View Full Version : Leaf Mulching (NOW WAY!!)

10-31-2002, 12:49 AM
Here is a pic of 1 pass with double Gator blades on a DC.

How can you guys tell me that you devower leaves with double blades and the mulching them is faster than using a vac?

I went over some aeras in other lawn 2-3-4 times and still did not make leaves disapere (turn to dust)............

So what is missing?

BTW how are the stripes?

10-31-2002, 01:12 AM

I have been using a SINGLE set of Gator Magnums (Fully Sharpened of course :D ) this past two weeks on my LC Lazer. Some lawns' trees were starting to drop. I basically mow in circles blowing in to form a giant full length windrow (sometimes 2 rows if its a larger lawn). Then I go to one end, back up to the start of the pile (windrow), close OCDC (The Director on my Lazer) and hit the pile in reverse. It takes some power to do this, so be prepared. I then back over the windrow I just produced when in reverse, and continue about 3 times. Then I open the OCDC and disperse on both sides. This dispersal takes about 4 swaths to disperse properly. Most of these properties are considered LIGHT compared to most , but are CONSIDERABLY heavier then your picture.

Whats left is BUG DUST, and looks a lot better than your results. Problem with a bagger system, is emptying the bagger, and disposing of the leaves!

Some lawns you HAVE to bag though!

10-31-2002, 01:16 AM
Double Gators won't get it because together they don't produce enough lift. You have to use a Hi-Lift and a Gator. Blow to the center to make a pretty good row, then start backing over the remainder. It sure can be done and look great. I wear clear goggles along with a dust mask.

And because you are using a Dixie Chopper , you will be able to go just as fast backing up as you do going forward, which is.... FAST!

10-31-2002, 01:25 AM
They are both Gator "High Lift" blades.

10-31-2002, 01:27 AM
Are you missing a mulch kit? By just closing the director on my lazer I don't get near the results of when using the mulch kit. The kit on the lazer is designed for mulching with their blades and I have found no other blades or combination of blades(doubles) to work better than the singles of Exmark mulching blades. Alot of it also depends on the dryness of the leaves. Last year was just unbelievable...they were so dry that they did just turn to dust, this year has been difficult with 4 inches of snow and what seems to be a consant drizzle. Clean-ups have been less than enjoyable. I think its time to purchase an Ultra Vac, in this case, wet leaves wouldn't set me back like they are now. I believe I will always prefer mulching , but it can't be done(and done well) in all conditions. Good luck-Esby

Envy Lawn Service
10-31-2002, 01:57 AM

What is a Gator High Lift??? No such animal in anything Gator I've seen!

I'm guessing you are NOT running a mulch kit. Just closing the OCDC???

Are the leaves running away or are they not getting picked up to be mulched? I'm running high lifts on bottom and inside flow Gators on top. If I can get them "under" the deck they are nothing but dust literally.

If I have a real problem area with a certain type of leaves, I just run out to that spot 1st and circle forward and backward with the discharge side toward the tree. When I'm done I get back in my normal routine and go.

I have even thought of switching to double Gators when things dry out a bit and more leaves are down. I kind of thought I might do less chasing of leaves because of less air flow. I don't know though because I never tried it. I usually run in combo w/highlifts or wave style highlift mulchers on bottom.

I might have a leaf here and there to run away and escape getting dusted. But so far it hasn't been anything worth bothering with. I grab them up by hand or just leave them. They'll always be a few on the lawn in an hour or so anyways.

Your pics look like you pissed the tree off waking it from it's nap. Then it said screw you...watch this, and dropped a buch of leaves right on your freshly mowed lawn :D

10-31-2002, 02:05 AM
PLease don't make me repost my Gator Blade classes.

Take my word for it "I" have them!!!

The high lift gators throw the debris out.

No I did not close the OCDC on the Dixie.

No mulch kit, no wizmo's.

The leaves are flying right out. It sucks them all up, but discharges just as fast.

These leaves were very wet, and if I cut the lawn with the vac, I might have gotten 3-4 hoppers out of it.

Seems like mulching actually takes more effort than using the vac.

Envy Lawn Service
10-31-2002, 03:08 AM

If you happen to have a few spares of those Gators laying around, take a pic and post it for me. They may be the same design I'm running. If they are not, I'd like to get myself some for the bottom!!!

I get a decent mulch with the gators discharging, but I wouldn't call it the most productive means of chopping leaves. Try it with the OCDC closed and see how it works. I bet it will be better "if" you can get the leaves under the deck.

I'm not real familiar w/Dixie's but I believe you are having problems that are not a fault of your own or your equipment. I think dixies are designed to discharge like crazy so they can mow at high ground speed efficently. There is probably a lot of room between the front deck lip and the blade tip with no baffles to allow a high volume discharge channel across the front of the deck.

Am I right or wrong here?

Either way, I think closing the OCDC should help some. But a baffled mulch kit is most effcient for this. But try it with the OCDC down anyways if you don't have a full blown mulch kit for the chopper.

Wait a minute, don't you have an Exmark too? Have some mulching stuff for it? If so put it to work tomorrow too.

Get back to me with some new results and I'll see if I helped or can help any more. Geez! I currently bag nothing at all. You should be able to do it too and save some labor and time.

10-31-2002, 03:11 AM
I bag leaves and discharge the rest of the time.

