Mulching Blades... Are they necessary?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by sphat_mc, May 15, 2010.

  1. sphat_mc

    sphat_mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Hi, I recently purchased a SCAG Freedom Z with the bagging kit (to help with the leaf clean-up). I've mowed a few times already without the bagger and the grass looked great. The SCAG bagger kit came with the high lift blades.

    Yesterday I decided to change the blades to mulchers (Oregon Gator Mulcher). Well after cutting today with the mulchers, I'm not that impressed. The cut (and clean-up) was much better with the SCAG high lift blades (even without using the bagger).

    If I don't use the mulching blades, will that hurt my lawn? Aren't the mulching blades supposed to cut the grass into finer pieces for decomp? It just seemed that the other blades did so much better.

  2. tigerfan88

    tigerfan88 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Messages: 82

    If you did not buy a mulch attachment(cover for discharge in deck), then you are not mulching. the hilift blades create better flow and the gatos don't. cut with whatever suits you.
  3. sphat_mc

    sphat_mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Would I need the whole mulching kit or would the discharge plate be more than enough? Because of the bagger attachment, I already have baffles installed.

  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I don't like gator blades for grass. Here in the northeast, they just mash it and make a mess. I reserve gators for use in fall and the first cut or 2 in the spring to shred up leaves. For mulching with the mulch kits on my Exmarks, the wavy mulcher blades work well, but I haven't used them in years.
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Mulching baffles should be different than the baffles that are used for bagging / discharging. (which should really be no different, both need the grass to flow out the chute). Mulching baffles enclose each blade, so the grass from one blade isn't being pushed horizontally through the deck, only cut and forced back down. Just adding the plate on the discharge chute will give you poor results because all the grass is still being thown to the chute, when it hits the plate or plug it all just goes down there, leaving a trail of grass there.

    Unless the grass blowing out the chute is causing problems, like it's hard to keep it out of beds, off the house, etc. I would run the high lift blades and let it fly. Perhaps throw the blower and tube on for tight areas you don't want to have grass flying in. (that's the other problem with a mulch kit, if the grass gets to tall you can't just decide to bag, you have to pull the mulch baffles off first.)
  6. sphat_mc

    sphat_mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Thanks. It looks like I'm switching back to the other blades.
  7. JDExmark

    JDExmark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    sphat_mc - just curious did you sharpen the Gators after you got them - i know that is a stupid question but they don't come shipped with a very sharp edge - that could impact performance

    I've been in and out of landscape industry twice in my life and have many friends in the business - and I know that many people swear by gators - having a hard time thinking they did a terrible job for you
  8. sphat_mc

    sphat_mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    No, I did not sharpen them. I think the problem is/was that I didn't have the mulching plate on or proper baffles. Thanks.
  9. JDExmark

    JDExmark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I've cut with gators on machines with no baffles, and no mulching plate and they work well...

    you don't need a plate and baffles with gator blades - check out their website

    but you do need to sharpen them
  10. JDExmark

    JDExmark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I have some new gators going on my walk behind in another week or so - not planning on using a mulch kit or blocking the chute... side discharge only... the gators will simply chop the clippings up into little pieces and send them out the chute...

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