Mulching....I have been convinced?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sharp Services, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    I have been convinced to give it a try. I have put Ninja Mulching blades on my two of my Snappers and have started the year off mulching my yards. In the past I have always bagged but after reading all your post I have decide to give Mulching a try.

    Here are the questions ...

    I was expecting to save more time. But I spend more time prepping the yards. Removing pine cones and heavy straw area and other debris that just does not seem to mulch very well. Is there a secret that I have not been told?

    Two of my customers still want there yards bagged. When I priced the yards I did not tell the customer if it would be bagged or not but after two years I think they expect it. These two say the yard does not look as clean. I would agree ... I have to blow several yards after mulching to make them look as crisp as they do when bagged. Again, am I missing something? Is there a secret y'all have not told me?

    I was hoping to have about a 15 - 25% savings on time ... but so far it has only been about 5%.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions,
     
  2. elamey

    elamey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    Just to pull some numbers out of the air....

    50 Hour Week
    40 Weeks (I'm just guessing on that I don't mow in SC)
    2000 hours x 5% = 100 hours per year...Pretty significant

    2.5 hours a week, time enough to add another lawn to your schedule. :)
    or it's the same amount of lawns, but you are saving 100 hours per year on your equipment/gas etc... How much will it save you on your disposal fees as well?

    I would guess you will be saving much more time during the summer. Mulching takes a little longer in the spring for sure...in the summer however, it will go quicker.
     
  3. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    What kind of Snappers are you running, 21" mowers?
     
  4. Joel B.

    Joel B. LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Posts: 458

    Mulching definitely has its time and place. Mulching will not work if the grass is too long, too wet, too thick or if you try to cut too much off at once.

    If you're trying to mulch a long, thick, heavily irrigated lawn once a week...forget it, you could be trying to mulch 3+ inches of thick, wet, grass and it's just not going to work. Plus you'll be scraping your deck constantly. You would need to mulch that lawn every 2-3 days and only cut off about an inch to get nice clean results.

    Now if you're only cutting off an inch of dry grass that's not too thick or wet, mulching will work beautifully and will look just as good as bagging.


    I am confused by one thing, you say:

    "Two of my customers still want there yards bagged. When I priced the yards I did not tell the customer if it would be bagged or not but after two years I think they expect it. These two say the yard does not look as clean."

    So, are you bagging their lawns or not? I would not be happy if I asked the lawn to be bagged and it hasn't been bagged in two years.

    Anyways, I gave up mulching grass years ago and only mulch leaves now.

    Joel B.
     
  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    are you using a mulch kit, with baffles, or just mulching blades.... big difference,....... i have no problem mulching anytime of year, commercial mower or homeowners......
     
  6. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,155

    I just bag or discharge. No need to change mower configuration and if you can mulch it you can discharge it, just as long as you keep the clippings out of the beds.
     
  7. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268


    At the present I have set up my Hydro 1833 and one 21" mower to mulch and I left one 21" set for bagging. I am in the process of ordering a 36" hydro walk behind with a 15 hp Kaw with the mulching kit and sulky. The new mower will really speed things up ... I hope.
     
  8. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    For the past two years I have been bagging everything. I have never told the customer that there yards would be bagged or not. So I am having a problem with customers who I have bagged in the past. They think bagging is better and I am attempting to switch to mulching.
     
  9. chriscraft

    chriscraft LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 390

    If you are adding mulching blades you are not mulching. You need all 3 blades sealed off and use mulching blades (MULCH KIT) . muching works great if you cut twice a week and change blades daily. We had to stop because the grass was too long after 7 days to mulch proprly and the mulch kits were 200-300 each for an exmark. We do use the kits in the fall tho for leaves and we do our cleanups 75% faster than the companies that blow rake or bag .
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Absolutely, plus the bagger is not free = less parts to replace / fix = less crap to load / unload.

    //////////////////////////
    Mulching is more than putting special blades on the machine, that is only the first crucial step. Mulching is a technique, a unique style of work which involves a slight learning curve that, once learned, the person used to mulch-cutting can mulch even with standard blades (all my mowers have standard blades, and all I do is mulch).

    I do not know how your mower is set up, but mine has a side discharge (on the right side). So, to mulch properly, I almost always do the racetrack pattern by starting with a big perimeter loop and working my way towards the center.
    Here is the trick:
    The first TWO or three laps around the lot must be performed clockwise for the chute to be aimed to the inside of the yard. After the initial few laps, turn the machine around and continue circling inwards but in a counter-clockwise direction so now the chute is facing back out.

    What this does is it spreads the clippings evenly while it keeps debris off the walkways and pavement. How many times have I watched some guy making a turn near a paved surface and just nice as can be they put a huge amount of clippings all over the sides which now have to be blown off - Do the racetrack properly and it saves time blowing due to considerably less debris (another 5%).

    The racetrack is one reason I hate striping lawns - Doing the racetrack versus striping is literally twice as fast: I can racetrack my own acre lot in an hour (cut + trim), but the other day I striped it and sure enough: 2 hours.

    So, there's your 10-20, maybe 50%... It has to do with what you already know and how long you've been doing it, I believe you improve this with time and should save more % as this goes on, but whether you reach 20 percent is another story.

    Keep in mind, when the grass is tall and / or thick, it will clump, requiring you to run over those sections at least twice (this also consumes time) while this helps give it that clean, neat finished look.

    Everybody thinks I'm cheap, they laugh at me doing the racetrack while they stripe but you know what? Most customers could give a hoot about stripes, and for me time is always the issue: When you can cut a yard in half the time it takes to stripe it, which method would you use?
     

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