10-31-2002, 07:12 AM
well bro . u been here a long time.
so must know how to do leaves better than that . its a joke and im just to old to get it,right.:). using mulcher an gator or
high lift an gator, those leaves wouldnt
even take any consideration.
ps when im doing leaves i dont try an stripe. i do that last if its needed.

10-31-2002, 07:18 AM
LGF (cool avatar), you answered part of the question with "These leaves were very wet".
My boss uses the Toro WB with doubles (1 atomic set and 1 hi lift set and a mulch kit on a 44") and takes passes over the heavy areas. I use the Walker with the GHS and pick up what is left. When they are wet, like they have been, there is too much moisture in the leaf to completely break down. Pick one up and try to crush it in your hand. The wet ones are like a used snot rag. They curl up but stay together. The dry ones crackle and turn to powder.

When they are dry its dust city. I did an experiment last year and went from 100 bushels of leaf content to 5 when we used this combination on a property. This was at a residence where they wanted the leaves taken away. I still charged the premium fee but went away with less than one load in the hopper.

I'm praying for some cold dry weather - soon.

Shady Brook
10-31-2002, 08:22 AM
I can double up and pretty much do a number on Maple leaves. Two or three passes on the worst of conditions makes them go away. Oak leaves are another story, which looks like what you have in that picture. Using a mulch kit on my Tiger makes a big difference, and can do in oak leaves as well, although it looks like you have a big concentration at the base of that tree. Can't say if it would make it look bagged, but a mulch kit would make an enormous difference.


Richard Martin
10-31-2002, 09:00 AM
Envy Lawn Service wrote:

What is a Gator High Lift??? No such animal in anything Gator I've seen!

Gator actually makes 2 high lift blades. They make a .204" high lift and the .250" Magnum.


No I did not close the OCDC on the Dixie.

If you close the OCDC and do the cleanup the way Tommy (TLS) instructed you to leaf cleanup is a snap. If you leave the OCDC open you will be there all day trying to get rid of the leaves.

10-31-2002, 10:42 AM
What kind of tree are the leaves from? Ash, oak and the like are almost impossible to mulch. If they are wet, even more unlikely. I agree with the blow out on the gators and I even had a kit. Bag or vac is the only way to go to pic up these kind of leaves. Most of the others are pulverized and are dust.


10-31-2002, 12:53 PM
I do not run any Dixie Choppers but I would go with Richard's advice. I totally close off the discharge on the Gravelys and they do a much better job that way. Let us know how it turns out.


bubble boy
10-31-2002, 01:52 PM
Originally posted by LAWNGODFATHER

How can you guys tell me that you devower leaves with double blades ...I went over some aeras in other lawn 2-3-4 times and still did not make leaves disapere (turn to dust)............

people that say they just turn them to dust do NOT deal with the leaf cover we have at some accounts.

OCDC, doubles, mulch kit, 31 HP, dixie or exmark...whatever. it simply won't work on some of my props.

everytime this subject comes up someone tries to say that us "non-believers" are doing something wrong. i wish that was the case. i wish we could charge for leaf cleanup and just mulch.

we do what TLS does, but once we have the long pile of reduced leaves we put the catcher on.

10-31-2002, 03:45 PM
I am having no problem mulching leaves, and have not had to bag yet this year. The leaves truly disapear into the turf.

I am running a 2002 Scag Tiger Cub, 52" with 23hp Kaw. I have the full mulch master kit installed with the stock Marbain Eliminator blades.

In areas that have very heavy cover, (4-6") I run my blower to spread the leaves out some. This gives the deck some room to breathe and disperse clippings.

Last year I bagged all fall and hated all the extra work. The only way I would bag again is if the leaves are too wet to mulch.

Personally, I have had bad luck with side discharge this time of year. The leaves just get blown from one side to the other. It's as if they don't get a chance to be cut up.

10-31-2002, 04:10 PM
Don't feel so bad LGF, I say the same thing. I don't know how you guys turn these huge piles of leaves into dust by using doubles because I surely can't figure out how to? I mean does a mulch kit really make that much of a difference? I think the the leaves can only be shredded to a certain size and no smaller? Idk, I just bag and putit on the curb for removal.

10-31-2002, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by Richard Martin
If you close the OCDC and do the cleanup the way Tommy (TLS) instructed you to leaf cleanup is a snap. If you leave the OCDC open you will be there all day trying to get rid of the leaves.

I used to do leaf removals like that in the past, but only the Zoysia would let them disapere, on the Fecue I would still have to bag what was left.

I also tried several ways before I took this pic on different lawns.

I am going to stick with my way, it takes no longer than the time to blow out the beds.

BTW I was just mowing the lawns and pointing out that all the extra work you have to do to get rid of the leaves.

10-31-2002, 05:47 PM
i guess i am one of lucky ones as iam running doubles( high lift on bottom gator on top ) The leafs are turningto dust with 2 passes over them and we dont have to haul away. So this is saving alot of time we would spend dumping bagger and hauling to dump site

10-31-2002, 07:02 PM
I am running a 2001 27HP exmark Lazer Z with mulch kit, anti-blowout baffle, and have tried all combo's possible with the stock mulch blades, standard blades, and gators. Doubles, not doubles, on top, on bottom, blah blah blah, and cant get the results these people speak of. The leaves we have here are just different, there are way more. They blow out in front of the deck, and even the ones that go through tend to pile up on the grass because they are so thick. 1/2 lawns are ok and 1/2 lawns it doesnt work.

