Gator Blades

Hexa Fox

LawnSite Senior Member
Hey guys,

I know there are only a few manufacturers of lawn mower blades. I have what I would consider a good understanding of how most of them work. I usually either select high lift blades and just discharge as much as possible or mulching blades then block the discharge for tougher tasks like mulching leaves. However, I always wondered about the one in between those two, which are gator blades.

I have obviously used them before but I never went out of my way to pay attention to whether or not they made a difference. For instance, Gator Blades are the exact same as high lift blades (completely flat) but have slots in the lift part to help mulch up grass a little better. Most of my customers do not want their grass mowed every week but rather every two weeks. Sometimes they cannot go that long and most customers understand. Anyway I am also picking up more and more customers like this and ones that have let their lawn get out of control.

1.) My main question is would the gator blades help with things like grass clippings and leaf cleanups, especially when double cutting or should I just stick with high lift or mulching blades? I have a "trimmer trap" on my mower but try to keep it open as much as possible to reduce having to scrape out my deck and would like to do this with the gator blades as well, would I notice a difference?

2.) Basically, all blades are universal right? As in if my blades have a 5/8" center hole and are 18" and I see blades that meet those specifications, they will do just fine correct?

3.) I have never ran mulching blades on my main piece of equipment (Ferris IS 2100z), do you guys think swapping over to gator/mulching blades will add a great deal more wear and tear on my machine? I have yet to lose a spindle on my Ferris, something that seems common with MTD equipment I have.

My local dealer has gotten very expensive for blades, so I am much more reluctant to purchase them off him. I do try to support them because they are a awesome business. Anyway, I have always wanted to try mulching blades and just noticed I could get these three sets for less than a single set from my local dealer. I thought they were Oregon at first but it seems the name under them are Ariens.
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
Those may cut alright, but they are NOT Gator blades. There is no lift tab at the end of those in the link. Those look like Black Mamba's. Gator blades can cause clumping or wads in real wet conditions, but as a rule they do pretty darn well for all around cutting. They do make the clippings smaller and you can see it if you stop and look at the clippings after using one blade and then the other (Gators), but it isn't earth shattering.


As far as the dimension thing- no, it isn't quite that simple.

1- you want to use the same thickness as your oem blades as Gator G blades come in both .250" and .205" thicknesses (G6 and G5 respective;y).

2- Is there a center hump or no hump in your oem blades? If not, you want to stick with the same style blades

3- Are your oem blades 2", 2.5" or 3" wide? Putting a 3: wide blade on a deck that is designed for use with 2" or 2.5" blades may cause them to make contact when they pass each other, though it shouldn't as blades are measured diagonally, corner to opposite corner.

Just some things to consider.

I use G5's quite a bit and they cut as clean as my oem blades normally, but they don't stripe quite as well and they can pack a deck a little quicker when the grass is wet.
 
OP
Hexa Fox

Hexa Fox

LawnSite Senior Member
Just some things to consider.

I use G5's quite a bit and they cut as clean as my oem blades normally, but they don't stripe quite as well and they can pack a deck a little quicker when the grass is wet.

Thank you. So I know high lift blades are simple, in that they look to separate the blades of grass and use the lift to discharge the clippings as soon as possible. Putting the least amount of wear on your mower. Then mulching blades are the opposite, usually having no lift to keep the clippings under the deck as long as possible and 'wavy' pattern to help mulch up the clippings. Obviously puts a considerable more amount of wear and tear on your equipment and requires a lot of machines to go slower.

So I thought the only requirement to consider blades "Gator Blades" is the notches in the wings? I also just noticed that there was only eight in that listing. I thought for sure I saw nine, I will need to go back and search again. I may just stick with high lift blades or just buy one set of gators and put them on when I could use them and see how they do.

So I see Oregon selling the G3, G5 and G7 blades. So are those true gator blades? I noticed most of them look flat with at least some lift on the wing of the blade??
 
OP
Hexa Fox

Hexa Fox

LawnSite Senior Member
What do you think of these?

I may have to compare because like you were saying these may cut lower than my stock flat blades.
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
Those are the humped style blades I mentioned and if your oem blades are not, then you want to run the same style Gator blades as your oem.

Gators are designed to chop the clippings up more than regular blades, but not as much as wavy mulchers an an OCDC or full mulch kit. They are (according to Oregon themselves) not designed for use with a mulch kit, though many guys use them that way just the same.

This is a new G6 for my JD. It has the hump in the center as do my oem blades. Take a look at the blades you posted a link to earlier that I commented on and then take a look at mine. Look at the outer lift tab on mine compared to what those other blades look like. There are other blades out there that also have a bit of a lift tab like the true Gators, but those have the teeth flat at the tops instead of pointed like true Gators, and they also have their teeth twisted the opposite way from Gators which is not what you want.

100_1361.jpg
 

bmc1025

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Big Bone, KY
Go with the oregon gator blades. They stay sharp longer than the blades you are showing.

As far as packing the deck in wet grass, try lowering your engine speed in the tall wet stuff. It will reduce the packing and clumping.
 

Integrity-LC

LawnSite Member
Location
West Michigan
Ive run gator G3's and now G5's. Oregon claims the G3's are high lift but look at the pictures below and you will see they aren't. The G5's are high lift though, have a longer cutting edge and have a hard coating on the bottom of the cutting edge that really does help them stay sharp longer. I use the G3's in the fall when I close my OCDC more to mulch leaves and G5's the rest of the season for side discharge or the occasional bagging. They bag, discharge and stripe as well as the stock Exmark blades (also pictured) but they do cut the clipping into smaller pieces so they get distributed more evenly and disappear into the turf almost immediately
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Valk

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
KS
G3 are a better choice for a closed deck when truly mulching due to their lower amount of lift...therefore less blowout.
G5/6 create more lift and are for shredding the discharge more when side-discharging = open deck. These may very well create too much blowout on a closed deck. YMMV
High-lifts do the least amount of processing of clippings as they get the discharge out from under the deck by moving the most air.

Single-notch high lifts haven't been mentioned specifically as they fall just below solid sail high-lifts in the amount of lift they produce and they will shred/process the clippings/discharge a bit more as well.
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
Ive run gator G3's and now G5's. Oregon claims the G3's are high lift but look at the pictures below and you will see they aren't. The G5's are high lift though, have a longer cutting edge and have a hard coating on the bottom of the cutting edge that really does help them stay sharp longer. I use the G3's in the fall when I close my OCDC more to mulch leaves and G5's the rest of the season for side discharge or the occasional bagging. They bag, discharge and stripe as well as the stock Exmark blades (also pictured) but they do cut the clipping into smaller pieces so they get distributed more evenly and disappear into the turf almost immediatelyView attachment 441678View attachment 441679.
Not all G3's are like yours though. I have a set for one of my mowers that is the same exact lift/height on the teeth and tab as the G5/6 blades. The only difference with them is they don't have the extended cutting edge nor the fusion treatment.
 

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