Question regarding mulching (grass) in georgia

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FIRESCOOBY, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    I currently mow with the equipment listed below. I only side discharge, but have a Qwikchute to keep from throwing grass into unwanted areas (beds, etc).

    Sometime before next season I am planning on upgrading mowers. I am either gonna go with the HUSTLER Super Z 52"/25 Kaw or the EXMARK AS (Ultracut) with the 52"/ 28 Kaw.

    I'd like to know more about mulching solely instead of side discharging. I realize that my current mower probably doesn't have enough *ss (i.e. motor) to do it well enough.

    I mow Fescue, Bermuda, and some Zoysia. Also have 1 or 2 yards that are mostly weeds. Can I cut these yards with a mulching kit installed and leave NO clippings? I have had some customers request bagging on the Bermuda yards which I decline because I am not equipped for it. I would like to know if I mulch these fertilized and irrigated Bermuda lawns...how is it going to look?
     
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Seems every Lco has their own little method, and what works best for each one of us is what we use, pretty much exclusively.
    It only costs maybe 50 bucks or so to get one set of mulching blades, skip the OCDC for the time being and just experiment with the mulchers and see how it goes, take it from there.

    To me this is my 6th year and I did a lot of experimenting, nothing but high lifts and side discharge for me, be it fixed deck Wb or floating Z, it's all high lift side discharge... To me, mulching is as much a technique as the equipment, my philosophy is that once you got it down, you can mulch with any blade and any equipment, so hi-lift disch lol... It's just what I found works best, but there's Lco's out there who are strictly mulchers and wouldn't dream of doing what I do...

    So experiment, see what works best for you, then stick with that and you should be gtg.
     
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,311

    It is a not a problem to mulch with the outlet closed we do it all year long in all kinds of grasses including wet rye grass. And it does not make any difference what kind of blades you use as long as they don't have a lot of lift....scag wavy blades are good or Scag straight blades. We mulch with Stander, Scag Tiger, Cougar, 36" WB snappers and 36" WB Scagsand 32" Scags and never have any problem.
     
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    The Exmark is going to mulch very well. A proven design. I've heard mixed results on the Hustlers.

    I see some guys discharging on Bermuda, but I'm amazed they get away with it. And past a point it's hard to disperse all that thick stuff.

    The Exmark mulching deck will leave an almost bagged look much of the time on one pass, and in heavy conditions a quick cleanup pass 1/4" higher will finish the job. Still much faster than bagging. I have used one for 8 years plus with ZERO complaints about cut quality. I cut one really tall one that hadn't been cut in 15 days after a period of multiple heavy rains today and most of it was done in 2 passes, though one section near the neighbor's took 3 because of fertilizer overspray from their lawn so it got a double dose. Looked good, with just a little yellowing in a spot or two from having gotten so tall and wet. But definitely insist on weekly mowing May-Aug at least on Bermuda. Cutting off 6" isn't great for it. But the mower did it.

    Power helps a lot. I have a 23hp kawi on a small 48" deck. The 18hp kohler I had on a previous machine couldn't handle mulching.

    A mulching deck isn't great on weedpatches that get tall, it leaves stragglers and the resulting clippings are a sticky mess. But it will do it if you spend enough time.

    Mulching decks do ok on light/medium growth Tall Fescue, but heavy stuff can give some clumping problems. They also lose lift above about 3.25" and the cut isn't as uniform above that. I much prefer discharging on Fescue. It stands the grass up better and looks neater even with clippings not being mulched. They disperse nicely in most conditions and drop down into the tall grass easily.

    If you can swing it I suggest having one mower set up to mulch and another to discharge in our area. It saves a TON of time having the right mower for each job. Even if you had to drop the 36" and use just a 21" on gates, it'd be more profitable in the long run. Going to two ZTR's this year, one set up each way, has me flying through lawns. I wish I'd done it earlier. (used the 44" wb to discharge last year)

    Assuming you have the usual mix of gates, hills, and wet day conditions to mow in, I might suggest dropping the fixed deck 36" and carrying your 52" Hustler to discharge Fescue lawns and picking up a 40" Toro hydro wb or maybe a 48" Exmark Turf Tracer HP wb and sulky for the Bermuda. I haven't had as good results mowing Bermuda with a fixed deck mower as with the floater. My 48" exmark ztr cuts nicer than the 32" Toro with an exmark fixed deck. But having a wb in the fleet would allow you to cut in wetter conditions or hills if needed. I am too old for that stuff so I use two ztrs and pass on any hilly lots or soggy lawns.
     
  5. GroundEffects125

    GroundEffects125 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 288

    i live in savannah ga. an im on my way to clevland saturday to pick up a 60 in hustler super z . i was just wondering if u like the guy who has that shop all i know is he has LOW prices
     
  6. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    Georgia Powersports and Equipment? The owners name is James Allison, he has another store about 20 miles away in Oakwood Ga. He and I are good friends. Tell him SCOOBY said to hook you up!!

    Good luck.
     
  7. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    THANKS for the VERY informative post!!

    How hard/long is it to remove the mulch plate from the mower? Changing blades is not a big deal, just not sure about the mulching plate. Having 2 ZTR's really isn't much of an option for me.

    Thanks
     
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Unfortunately it's a huge PITA to remove/install the mulch kit, which is two interior baffles, a small piece, plus the end plate. Ideally it's a 15 min job, but the bolts get corroded and are full of dirt and unless you have a lift to work on it's more like 30 or more. That's why I went with a dedicated discharge mower.



    Make sure you use sharp blades, make overlapping passes to avoid little lines of clippings forming, slow down as needed to let the clippings cycle and disperse into the ground as needed, and realize that in wetter or heavier conditions it will require a little bit of cleanup with additional passes or even a blower. But I bagged for 6 years or so and would have to be paid double or more to return to that mess.

    Exmark was one of the first brands to get really serious about mulching technology, they are reliable, cut nicely, and I'd have a hard time recommending any other brand for this use. It's a proven commodity.
     

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