10-31-2002, 07:06 PM
Originally posted by lawnkid
Don't feel so bad LGF, I say the same thing. I don't know how you guys turn these huge piles of leaves into dust by using doubles because I surely can't figure out how to? I mean does a mulch kit really make that much of a difference?


I use a mulch kit on my Exmark. I still have the standard wavy mulch blades. I have no trouble at all mulching leaves, but I do have to run over them twice, or if they are very heavy(especially oak leaves) then I have to go over them a couple more times. I wonder how much better it will be when I get my gators on?

I dont think its quicker that bagging, but it does take time to empty the bagger(s) and haul them off.

10-31-2002, 08:58 PM
You guys keep saying this or that, but do you blow out the beds also.

We blow the beds out, by the time all the beds have been blown we are done with leaves off the lawn and beds, now it is at a designated dump area.

Sometimes the piles that get blown out of the beds, get mulched before they get vaced up.

You say you save time from hauling to a dump site, I get "paid" extra for that.

10-31-2002, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by LAWNGODFATHER
You guys keep saying this or that, but do you blow out the beds also.

You say you save time from hauling to a dump site, I get "paid" extra for that.

The beds are blown out onto the lawn as well as the hard surfaces before the leaves are mulched.

That is true that you get paid to haul em off, but as I said before I dont think mulching is that much quicker. You make one pass or so over the lawn to vac the leaves up, put em in the truck, haul em off. I make 2, 3, or 4 passes over the lawn. So as far as pay, its about or almost the same.

10-31-2002, 09:52 PM
The only pics I have seen are from guys who have tried the mulching and they don't look clean to me. Let's see some pics from you guys who say the leaves are cut to dust.
I still hope to have time to hook my MTD chipper up to the discharge chute and see what happens when they are chipped then blown out. I think this would be much faster than multiple passes. It would also work good on heavy grass. I have a Walker and a MTD midmount so I have some choices.

10-31-2002, 10:50 PM
From this:


To this:


2 passes. Exmark Lazer Z 60" w/ Micro-Mulch kit and anti-blowout baffle installed. Double blades (OEM 'wavy' on bottom/Gator regular on top). Deck set at 2 inches.

The leaves were dry. The were a mixture of Oak, Water Maple, and Elm. This is an area that tends to 'collect' in my yard.

Admittedly, when the leaves really start to drop and I have thick coverage I usually have to make a 3rd pass to make it look like this.

Without the mulch kit and anti-blowout the leaves would have just passed through the deck...or have been blown out of the cutting path completely. With just the discharge plate installed I would have had to chase 'em all over the place and then hit 'em repeatedly to pulverize them...forget about it.

The mulch kit is the only way to get 'em chopped up this fine in two passes...otherwise you are better off bagging or vacuuming them up.

My apologies for the picture quality. The sun was still up (dang shadow!) in the 'Before' pic....and was starting to set when I took the 'After' pic.

11-01-2002, 02:13 AM
With that little bit of leaves my Wright Stander would also get the same before & after pics in 2 passes with a regular under Hi -lift gator, side discharge. When the leaves are heavier I do what TLS posted, and I may have to do a final pass with the catcher on, which at that point is maybe picking up 1 -3 catchersfull according to lawn sizes vs. 10 -20 in the past. Definitely get best results when the leaves are dry. Soaking wet I'll try to put off for a day or 2.

"You say you save time from hauling to a dump site, I get "paid" extra for that."

This is true. However, when I switched from hauling to doubles & mulching leaves, I didn't lower my prices. So I am still getting "paid" for hauling; I'm just not spending the time, dump fees, hurting my back dumping the green barrels, not paying for a vac system or dump truck, etc., anymore; while getting them done in the same time or slightly faster. However, if I had the fancy vac system, and it was working to solve the problem at hand, that's what I'd be using. As we always learn here, there is usually more than one way to skin the cat; and what works for one person or situation, won't always work for another.

Ahhh I can't wait for these late leaves to finally start dropping, just to breathe in some of that great dust that slips by the mask LOL.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-01-2002, 09:51 AM
My 53 Z-HP with a mulch kit and high lift blades does an awesome job on all leaves except the small willow like leaves. If leaves are a few inches high I will make an extra pass or two. If I blow out areas I typically mulch the piles with the Z and then bag what is left with a tractor mounted bagger. I have never been convinced given the customer base I have to look into double blades. Not yet anyway

11-01-2002, 10:09 AM
mulchin leaves takes experience.
if u know how u can mulch with an old lawn tractor.the lazer just speeds up the process. doubles speeds it up more.
the worst i ever did was a lot about 35000 in the middle of the woods [oak,water oak, maple, ash etc] .
around 6 inches of leaves. i learned more about mulching on that job than i had in 10 yrs before. point being ,if u work at it u can totally clean up leaves mulchin. but it does take knowin how.
pluses faster[if u know how]
nothing to get rid of after.
minuses dusty going in dry weather.
i used a gas mask at one time last

John DiMartino
11-01-2002, 05:50 PM
LFG,if you wanted to mulch those,circle mow away from the tree,until your just outside the drip line,where 90% of the leaves are,I do this with the OCDC 1/2 open,Now go backward with the chute cloesed in a circle,a few passes,this will turn 90% of them to dust,I do this under all the tres,and then mow the lawn,as usual.I am just putting my bagger on now,I do think bagging is better 90% of the time.In fact this time of yr,the turf is so soft,the Dixies tires are so aggressive,I do not like to mow a lawn 2-or 3 time.When mulching you must do this,this wears/tears the lawn more than necessary.So with a bageer,one pass your out of there,no need to keep backing over it,and putting extra wear on the turf that isnt growing fast enough to recover.Also on lime needed to conteract the acidic leaves/pine needles.

