Different terrain, types of turf and finishing techniques often dictate what kind of turf machinery a groundskeeper, farmer or council worker will use to cut or maintain grass.
Two pieces of equipment commonly used for the upkeep of large, grassy areas are the slasher and the ride-on mower. But what’s the difference between the two, and when would you use one over the other? In this article, we hope to shed some light on the distinctions between a slasher and a ride-on mower so that you can decide which is best suited to your purposes.
How is a ride-on mower different to a slasher?
A ride-on mower is exactly what its title suggests; a mower that is also a vehicle you can drive. A slasher is a device with large blades that attaches onto a tractor. Both are used to cut large areas of grass. A slasher is often used for more ‘heavy-duty’ processes such as clearing a paddock, whereas a ride on mower is utilised on mostly even terrain for regular turf maintenance and a more aesthetically-pleasing finish.
When to use a slasher
As mentioned above, slashers are often connected to a tractor and used to clear a large area of tough, tall vegetation (grass and weeds) in a quick time frame. They’re also built to withstand uneven terrain, with their swing-back blades making them ideal for clearing a paddock of very long grass that may conceal large rocks and a few ditches. With a slasher, you can adjust the height at which the grass is cut, but there are limitations on how low the blades can go. There is often more versatility in the width of the slasher as opposed to a ride-on mower, meaning that it can cover more ground faster.
While slashers will help you to clear a grassy paddock, park or track in no time, they aren’t really built for achieving a flawless finish on your lawn. Slashers typically do not include a clippings collector, meaning that the grass clippings are discharged onto the freshly slashed ground. However, there are slashers on the market that are designed to prevent windrowing (which can suffocate the underlying turf), by ejecting clippings evenly behind the tractor. This avoids uneven terrain created by mounds (windrows) of slashed vegetation which can become hiding places for various critters, including snakes.
The verdict: Slashers are best for clearing big areas of tall grass.
When to use a ride-on mower
A ride-on mower, in comparison to a slasher, is much better suited to even or undulating terrain and the maintenance of shorter grassy areas. Think house paddocks and local council parks. A ride on mower can provide a neater finish to a lawn than a slasher, as many models incorporate clippings catchers and are designed to cut grass blades instead of tough weeds. Some ride-on mowers (particularly the zero turn variety) also have much tighter turning circles, meaning that they can get into nooks and crannies to mow hard-to-reach areas.
However, a ride-on mower has its limitations. These machines are very heavy, and caution must be taken when traversing steep inclines or ditches, especially at a high speed. While they’re sturdy, they aren’t as balanced as a large tractor towing a slasher. Ride-on mowers are also susceptible to damage caused by rocks or stumps hidden in the grass. When mowing turf with a ride-on mower, it’s wise to first inspect the entire area for big items of debris that might hamper your progress.
The verdict: ride-on mowers are best for the regular maintenance of medium-sized grassy areas with relatively level terrain.
QTurf is Queensland’s leading supplier of high-quality turf machinery. Need an efficient and robust slasher to attach to your tractor? Or a reliable mower that will encourage flawlessly even and healthy greens? Browse our online store today or contact us to make an enquiry.