so I have to take it to Carl’s (servicing dealer). I want to see if it’s easier to work on their newer mowers because we would like to do some of this basic maintenance ourselves.”