11-01-2002, 06:23 PM
John if you can see in this pic, those are the tires I am running. They are tires and rims from a Lazer.

John DiMartino
11-01-2002, 06:32 PM
Nice tires LFG,i like the DC tires in the mud,but they really tear this time of yr,and rut real easy in the dry months,even with aftering my pattern.Do those tires stick out past the deck any more than the stockers,the track is already a few inches to wide for my tastes,hate to make it any worse.

11-01-2002, 06:57 PM
Yes, but only on the discharge side, you will overlap to copensate for that anyways.

The trim side has about an inch of space left. You get a 59.5" track width. About 1/2" is past the discharge side.

I think the DC version has the rims with a different offset than the ones I used from Exmark.

These tires make this mower stick like glue on hills.

I feel like a spider. I have been doing "a lot" of mowing in the rain and extreme wet conditions.

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 09:18 PM
Would this be considered a Gator "highlift"????

This is they only type of Gator I've ever seen around here.

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 09:27 PM
Also, is the term "wind row" referring to the air coming off the deck blowing things like leaves away?

If so, I have developed some wind row by adding the highlifts I picked up a while back. They are a much better grade than what I have been using. But they have some down turn in the blade making the cutting edge lower than a flat highlift. The blade tip ends up just a hair below the front deck lip with the Gators installed on top.

I did ok until I got in some real big tuff leaves. I was blowing away as much as I was mulching.

I'll post some before and after pics of my leaf mulching with the highlifts only. That is if the images aren't too big to post!

11-01-2002, 09:31 PM
I hate to say it but, Walkers' Rule on leaves anyway. I bagged 1890 lbs. of leaves from one yard last Tuesday. That's alot of leaves/bags. I don't think any set of doubles would have made this pile vanish.

dr grass
11-01-2002, 09:44 PM
today, my forman and i were blowing out a hevy section into the lawn. we had a tremendous pile when it was all said and done. i told him to go over it a few times with the mid - mount with gators, and chew it up a bit. than i came by with the vacuum unit and had to go over it about 8 times and there was still a shade of brown to the lawn from the leaves left over. i dont see any way chewing up the leaves v. vaccuming them up compairs! chewing them up looks very poor and unprofessional imho! maybe them new eXmarks next year will change my mind.....lol!!!

shep :p

11-01-2002, 09:51 PM
we have been running the toro w/ the gators and mulch kit over the leaves then vacuuming them up w/ the walker. it works real good and cuts down on the bags too!!

11-01-2002, 10:06 PM

Windrow is what comes out your discharge area of your deck. It's what farmers rake their hay into before baling. IF you keep mowing in ovals blowing in, you'll have one long windrow of leaves and grass. You get this as narrow as possible and then back over it many times in reverse with the OCDC closed.

BLOWOUT is what you are describing, and by looking at that blade, I can see why! I don't know what type of mower you have, but very few take an offset blade like that. Anyway, that would be a regular Gator blade. Blowout is caused by the blade cutting surface being lower then the deck skirts. This isn't a good thing. Unless the mower spindle has some way of removing spacers, double blades will make the blade lower then your deck skirts.

Hope this helped, and didn't confuse you more

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:38 PM

The blade has a wave style to it. This makes that "step down" look shown in the pic. The upper part of the wave is not sharpened like a wave style blade. But, it does fine that way since I use it on top.

Now the new highlifts I bought have the same shape to them and they go just below the deck like I described before. I need a straight, flat blade on the bottom to avoid this because as far as I know there are no spacers or anything to remove to help out.

I'll post another pic of the blade so it's easier to see how it's made. Notice how only the ends wear on the things and get dull. Heck I've worn off almost all of the end tooth :D

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:39 PM
Here's a view on the last tooth and the worn edge.

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:45 PM
Here's my series of leaf mulching pics from today. Here is a good variety of leaves.


11-01-2002, 11:46 PM

What I'm getting at is if your mower (what are you using anyway?) isn't designed to use an offset blade, you shouldn't use one. IT will put the edge below the deck skirt.

Maybe you should list your equipment in your signature so we know what we all have.

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:48 PM
Here is the AFTER !!!
This was done with highlifts and a discharge block off style mulch kit. :D payup Show me the MONEY!!!

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:49 PM
A little sweeter angle to show off my stripes :D

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:50 PM
Here's another angle on the BEFORE

Envy Lawn Service
11-01-2002, 11:53 PM
Here's the AFTER from the exact oposite view, taken from the sign in the center of the last pic. Sorry the other pics were too big to post :cry:

11-02-2002, 12:04 AM
How many times did you have to go over the lawn? 2,3,4 times?

bubble boy
11-02-2002, 01:41 AM
Originally posted by greenman
How many times did you have to go over the lawn? 2,3,4 times?

even if its 2 or 3 i must say i'm somewhat intrigued...

11-02-2002, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by bubble boy
even if its 2 or 3 i must say i'm somewhat intrigued...

me too, I did a couple clean ups today, mulched everything

11-02-2002, 01:54 AM
I just hope that with all those extra passes and work involved your not charging just a regular mowing rate????

The name of the game is PROFIT and leaves can produce a TON OF PROFIT!

11-02-2002, 01:57 AM
Who said anything about mowing price? Its priced as a clean-up.

