I have noticed that My JD 717A tends to leave a ragged cut with the mulch kit installed. I have not used it without the mulch kit, so I don't have a comparison with and without. I have used Gator Blades, High Lifts, and standard mulching blades. Oddly enough, the high lifts gave the smoothest cut, but did not chop the clipping well, and I had clippings everywhere. I only used them once. Has anyone noticed this with their John Deere? It is normal for any mower with a mulch kit? I can get the cut to look good, but only after double and triple cutting, even when its not spring and growing like crazy.