PDA

View Full Version : Which ZTR mulches best


ljcoop
10-04-2005, 07:58 PM
I'm getting a ZTR soon but to justify it I need one that mulches real well so I can get rid of one dumpster.
I'm thinking about a Scag, how are they at mulching?
Thanks!

TriCountyLawn
10-04-2005, 08:07 PM
Well first I think ya need to look at whats close in terms of dealer support. Second I would have to say a Dixie Chopper with Double gator blades will be hard to beat.

Tonyr
10-04-2005, 08:36 PM
OK, The Toro Turbo Force Deck, 28hp EFI model with their mulch kit is fantastic! I had the Z588E model, with kit, loved it!

Unlike many mulch kits, the Toro one has deflectors built in, in other words you don't get clumping.

only negative thing is to install it takes time, not something you want to do daily!

Don't even think about comparing the Hustler with mulch kit against the Toro, I did....worlds of difference!

brucec32
10-04-2005, 08:43 PM
I don't think the previous responder has the same understanding of mulching that you may be thinking of.

I mulch the warm season (bermuda and zoysia) grasses here where bagging is usually expected on nicer lawns. I mulch some tall fescue also, but discharging gives a decent look on it too. Your results will depend on what you're mowing and the conditions. Dry low humidity conditions give better results. Forget it on a humid morning with dew dripping on tall grass.

I have only mulched with two brands, Toro and Exmark. The Exmark Lazer HP's I have had mulch quite well and I haven't bagged grass or leaves since I got my first one in 1998 and switched to mulching in '99. It may require a 2nd pass now and then on heavy grass and leaves, but even then it is faster than bagging. I had an old Toro 37" that did not mulch too well. I have a 32" toro fixed deck (which is an Exmark deck) and it mulches ok but not quite as cleanly as the Lazer HP. My research into other brands I've considered has led me to believe that they either aren't used much for mulching where they're popular or aren't doing that great a job, since I don't hear nearly as many compliments on mulching from them. But that may just be a lack of feedback.

Be sure to get as much power as possible if you plan on mulching a lot. I have 23hp on a Lazer 48" now and it does fine. I had an 18hp on a previous one and it was noticeably weaker in heavy stuff.

Also be aware of limitations. You will not want to be mulching overly tall grass and wet grass w/o expecting to make one or two cleanup passes. I am going to buy a 2nd big mower to handle my weedy tall grass lawns and others where mulching isn't required. You can't mulch at 8mph.

Tonyr
10-04-2005, 08:53 PM
?? Why do you say that?

I understood the bloke asking about mulch kits that you install under the mower deck, i.e create a circular chamber around each blade so it recuts the clippings up very fine, often used instead of bagging clippings....

nothing to do with my deere or side discharge, but converting the deck to be a dedicated mulcher....

If I'm off base and that isn't what was asked, the same machine Toro Z588E with Turbo Force Deck which has the adjustable baffle is good as you can adjust the baffle to choke the deck to reduce clipping size, or open it so it is better in long grass....longer clippings.

The turbo force deck is very versatile, and if you did want to fit the mulch kit for dedicated mulching then you can also.

Sorry if I am missing the question....

lawnmaniac883
10-04-2005, 09:24 PM
No one mentioned Gravely, so here it goes! My 44z mulches St. Augustine to the point where the clippings are next to a powder, can never see them. Have the mulching kit and altough it takes a long ass time to install, it performs above my expectations.

docs
10-04-2005, 09:34 PM
dixie chopper with gator blades. outstanding cut!

Soupy
10-05-2005, 02:33 AM
I can't believe you guys are even mentioning Dixie Chopper. I have owned them and unless something has changed recently they don't have mulching capabilities. I used double blades on them too. they cut nice, but they do not mulch.

I have since switched to Hustler and they have a mulch kit that can be added. I put this on in the fall and I can keep cutting weekly one pass mulching and you would think the lawn was raked each week. I can not comment on how well the Hustler Mulches grass though. I only use it for leaves, but I can say that Dixie chopper can't even mulch leaves. I use to have to drive backward and go over leaves several times with OCDC closed to make them disappear.

I did put a OCDC on the Hustlers first thing. I will give Dixie credit were credit is do, but don't be fooled into thinking a Dixie Chopper can mulch.

wowlawncare
10-05-2005, 02:44 AM
Dixie Chopper has made proper deck mods that were MUCH needed. Talked to my local dealer and they are improving them more in 2006. I run double blades on my 05 extreme and when im in leaves they turn them into powder. You have to put down the slides on the front of the deck to reduce blowout of the front of the deck. But yes Dixies are getting better in thier cut. They allready have the body. I wish I could fashon a exmark deck on my dixie. Then it would be unstopable.