11-02-2002, 02:11 AM
Then you ARE in the game for profit.

Too many in our area are doing leaves as a way to keep their crews running and still charging the regular mow rates for ALL the extra work.

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 02:24 AM
It was only 2 passes. Running highlifts only didn't completely dust everything at once with that many leaves down. Oh and there's always a leaf or 2 or 3 and so on that escapes on the first pass.

When I run doubles or good mulching blades I can usually get by with one pass, less the escapees! But I don't worry with those much this time of year. There's always going to be a few leaves on it by the days end anyways.

11-02-2002, 02:52 AM
There looks to be plenty of leaves still in the tree's and the grass can only eat so much.

Once the grass shows signs of dormancy it will show the mulched leaves.

I can see it well if I mulch before I suck them up with the vac.

So that leaves me to ask, how many times during the clean-up season do you have the oppertunity or ideal conditions to mulch the leaves?

With my vac's I don't have to worry, almost always 1 pass.

So would you say my 1 pass would atleast equil or be better than the 2-3 you guys made?

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 03:01 AM
;) The Gators are "for" my application specifically. The Gators were not the trouble, the highlifts were. This job I posted was the tuffest one since I installed them.

I kind of got caught with my pants down with this one. Something had to be done and those poor Gators were in no condition to be the main cutting blades. So they had to come off and the highlifts had to go back on by themselves.

I didn't have an extra set of blades on the truck because I never put them back on after bringing the truck back from the repair shop. :blush:

See both the Gators and the highlifts are designed for my deck and can be ran together. Just not in those conditions. With the highlifts having that curve like the Gators pictured, they run the thickness of the Gators below the front skirt of the deck when both are on. These blades are designed to run "even" with the skirt.

So now I have to find a "durable" set of blades for the bottom that are flat all the way across to avoid the problem. A new set of Gators wouldn't hurt either :blush:

Since taking a second look at the Gator blade design, I'm going to sharpen up that upper "wave" portion of the blade like standard mulching blades are done. I'm gonna lay a razor edge all the way to the center hole before installing them. Then I'm going to run them alone a day just to see how they do.

As for the equipment used on this job.....it would absolutely blow your mind if I told you!!!:dizzy:

I'll give you 3 guesses, then I'll tell ya!!!!;) :D :laugh: :waving:

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 03:38 AM

By all means, if you like collecting leaves go for it. It's the cleaner alternative if your mower will not dust the leaves. But I can dust them in one pass most of the time and you can't even tell they weren't bagged. I'm talking they are powder. The dust is gone in no time.

My smallest account is 3/4 acre. Some of them are even what I consider wooded areas. When you've got a huge volume of leaves over a large area, it get to be a real pain collecting them. You spend too much time transporting them across the property or hunting somewhere to let the mower take a dump.

I do the leaves once a week throughout leaf season. I still have some leaves in the trees, but I get them here and there til they are all gone. This account has several different varieties of trees. Chestnut (huge leaves) dogwood, cherry, several different types of oaks, ect. just to name a few.

I was going to post some pics from another site where I ran the doubles and made only one pass. But this new digital camera makes huge pic files for some reason. All the pics from that site were over 1MB in size.

Don't ask me! I dunno!!! :confused:

bubble boy
11-02-2002, 03:48 AM
if it'll blow our mind i'll assume its not a "LS favorite" brand...

are we talking WB or rider...

scag? ferris?

i'd be interested in knowing

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 03:55 AM
I'll give you fellers a better hint here! We're talking lawn tractors. So I guess you could say it's a rider :D

bubble boy
11-02-2002, 04:01 AM
doubles on a tractor...what a deere? what year?

i can't imagine what blade tip speed that would get, but now i'm less intrigued.

perhaps that leaf coverage is less than it appears, or your pass is super slow, thus mulching better...

11-02-2002, 04:23 AM
Originally posted by Envy Lawn Service

As for the equipment used on this job.....it would absolutely blow your mind if I told you!!!:dizzy:

I'll give you 3 guesses, then I'll tell ya!!!!;) :D :laugh: :waving:




In that order.

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 04:40 AM
Well, I've got a Deere, but mostly it just sits in the dang shed. It's a fine mower...for a homeowner. It's a little under powered and has too much safety crap on it that only aggrivates and slows me down.

As for the blade tip speed...I have no idea...all I know is she hummmms like crazy with doubles! I imagine @ 18-19,000 fpm that a ZTR must make an awsome sound. Prolly need hearing protection!

The leaf coverage was just as it appears. My passes are hydro pedal to the floor, fast as it will go! (Fairly smooth property) The cut is at 3".

So much for those thoughts :D

A lawn tractor is built very inferior in comairison to the heavy guage construction of any commercial ZTR. It's slower and so are the blades. My business has also outgrown it's ability. To all these things I agree. But just because it doesn't cost $10,000 doesn't mean it can't do a good job. It will suprise you as I think it already has.

I'm having fun!!! You got one more guess ;)

Richard Martin
11-02-2002, 04:45 AM
Is it a Scotts or Simplicity? Those are the only two tractors I can think of that will lay down stripes like that.

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 04:47 AM

I see several of those Crapsmen out and about. A couple of guys with those DTL 2000 w/20 HP Kohler Pro do a pretty fair job with them and have clocked some hours too I must admit. It looks like a red John Deere with a Husqvarna deck to me. But, I didn't see any of those when I bought mine. So nope on the Crapsmen :D

MTD, gimmie a break here. Too dang slow, even for me!

