To Mulch or Not to Mulch is the Question?

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by Firefighter Dave, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Hi can anyone tell me the pro's or con's to a mulch kit that you sell for an Exmark 48 Turf Tracer HP? I am really not happy with how far the grass clippings are discharged and would think that a mulch kit would be the way to go?

    Thanks for your help,


    :blob2: :blob2:
  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258


    I'll throw my two cents in. Please keep in mind that we make a bunch of money on the mulch kits and so my opinion is a little biased............. Just kidding, I won't be retiring soon.

    I like the mulch kits, I don't like cleaning out flower beds, the mulch is good for the lawn, less chance of thrown objects (especially important in area of heavy pedestrian traffic or for insurance purposes if you've ever replace auto glass), helps extend the cutting season during dry spells and it works great on leaves. I really don't enjoy hauling leaves out.

    Downsides are that it doesn't works so well on wet grass or spring grass and if you mulch in a great deal of oak or walnut leaves you can increase the acid content in the soil. I also requires more horsepower and makes maintenance of the deck idler pivot and the PTO adjustment more critical. Mulching also performs better at cutting heights below 3".

    I like mulching. I like it a lot. When I was running my 32" metro the mulch kit never came off to do my yard. If I remember correctly I did take it off once to cut a family members lawn.


  3. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Thanks Terry,


    I would like to see others opinons too please...

    :blob2: :blob2:
  4. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Posts: 554

    I just got a TTHP48 with a mulch kit on it and from what I did today, It did a great job! I was impressed with the cut over all.
    I mow at 2 1/2" on fescue, and havent really got to try it on bermuda yet, also I mow my lawns every week, so where not talking about alot of growth.
  5. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    i use it on my 36" metro. the cons i can think of are, on tall stringy type stuff you may have some stuff it misses and wet grass tends to clump up some (watch out over walkways and drives, it blows it out if you leave the lawn). you will have to sharpen the blades more often due to the continous cutting cycle that is happening when mulching.

    as for the good stuff, it keeps clippings where you want them, deep down in the turf. you will pretty much swear the lawn was bagged (and most customers won't be able to tell if you didn't bag it if you know what i mean).
  6. ScotLawn

    ScotLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 309

    get the mulch kit and install it. you will not be sorry you did. leaf season it helps too where you don't have to bag as much and you can just mulch them up for a while untill they all fall.

    I have not pulled my mulch kit off all year and don't plan on doing it at all this winter for leaves. either run the mulch blades or put a set of gators on it with the kit will make noticable differance on the yard.

  7. fastlane

    fastlane LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    Dave, I bough a 48''HP in April. I did not install mulch at first becuse grass was high and wet.(rainy spring) I double cut to get rid of clipping. After 2 weeks I installed mulch kit.Grass still high and wet. I went alittle slower, double cut less! Cut looked great!All my customersare happy with mulching. I do not bag grass!
  8. Badunit

    Badunit LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I put a mulching kit on my 36 Metro HP for two reasons: 1) to keep clippings out of my flower beds and 2) to more evenly distribute the clippings in the lawn. I bought the mower mostly to do a steep hill at my house that can be best cut going sideways on the hill in one direction only and I kept re-cutting and re-throwing the clippings from the previous passes.

    The mulching kit works great. The only downside is if I neglect the grass and let it get tall I can't cut as fast as I used to (engine starts to bog and some grass gets missed) but that's the trade-off.
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,063

    Dave - I agree with the others. I have a 48 TTHP with the 17 Kawi engine and have been running the mulch kit for about a month. IMO I think the pros outweigh the cons.

    I had one account that I was having to bag just because of all the beds. Not anymore.

    I do have to slow down for the really tall, lush areas in a couple of lawns, but it still gets through with no problem. I was able to cut a lawn yesterday that was still wet from dew and hadn't been cut since July 5th (almost 2 months).

    The best part (and the reason I put it on) was that it grinds up leaves really well. It's been dry here (until recently) and leaves have been dropping for weeks on some of my accounts.

    Blowout is minimal and not a problem for me.

    I agree, it works better at 3 inches or less. Things tend to blow out and not get mulched over 3".

    I'm thinking that I may take it off and go with doubles for my final leaf clean-ups so that I can bag if necessary. Some of my lawns get more leaves on them than I dare mulch and leave on the lawn.

    Hope this helps.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I don't own an exmark, but I will tell you I mulch mulch mulch!!! It's great. On my machine I can use both sides as a trim side, which I like! It saves me time. It keeps the clippings out of unwanted areas and it's much safer as far as things being thrown. For me it's a must! People at businesses I have to mow while they are open, really notice and appreciate it. Owners and customers alike! They don't have to worry about their cars when I'm around. It helps my customer loyalty. Also it helps put stuff back in the lawn. You can see a big difference in my lawns and the discharged lawns next door. Mine are much thicker and greener all the time even without fertilize. For those that do have me fertilize, it takes less.

    So, that being said, I mulch 99% of the time. If the machine won't mulch in spring, grass wet with dew or generally wet (not soaked) the machines mulching ability isn't up to par or your operation isn't correct. Only extremely wet or high grass should stop good mulching.

    The only problem I have much is wet grass sticking to the deck. But this is corrected on mine by switching to Gator blades. Although they don't "mulch" quite as well as others, they allow no buildup. I guess it's the teeth that stick up and the fact that they are not high lift help out. Sometimes, if the grass is wet and too high to mulch well with the Gators, I run them and discharge which mulches and scatters the clippings. Then there are no clumps! But watch out if you lift the shield for any reason! you'll surely be cleaning clippings off the side of the house if you're close enough. They sling it!!!

    And for those of you that are wondering, yes I live in the south and deal with all varieties of grass. One mulches as good as the other. Cutting height makes no differnence either. Of course unless you try to cut if from 3 feet to 1 inch in one pass:D

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