Soupy
10-05-2005, 03:10 AM
Dixie Chopper has made proper deck mods that were MUCH needed. Talked to my local dealer and they are improving them more in 2006. I run double blades on my 05 extreme and when im in leaves they turn them into powder. You have to put down the slides on the front of the deck to reduce blowout of the front of the deck. But yes Dixies are getting better in thier cut. They allready have the body. I wish I could fashon a exmark deck on my dixie. Then it would be unstopable.

But do they sell a mulch kit for them? One that encloses each blade and disperses clipping downward?

Tonyr
10-05-2005, 03:26 AM
But do they sell a mulch kit for them? One that encloses each blade and disperses clipping downward?



thank you.

that's what I thought this thread was about, dedicated mulch kits :dizzy:

But it seems not all of us realise or use kits on our decks to truly mulch, OCDC's ain't the same guys, don't be confused, and running double gators on mowers spraying out smaller than usual clippings isn't exacly the same either. :sleeping:

*sigh* I tried to explain....failed again LOL. as said, I obviously don't understand :blush: :p :p :p

ProMo
10-05-2005, 07:29 AM
I have good results using the jd quik trak, My exmark drops a huge clump when I turn off the blades the jd doesnt leave any clumps and has less blowout than anything I have used. It even mulches good in the rain.

burroughslawnservice
10-05-2005, 09:49 AM
I sold my Hurricane Mulch Kit used on my SCAG Tiger Cub 48". You want clogged decks? Go for it. What a nightmare. It will turn grass into liquified pulp and stick to your deck like a wet newspaper. The grass must be perfectly dry if your gonna mulch with this. Even dry lush grass will start clogging the deck. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, well I would to Osma BinLaden. I've contacted SCAG a few times about this. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

MTR
10-05-2005, 10:44 AM
I sold my Hurricane Mulch Kit used on my SCAG Tiger Cub 48". You want clogged decks? Go for it. What a nightmare. It will turn grass into liquified pulp and stick to your deck like a wet newspaper. The grass must be perfectly dry if your gonna mulch with this. Even dry lush grass will start clogging the deck. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, well I would to Osma BinLaden. I've contacted SCAG a few times about this. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

FYI, Scag brand is the most expensive mower in my area...well, brand name means nothing? may be Lesco then?

jbell113
10-05-2005, 04:30 PM
I sold my Hurricane Mulch Kit used on my SCAG Tiger Cub 48". You want clogged decks? Go for it. What a nightmare. It will turn grass into liquified pulp and stick to your deck like a wet newspaper. The grass must be perfectly dry if your gonna mulch with this. Even dry lush grass will start clogging the deck. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, well I would to Osma BinLaden. I've contacted SCAG a few times about this. Horrible, horrible, horrible.


Thats what I like to hear....honesty. The fact that you spent thousands on a commercial mower and it doesnt do what you want takes guts to admit. Now Im going to give my opinion of Exmark mowers and mulchers. I currently have a 44" lazer z hp and a 36" Metro HP. I have run mulch kits on both of these. Lets start with the Lazer. I have the least amount of experience on this mower for I have only owned it for 4 weeks now. I bought it with a mulch kit on it so Ive never tried side discharging with it. A dry bermuda,centipede or st. augustine lawn that is not overgrown it mulches fantastic IMO. Slightly taller grass you will have to slow down to about 3 or 4 MPH in order to mulch it and not make a second pass. A wet bermuda,centipede or st. augustine lawn that is not overgrown it mulches OK as long as you go slow. I have not had any clumping yet but the 19 HP kawasaki engine does strain a little making me feel like its slightly under powered. I have not mowed any really tall wet stuff yet but my days are numbered. A tall weedy lawn you will have to go a little slower in order to not leave stragglers sticking up every where and even then I still have to spot mow certain tall weeded areas. Now the 36" metro hp. A dry bermuda,centipede or st. augustine lawn that is not overgrown it mulches pretty good with the exception of a line of cut grass that sticks up slightly higher than the rest resulting in (this seems strange)but A line about 1/2 inch wide the entire lenght of a row of grass that is cut sticks up higher than the rest of the grass and it depends on what angle you look at it from at a distance to wether or not you can see it kinda like an illusion. I know I know what the heck are you trying to say but thats the best way I know to decribe it. Any way A wet bermuda,centipede or st. augustine lawn that is not overgrown it doesnt mulch to good IMO. Side discharging I always have to run back over it with the lazer to clean it up.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-05-2005, 05:45 PM
My JD 717 with the 48" deck and gators mulched the best if anything Ive used but have not tried one on the Exmark.

brucec32
10-05-2005, 07:00 PM
?? Why do you say that?

