1st impressions with mulch kits

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Florida Gardener, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. I recently got mulch kits for my 36 Stander/48 ZMaster. I am cutting St. Augustine and Bahia and the results have been very good. We are slowing down, but our St. Aug yards are still going pretty good and my Stander cut clean on the first pass. There was a little blowout from the deck, but overall better that side discharge with Gator Blades. The real test will be next summer when we are in full swing with Bahia. Overall though the kits are doing what I wanted, less mess.
  2. Lehighlawnpros

    Lehighlawnpros LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Hi Diamond,

    I'm glad that you're having good results with the mulch kits.

    I'm mulching the same grass types here in the Ft. Myers area with a Grasshopper 722D 52" and have very good results as well.

    I'm mowing mostly at a 4" cutting height and using regular medium-lift blades, with some minimal blowout from the front of the deck mostly in dry turf areas.
    Overall the mulch kit keeps the operator much cleaner in dry and/or windy conditions when compared to discharging.

    Some of the greatest advantages are the greatly enhanced safety, and being able to mow in either direction with no concern for managing discharge.

    I'm able to mow summer St. Augustine even in the rain with little to no visible clumps.
    However, when mowing wet and/or weedy turf expect to have a lot of buildup under the deck to clean later on.

    Some tips to help when mowing during high growth rates:

    In areas of crazy high Bahia or over-cultivated St. Augustine I'll mow using half of the deck width,
    this allows you to keep your ground speed up and still get a good cut with no double-cutting required.

    As much as possible try to maintain continuous forward motion by minimizing stops and turns (because in high growth rates if you stop to back up or
    turn the deck hasn't had time to fully process the clippings underneath and they may fall out in piles) Keeping moving in the forward direction eliminates this.

    To maintain continuous forward motion as much as possible I usually mow in an enlongated oval pattern starting with a pass around the perimiter and working my way in. This really helps to minimize stop-turns (zero or three-point) and helps to eliminate turf damage as well. To entirely eliminate ruts just stagger your passes a little to the left or right as required.

    Also, you can make a pass down the middle of an area and treat it as two separate sections (ovals), plus when doing this you can alternate passes from one section to the other effectively giving yourself more turning room and eliminating the tighter (more scrubbing) turning that would otherwise be required when reaching the middle of a single section. Although you can also swing out wide and come back around to eliminate a stop-turn at the middle of a section.

    You still get nice straight lines down the middles, we're just rounding off the ends to minimize stop-turns (zero or three-point).
  3. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,008

    My four mowers are all setup to mulch. Blowing grass on top of the lawn instead of forcing it down into the lawn in much smaller pieces just doesn't make sense to me. I also don't want to have an open chute determine how I have to cut a yard to keep grass from being blown into the beds, out into the driveway, and onto the walks.
  4. Lehigh

    Thanks for the advice. I don't think any setup can escape the buildup in the conditions you mentioned. I was discharging with Gator blades and on wet bahia or very weedy St. Aug I would get tons of buildup so that is expected. I just got tired of all the clippings in beds, all over the street, dust in my face, raking and bagging plant clippings,etc.
  5. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    I have been using a mulch setup for several years. My 36" wright is the worse I have used due to the stock blade, blowout going around pool decks etc. My main issue is oak leaves none of the mulch kits I have used excelled in this area most people dont mind but I get a few complaints a year
  6. I have had good results so far with my 36 Wright, but dont have much to compare to. I can tell you I was running Gators with a block-off plate last winter and it did get at least half of the oak leaves so I can only imagine that an actual mulch kit will get more than that. Maybe it will take 2 passes, but if it means I am not raking and bagging, so be it.

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