Thanks guys, this is great information on real world use. I'm wondering now if the Exmark 'mulching kit" on this deck design is actually just the block off plug. If I could make a pass to mulch up leaves, then get it into bagging mode somehow and vac up the remnants, that would be ideal. It is pretty weird that they won't make a side discharge deck, but I guess that would mean reversing the right hand side blade's rotation and perhaps there are reasons why they can't do that in a cost effective manner. Still, I have other mowers around for discharging tall grass when needed. I need a machine that can mulch in the summer and collect spring/fall. I'd better go see my dealer and get some more answers.