Those annoying little "strands"...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by allstar, May 22, 2004.

  1. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    Every time I cut a lawn that contains alot of bahia(sp.),dandelions or any other long ,skinny grasses or weeds I always have to go back over parts of it because my blades don't cut all of it with one pass.I believe some of this happens because the wheels run over it and flatten it down but even some of the strands in direct contact with the blades either get missed or just partially cut sometimes.I use mainly JD mowers with mulch kits.Even when I have brand new blades on them,though I still have this problem to some extent.
    I read alot about blades on this forum;e.g.,Meg-mo,Gator,running doubles,etc.I have quite a few customers with lousy lawns that contain these grasses and weeds.Would some of these other blades work better?Thanks.
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    I believe you're going to have this problem no matter what the blade / mower combination you have.

    I've gotten to the point where I tell my customers my mowers are designed to cut grass. I tell them the physical differences and show them what happens when I mow ever dandelions, how they don't all get chopped off at the mowed height.

    I give them the option of 1) pay me to double cut during dandelion season, 2) pay me to spray the yard to get rid of the weeds, therefore making the property more healthy, 3) leave it, just mow the one time and the rest will be cut off next week.

    It doesn't pay to have to go over each lawn 2+ times because the customer's too cheap and won't spray. If they don't like these options, I can get another lawn down the street that will.
  3. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    i agree with what he said about cheap customers. part of the problem is the mulch kit. wirey stuff just blows around under the deck due to the air circulation in each baffle/chamber. do you have spacers on top and below your spindles and blades? on my metro i have 4 spacers, during this time of the yeer i run 1 spacer on top of the spindle pulley and 3 between the bottom of the spindle and the blade. if you have multple spacers you might play with the settings, just dont put them under the blade, that gets you no where!
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Pay no attention to the first sentence. In my experience that is hogwash. The second sentence has some validity for sure though.

    It's a combination of air circulation, amount of lift from the blades and the cutting ability of the blades. I have blades on the truck that won't cut that stuff for cr@p either! Then I have some that miss some really wide blade fescue that catch a lot of air. Then I have some that miss a lot of the limp stuff.

    So what kind of John Deere's are we talking here?
    What kind of brand new blades are we talking?

    Answer those questions and I will see if I can steer you in the right direction. If you are running Gator mulchers w/ mulch kit like seems to be so wide spread, do yourself a favor and pull them off until fall. They cause violent air circulation and they fail to have enough lift to counter act the effect on a lot of stuff.

    Aside from that here is one point for starters....

    Brand new blades do not = sharp blades

    All brand new blades are sharpened before they are installed on any of my mowers. Just having paint on them is too dull to suit me. I have a 4 1/2" angle grinder fitted with a flap sanding disc. I take that to them and I have knife sharp blades to install in just a few minutes.
  5. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    i'm a little curious, you quoted me and said in your experience that was hogwash, then you go on to tell him to remove his gator mulching blades until fall because they cause terbulant air. now i could be wrong, but isn't the overall design (the shape) of all mulching blades the same?
  6. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    also brand new blades can be sharp, not razor edge sharp, but sharp. the finer the edge the shorter amount of time it stays sharp.
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Oh no, there are many diferent styles/shapes of mulching blades. A lot of people like the Gators on everything, but I don't. I have decks tht love them and decks that hate them. The main pint is this though. None of the decks like them with the mulch kit installed. For me they are only good for shredding leaves in the fall and not much else.

    The problem is the 'teeth' don't make much of a lift wing for sucking the stuff up to be cut. But you wouldn't know it from the amount of air force they create. What the teeth do is re-direct the air and clipping flow under the deck. In the case of Gators it directs it in towards the spindle and then a constant flow into the spindle and down to the ground. That causes a turbulence and in effect the teeth work somewhat like the angled fins in a blower housing.

    On some mowers the air disturbance and blow down over rides what lift the blades do have. Aside from that they really don't do a good job of grass handling and mulching with a mulch kit.

    Now I know somebody will come on here and say but-but-but I LUV MY GATORS. Not doubting they do. They are my #1 favorite side discharge blade on my Murray 42" and they work unreal at that task on that deck. But they still suck at mulching with the kit installed. They leave some stringers, but most of all they leave behind windrow trails of clippings between the blades and on the discharge side.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I would have to respectfully disagree with you there also. I find the sharper a blade is when I put it on, the longer it holds it's edge. Using different sanding stuff and different grits that gave varying results is where I found that out.

    Now if you were using a grinder and got the blade hot, the edge would be gone in no time. Do you not cut Fescue and other tough course leaf grasses over in Tennessee? If you do, I'm telling you first stop monday morning, stoop down close and inspect the tips of the grass blades. Then whip out a sharp pocket knife and cut a blade of grass with it. Slap on a new set of blades and cut it. Then re-inspect again next week. Next week you'll realize those new blades didn't have and edge to hold in the first place.
  9. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    In my experience Gators are only good for fall, or maybe as one of you doubles. They do not cut well, or give good vacume in my opinion. I also think Doubles can cause blow down which will push down the long stringy stuff, and as you pass over, they do not pop back up til you are gone.

    I have been finding that singles with no mulch kit are most effective at cleanly cutting both grass and weeds.

    I bet if you got rid of the mulch kit, and ran singles you would be very pleased with the result.

    The thiner the yard, the harder it is to get good a good vac from the deck as well. You will likely find the lawns that are in the best condition will cut the best, where the sparse junk yards cut the worst.

  10. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 811

    AllStar, I'm going to go with Lwnmwrman22. Those Minnesota guys only have 2 mts of summer and have to cut faster and don't have time to double cut.

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