Bag/Mulch/Discharge VS Mow Speed

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by boo, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. boo

    boo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I'm in the process (somewhat agonizing) of selecting a mower for my new ~1 acre and I'm looking for guidance on how to have the mower set up on purchase. I'd like to balance fastest mowing speed with not wanting to have too much visible dead grass after mowing.

    I'm sure I'm leaving out info necessary for you to give guidance, but since I'm a bit of a newbie I'll wait for replies to fill in the blanks

    Any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. mowhigh

    mowhigh LawnSite Member
    from Dallas
    Messages: 198

    Don't bag; it's a waste of time and needlessly removes nutrients from your turf. A good mulching kit will not leave unsightly clippings on the surface, but requires that you mow a little more frequently (every 5-6 days vs 7-10 if discharging). Mulching will also allow close mowing on either side, minimizing tire ruts/grass lay-down by alternating mowing direction. If the grass occassionally gets too tall, leave the mulching blades on, but remove the discharge cover. A good deck design will give adequate dispersal even when side discharging. Try it; you can always add a bagging attachment later, if you still want it. Try to demo before you buy. Good luck!
  3. boo

    boo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Thanks mowhigh - I would love to avoid the wasted time and money if I can!

    Generally speaking, are you able to mow faster while discharging versus mulching?

    Also, it seems (I say it seems, because I can't say for sure) that some in this forum do as you suggest below - use mulching blades but discharge. If mowing 1/wk with this configuration, is it possible to get good enough dispersion to no have unsightly clippings (or is that too much to expect)?

    I see some discussion around special mulching blades (Gator, Raptor, etc.), but I can't tell if they are using them with mulch kits or with discharge.
  4. bobcat175

    bobcat175 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 377

    Yes, discharging is faster.

    If you mulch, cut no more than 1/3 of the total grass blade height. If it's longer then discharge. Remember that mowing speed is more of a factor with mulching than discharging. If the grass is really long then you can discharge on the 1 pass and then bag on the 2 pass.

    I usually don't mulch anymore as I have to bolt/unbolt the mulching plate to the deck.
    I use 2 gators and a regular hi-lift on the discharge side and either bag/discharge w/out the deflector. The reg high lift on the end gives better dispersion than a gator.
  5. boo

    boo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Thanks bobcat. With the configuration you sited below, how are the clippings when you discharge (are the clippings very visible, and do you have to rake/bag) - assuming a 1/wk mowing?
  6. bobcat175

    bobcat175 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 377

    It really depends on the height of the grass. Right now I'm mowing every 4-5 days so the clippings are minimal and not visible. I just mowed yesterday but the next mow I can take a pic of the dispersion. I try and alternate between bagging and discharging. Right now, if I discharge there is no need to bag after. Remember to keep your deck clean as that plays a major part in the blades ability to cut and move the clippings.
  7. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    My recommendation would be to just side discharge and see what YOU think. You can always add a mulch kit at a later time.
  8. boo

    boo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Thanks for the feedback. I just committed to purchasing a Simplicity Consumer Z today with a mulch kit installed. We'll see what happens.
  9. bobcat175

    bobcat175 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 377

    boo, congrats on the purchase. Enjoy.

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