John Deere, like I said...it sits in the shed

:D :D :D That 3, you're outta guesses!

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 04:50 AM
Hey!!! We have a winner! It's the same as a Scotts. Bought it at Home Cheapo....

It's a Murray Select wide body LT 21HP 42"

It was worse than you thought! :D

Congrats Richard, how'd you know those are the only 2 that lay down stripes?

Richard Martin
11-02-2002, 05:06 AM
There may be other tractors that will lay down great stripes, I just haven't seen them.

The Simplicity will lay stripes because they come from the factory with a striping roller affixed to the back of the deck. That was a no-brainer.

I know the Scotts will lay a mean stripe because I hosted a competition and cookout for lawn care professionals this summer and a Scotts 48" came in second place after a Dixie with a stripe kit.

11-02-2002, 05:06 AM
Scotts not made by deere no more?

Richard Martin
11-02-2002, 05:07 AM
Hey, how many of us are up at this time of the morning? I can't reply fast enough.

Richard Martin
11-02-2002, 05:10 AM
Scotts are/were made by John Deere. John Deere is replacing them at Home Depot with a very low end John Deere. It'll probably be the same mower, just painted in Deere colors with Deere stickers.

11-02-2002, 05:37 AM
Originally posted by bubble boy
a deere?

Bubble boy wins!!!!!

I guess there are 3 just posting to this thread.

Before I got vac's I used to mulch leaves as descibed by some already. I also did it for about 3 times the cut price, and blew all the beds out. I did all the backing over, all the 2-3-4 times over the lawn, howvever this was before the mulch kits came out, but they don't make that much difference when they have no where to go. I tried double blades on Toro Wb's (this is why I never tried them again for close to 13 years)

It was slow unproductive, and very very messy.

Then I found this lovely bagger attachment that went on my Toro 117 GM, to slow too much of a pain to empty, so I found a Grasshopper and fell into the same problems, then the Cushman outfront with the Grasscaddy, dump from the seat, and it held a lot of leaves. Also had factory double blades -1988- and prior for some years. This thing was wonderfull, but it was aslo costly.

I had this sucker all they way up to when I bought Dixiechopper, then I found the Peco vacs, man these where great, dump from the seat, pony motor to not bog down. Mowers were fast...etc...etc...

Then I stated to relize dprice was to low so I went to 4 times the cut. This did good for a long time.

Now the mowers got some hours on them and time to move up cause they were costing more that what a new mower was each month, so i bough ransome bobcat ZTR200's then fall was coming so More Peco vac's. hey these things were 3 times better than the chopper. Then I was getting a lot of people ask for haul a way and dumping on the trailer was not good enough, so I bought a Parker truck loader, this thing was great no more backing on the trailer to dump.

All this went great up till about 4 years ago when i started to realize on the larger lawns 4times the price was about what i was paying for the labor and not much room for any profit much less paying for gas. So I started hourly.

Hey great $35 an hour!!!!

That wasn't too bad, but I had work coming out the yin yang untill you couldn't do leaves anymore, and I had people that couldn;t wait and they went with others who were charging more, so I got the wisenheimer idear to do the same so I jumped it up to $45.

Now I though hey starting to make some real jack. this went great for some time also. Now the haul a way was really rocking, but disposal fees and the amoutn I can haul was taking it's toll, so I got a bigger truck and a bigger vac.

Now I changed accountant's and he put numbers together for me to relise how much my costs were and how much potential there was in leaves. So price went up yet again $60 an hour. This guy asked me to keep track of my times, so i found my estimating system was only still getting me about $45 an hour. Then we found them Red Max EB6200 blowers.

So Now are times got faster, but still not enough money, so we got together and charges $75 a man hour no bid or estimate went right off the clock. So now I really started to see real potensial.

I found this whille at the school of hard knocks.

#1 weather, can't predict, so why give bids.

#2 each customer wantes little bits of extras that you didn't know about, no more bids or times.

#3 the system I use is 20 times faster than rakes, blowers and tarps, so why charge prices that people use those items. I did them this way too.

#4 there is money to be made hauling them away.

#5 mulching is no way any quicker or less labor intensive.

#6 Mulching can be harder on the equipment

# 7 I can keep going all day about this, but I think you get my point.

Like the pic showed in the first post, no way can those leaves be done any which way in 1 pass even with double blades.

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 05:39 AM
The newer scotts mowers are not the same as they were. I'm talking the new bodystyle that came out this year. Scotts has been built by Murray for many years until now. What a crock to even say John Deere makes them. Now that's false advertisement!!!

The Scotts has always got a little flasher design as far as looks go. But other than that they are the same. The funny part is I've seen that the same part with the Scotts logo on it will be a bit cheaper than a Murray part. Like a set of blades is like $3 cheaper. Same thing, different box.

Murray is selling he crap out of mowers they built with left over parts from the old square scotts mower. They slap another name on it and send it on. Namely those Stanley mowers they got over at wally world and the orange Yard King mowers (now made by AYP & look like a Craftsman or Husqvarna).

What a load of crap! I see the same thing out there in commercial mowers to though :confused:

Envy Lawn Service
11-02-2002, 05:51 AM

When I get my doubles back on again, I'll try to get you some one pass before and after pics. Like I said, this dang digital camera made some image files up over 1MB. :confused:

Those are too big to post on here and frankly i'm beginning to get worried about disc space with that kind of file size on some pics. I can't understand why some are small enough while others are many time too big :confused:

Maybe I need to take it back and trade for another :confused:

Richard Martin
11-02-2002, 08:34 AM
Envy Lawn Service wrote:

Scotts has been built by Murray for many years until now. What a crock to even say John Deere makes them. Now that's false advertisement!!!