I understood the bloke asking about mulch kits that you install under the mower deck, i.e create a circular chamber around each blade so it recuts the clippings up very fine, often used instead of bagging clippings....

nothing to do with my deere or side discharge, but converting the deck to be a dedicated mulcher....

If I'm off base and that isn't what was asked, the same machine Toro Z588E with Turbo Force Deck which has the adjustable baffle is good as you can adjust the baffle to choke the deck to reduce clipping size, or open it so it is better in long grass....longer clippings.

The turbo force deck is very versatile, and if you did want to fit the mulch kit for dedicated mulching then you can also.

Sorry if I am missing the question....

I was referring to the first poster speaking about discharging with mulching type blades, I think your post slid in there while I was composing mine!

ed2hess
10-05-2005, 07:05 PM
Get the Scag it will mulch just fine. We have been running both ZTR and WB with outlet blocked for 25 years and no problem. We didn't even bother to put all those fancy circular guards under the deck and it does fine without it. We didn't put the fancy stuff on because sometimes we want to discharge and that stuff don't come off easy in the field.

Jason Rose
10-05-2005, 08:05 PM
I too have heard excellent things about the John Deere 7 Iron decks and mulching. Because they are a "stamped" deck and not a fabricated welded design, there are much less corners in the deck where grass would normally get caught up.

Unfortunatley that's only what Iv'e HEARD, since I don't own one I can't say anything for certian. I do have a friend that owns one and he's happy with it!

On a note about mulching capabilities, I had read so many times on this site how Exmark was the BEST mulching (and all around machine) out there. So I bit the bullet and bought one last spring thinking I was going to start mulching and save myslef tons of time and trips to the dump. I had a 23 hp 52" Lazer HP. Full mulch kit. This thing would get so plugged up under the deck with grass in just a few passes that the blades would literally stop, either that or it would kill the engine! The piles of grass it would s*** out at every turn and, oh lord, look out when you shut off the blades!!!! A pile big enough to fill a trash can. I had to carry a snow shovel and a push broom with me to clean up after this red horse.
Needless to say that did not work. Too much humidity and dew here to mulch, EVER. If it was 4:00 in the afternoon and the grass was totally bone dry and the deck was clean to start with, then YES, it mulched great! But I can't mow 75 lawns a week solo and start after lunch every day...

Mulching abilities vary greatly across the country. I see the poster above in TX mulches with nothing more than the chutes blocked. Do that here and you end up with a huge trail of grass from the right side of the deck because that's where all 3 blades push it by design and then, boom!, there's a metal plate in the way... Where's it go, straight down and out, in a pile.

MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC
10-05-2005, 10:58 PM
I too run a full mulch kit with a John Deere Quik Trak 647. So far my evaluation so far is that it does fairly well. For leaves it is great. I used to run gators on every mower and thought they did ok compared to stock blades. Once I tried the full mulch kit on the 647, I won't look back to side discharging with gators. As far as grass goes, as long as the grass isnt wet, you can mulch grass that you cut more than an inch off. You might have to double cut in the longer stuff, but I havent had any clumps after two passes as long as its dry. In wet grass the kit does ok compared to other mowers with mulch kits, but it still clumps. Sometimes going over it twice as long as the grass wasnt too long, it will eliminate most of the clumps. What I have found is that if it's super long and wet then the clumps get run over or are too thick to be broken up after a second pass.

In long or wet grass, as long as you go slow the yards look ok at a distance. However if you get down on your hands and knees and look at ground level across the surface of the grass you will see uncut pieces of grass. In which case I double cut and would have had to do anyway if I was side discharging.

ljcoop
10-06-2005, 07:13 AM
I sure appreciate the responses. Out here in No. Calif. the grass dries pretty fast since our average summer day is 95 to 110 degrees. This by the way is why I want a rider. Well, that and I'm 52 years old now and tired of chasing the Hondas around.
I can bag if that's what it takes too. I just really want something reliable, low maintinance and fast.
Thanks again!

mslawn
10-06-2005, 10:27 PM
I currently have these with mulch kits on a 1-10 scale-
exmark 36 tthp-rating 6 mulches decent
exmark 48 tthp-rating 9 mulches great
exmark XP 27hp diesel 60"-rating 7-1/2 mulches alright
exmark XS 31hp 72"-rating 10 mulches awesome

I have had a scag with the mulch kit and it did a good job.

I think the main reason the XS mulches so well is the power factor.