Well, you can disbelieve it all you want. The guy who brought the Scotts mower has a 4 year old Scotts at home and it says "Made by John Deere" right on the back.

11-02-2002, 08:48 AM

Actually, there used to be 2 different versions of the Scott's lawn tractor. I bought one in the summer of 1999 at Home Depot. There were those that were equiped with Briggs & Stratton engines (not sure who made those-maybe there are the Murreys?), and then there were the Kohler engine versions.

The Kohler versions were indeed made by John Deere, at the Greenville, Tennessee plant. The 2-year warrenty was contracted to the local John Deere dealer in the area in which the mower was sold. To verify the mowers origins, you would lift up the seat and there would be a John Deere sticker on the chassis...complete with JD serial number, manufacturer code, and date code.


If I remember correctly, the 'Deere' version were $400-$500 more than the Briggs versions.

Mine is a S-1642 (16 hp Kohler 'Command' w/ a 42" deck)...and hydrostatic drive. I used it on my one acre lawn for one season and then used it the next year to start my business. That year I mowed over 450 acres with it. It has to have close to 1000 hours on it. I can go out into the garage, turn the key, and she will fire right up and perform like the day I bought it. :D I replaced the ignition switch and deck belt the month before the warrenty ran out ( at the John Deere dealer-no charge) and slipped a new battery in it at the begining of this year. Otherwise, nothing else has been replaced or has broken.


I bought a spare deck belt and drive belt at Home Depot last year and they have the green Deere logo and Deere part numbers stamped right on them.

That mower is so sweet I just can't bear to sell it. And yes, it stripes nicely....but the "monkey arms" you get doing it will kill you. :laugh:

bubble boy
11-02-2002, 12:26 PM
SLS- i did notice your pic earlier in the thread, i know it seems like we all missed it...that is the kind of results i wish i could get. is there ever point when even three passes is not enough?

anyone have similar before and after pics?

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 10:22 PM
I'm running my Exmark TTHP 48 with the mulch kit and wavy blades that come with the kit. I messed around for half an afternoon last week with different single and double combinations with the kit baffles on and off, discharge open/closed etc. I couldn't find a combination that worked better than the mulch kit and wavy blades, so I put it back on. What I like especially about the kit is that at 2 inches, blowout is nonexistent, and the trim side of the deck will actually suck leaves in.

I don't have any photos of it going through big piles, but here is a before and after series with light leaf cover, 1 pass done a couple weeks ago (Oct 21).

Here's before

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 10:24 PM
Here's after one pass w/ mulch kit.

11-02-2002, 10:25 PM
bubble boy,

The most I think I have ever had to do was 3 passes. That was last year when I would wait for lots of leaves to drop before going after them. And I mean lots.

Now, this year I sent all of my customers a newsletter that informed them if they were wanting leaves cleaned up and mulched that we were going to do them every week, thus keeping them on their regular mowing schedule.

This way, I can stay on top of the leaves as they fall. I started this last week. First I blow the beds, corners, and hard surfaces and then mulch...one pass. I've been keeping time on this and so far most of the jobs take about the same amount of time as mowing. This is because I do not have to use the string trimmer and because of the mulch kit there are not as many area that need a final blowing off. The most extra time I've spent so far on a 1 acre lawn was 15 minutes...but it has those pesky mulch beds around some of the larger trees that usually do not need blowing at all.

I don't like dealing with a ton of leaves all at one time...and this method keeps the money constantly coming in up until mid-December. Plus it is easier to disperse the leaves doing them in stages.

11-02-2002, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by darryl gesner
I'm running my Exmark TTHP 48 with the mulch kit and wavy blades that come with the kit. I couldn't find a combination that worked better than the mulch kit and wavy blades, so I put it back on. What I like especially about the kit is that at 2 inches, blowout is nonexistent, and the trim side of the deck will actually suck leaves in.

All my lawns are cut at 3 3/8" or higher, they are still at that height. I know thats why I have so much blow out when mulching leaves. I am not going to lower the height while the grass is still green.

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 10:35 PM
Yeah, mine are all down to 2 or 2 1/2 now. I never mow closer than 2 inches. At 3 inches or more the blowout is annoying. Too many get away and need to be dealth with later. Sometimes I don't know why I bother chasing them... I did one large lawn, and by the time I was done, it needed it again under one maple tree.

11-02-2002, 10:39 PM
darryl- so you lowered the height that you were cutting at? if so, what height were you cutting? and if so, i assume that the grass is dormant?

11-02-2002, 10:47 PM
Looks good, darryl!

Chasing leaves used to be a problem for me too...until I got that anti-Blowout baffle. It made a HUGE difference inthe performance of leaf mulching...huge. Not chasing nothing now. :) I hope Exmark will develop one for the Turf Tracer. I have a TTHP 36" that's wanting one too.

Have you tried dropping your RPM's a bit? This can help with the blowout situation. You will need to slow down your forward groundspeed a bit if you do this but it will still mulch nicely...and you won't have to case them leaves so much. Pull it back to 3/4 throttle and see what you think. That worked pretty good on my Lazer.

Yeah, there is a big difference in how well the mulch kit performs at 2 inches as opposed to 3 inches. I suppose that the closer the deck to the ground the more positive vacuum you have.

I've gradually lowered my cutting heigth over the last few weeks in anticipation of mulching up leaves. The grass here has been going into dormancy the last couple of weeks...but the weeds are still nice and green. I guess I timed it about right as we had our first frost of the season last night. It was 34 degrees when I started this morning...brrrrr.

I'm running at 2 1/4 now. 2 inches is my limit too. Only late in the fall does it get this low.

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 11:49 PM
greenman - I dropped all my accounts 1/2 inch the last mow. I was mowing the lawn pictured at 2 1/2 previously. It's kind of a crappy lawn, lots of weeds and doesn't look good cut any higher. The back lawn is zosyia, which is dormant. I wouldn't say the cools season grass is dormant yet. Still growing a wee bit. Temps are geeting down to freezing overnight and a couple heavy frosts already (my veggie garden has bought it!). Do you think it's too soon for me to be at 2 inches given those weather conditions? The grass here is mostly bluegrass, fescue and rye.

SLS - Thanks. Yeah, I have and do throttle back a bit sometimes. The biggest problem I have is dumping leaves on turns and over bare spot or roots. Works great on dense turf I think because the leaves get trapped by the grass wall around them. It's amazing to me how much gets trapped under the deck. You can see this by pulling off the lawn and onto a driveway or pavement. All the stuff that was stuck swirling around under the deck comes out...tiny little pieces.

I've got a lawn to mow Monday that has lots of leaves. I'll be sure to take the camera and get some before and after photos and count my passess. Had a heck of a time mowing that one last time. It hadn't been cut in at least 2 months (new account - daughter of another customer) and was wet and had lots of leaves in one spot. Not a good candidate for the mulching kit. I had to go real sloooooow. I took before and afters of it then, but from too far away.

11-02-2002, 11:59 PM
darryl- I dont cut any lawns under 3", especially cool season grasses. When they go dormant, then maybe gradually go down to 2 or 2.5". Even on dormant grasses, the lower you cut the more suseptible it is to freezing from the frost or snow mold. Its also more likely to get a few weeds, but thats why you dont go lower than 2".

11-03-2002, 01:54 AM

I know what you mean by 'dumping leaves' on the turns.

This is why I have started making my turns 'early'.

I then back out of it and align for the next pass. This makes the 'dump' in a area that has yet to be mulched. :D

I can't explain it as well as I would like to in words so I made this animated .gif to try to give you a visual of what I mean. It is like doing a 'K' turn...but started JUST BEFORE I reach the end of a pass. It really does 'dump' in the unmulched area. I hope this makes sense.

Here goes:


Please don't laugh at my amateur attempt a web animation...oh, go ahead... :laugh:

11-03-2002, 08:20 AM
Most of the pictures I have seen on this thread show wooded areas around the property. Why would you not take advantage of this and blow the leaves into the woods? On lawns like this I'll pick a spot in the center and start pushing leaves to either side until I get to the wood line which saves me tons of time getting the bagger mower off and worrying if all the leaves were mulched.

But then again..................I live down south where there ain't no leaves!!!!!!!:rolleyes:

11-03-2002, 02:24 PM
please tell me he's smarter than that. You have to mow the leaves with the mower chute on the same side. Basically alll you have to do is first go over the leaves in reverse the first time and go back over them frontwards. If you want to leave stripes to them last at a 90 degree angle.

11-03-2002, 03:14 PM
brentsawyer sez:

"Basically alll you have to do is first go over the leaves in reverse the first time and go back over them frontwards."

Great way to do it on a ZTR...particularly on a smaller lot.

But wouldn't this be a little tricky, and time consuming, if a person is using a smaller walkbehind?

The thought of walking a 1 or 2 acre spread, BACKWARDS, and then forwards too, with a walkbehind...I dunno.......makes my body, and pocket, hurt thinking about that scenario. It would be time to invest in a good vacuum it that were my only option. :)

Darryl G
11-03-2002, 05:39 PM
I just took some more mulching photos. I posted them to my website in the "mulching photos" page. Otherwise it's a pain to have to keep reducing the size and resolution to get them to load on this site.

One series shows me grinding up a knee deep pile to add to our compost pile. The other shows before and after pictures mowing a spot in the yard. There's also some photos of lawns in the "products and services" section of the site that you might want to check out while you're there. All of my best work is highlighted there. The most beautiful bluegrass you ever saw.


Let me know what you think.


11-03-2002, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by darryl gesner
it's a pain to have to keep reducing the size and resolution to get them to load on this site.


Use the [IMG] feture and put the www to the picture, then you are using a link to the image and not uploading it to LS. No resizing will be needed.

Make sure no text is touchng the link or it will show as a box with a red X.

Darryl G
11-03-2002, 11:15 PM
SLS - I think I know what you mean. Sorry, but your animation did make me laugh trying to figure out which way it was going and what it was doing. I thought I understood until I saw that!:)

LGF- Thanks, I didn't know that.

Did anyone check out the mulchinig pics on my site?

11-03-2002, 11:22 PM
Yeah I looked but got side tracked, I was going to post one of your pics for you, then good old American Off Line said "Good Bye".

I forgot to tell you the URL you have to use is under "properties" when you right click.

11-03-2002, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by LAWNGODFATHER
I was going to post one of your pics for you, then good old American Off Line said "Good Bye".

That's funny! - America OFF line!:D I never get tired of some of the things you guys come up with!:p