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Mulching Kit

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by Ace LawnScapes, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. Ace LawnScapes

    Ace LawnScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hello Exmark!

    I own a 52" Lazar HP with only 52 hours on it. I purchased the mower with the mulching kit option installed ($150 plus an extra set of the special mulching blades $36.00).

    From day one I have not been happy with the performance of the mulching kit so after 50 hours of use I have removed it.

    A few of the problems I've encountered are as follows:

    1. I have to cut many lawns 2 or 3 times to get rid of clippings.

    2. Poor performance on even slightly wet lawns with clippings building up on deck bottom (causing loss of vacuum) very quickly.

    3. Lawns 4" or higher are very difficlut to cut even when first cutting at a higher height and then recutting at a lower height.

    Now that I have removed the mulching kit the performance has improved 200%! Just wish I hadn't spent the last month messing with the mulching kit.

    MY QUESTION: I have given the mulching kit a good, long evalution and have done everything possible with the hope of making it work for me. (It does O.K. on lawns that are 100% dry and not too long, but that is only a very small percentage of my daily business).

    I do not want my mulching kit. Will I be able to return it to my dealer for a refund?

    Please advise.

    Please know that I'm a solid eXMark customer and so far this is the only problem I've encountered.

    Thanks in advance for your prompt reply!

    Ace LawnScapes
  2. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,732

    may i make a suggestion. mulching wet grass is never a great idea, i know in thick stuff you can't always tell. put the kit back on, put more of the washers under the blade to get them lower. you may have to slow down a little in the thicker stuff, but if you side discharge it, don't you still have clippings (excess) laying around? also make sure you sharpen the new blades, they aren't very sharp brand new. we did this with my metro with the MMK and it made day and night difference.
  3. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    My experience with ANY mulching mower has been that if you are cutting off more than 1" of grass, or the grass is slightly wet, they do not perform well. I do not know of ANY commercial cutters that use a mulch kit, mainly due to the fact that we often cut during less than optimal conditions.

    I do however believe that Exmark produces the best mulch kit out there as far as large decks are concerned. You will not find another mower manufacturer out there that comes close to Exmark.
  4. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    I've pasted a response to an e-mail I had this morning as well.

    Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us. In short what your seeing is not uncommon at this time of year. Most people feel that if a lawn is dry it can be mulched and to a degree that is true. The lawn can be completely dry to the touch however and not mulch well and by the same token it can be completely wet and mulch just fine. The problem is not the moisture on the surface of the lawn but the moisture in the blade of grass that you need to be aware of.

    As you cut grass it releases moisture, when it does this it becomes sticky. The most difficult grasses to mulch are you cool climate grasses such as bluegrass, fescue and rye. Not that they can't be mulched. In actuality that can be mulched better than any other grass type when you understand the mulching process.

    First, it's going to be difficult to mulch these grasses in the spring. Not because of the dampness of the lawn but because of the amount of moisture in the blade of grass itself. The grass during the spring is extremely tender and it will plug your deck and it will ball up on the lawn and require double cutting. Once you get through the first 3 or 4 cuttings (varies from region to region and seasonal differences) generally most operators do like the mulch kit.

    Second, 3-3.5" is about the maximum your going to cut with a mulch kit at any time during the year. You can see a drop off in mulch quality above 2.5" depending upon the conditions but 4" is going to pushing the maximum even in the most ideal conditions.

    In regards to returning your mulch kit, what did commercial say? Any returns just like any sales would need to be processed through Commercial at their discretion.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions or comments.


  5. Ace LawnScapes

    Ace LawnScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    To Terry at eXmark (and others who replied!):

    Thanks for the comments & advice!

    I can see why commercial cutters usually don't use a mulch kit due to the fact that we often cut in less than optimal conditions. That's the bottom line!!

    I'm going to try to return the kit to my dealer. The mulch kit is a great accessory but impractical for my daily commercial use. If it simply was just a 5 minute job to install it or take it off, that might would be another story, but it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to install and there's no way that's practical on a day-to-day basis.

    Thanks again!

  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I run the 52" hp and have the mulch kit already installed on it. The mulch kit on my 36" has not been off in 2 yrs. It is the nature of the spring that you get build up and wet grass stuck to the bottom of the mower deck. As the season get farther along, the less problems you have.

    If I have clumping due to wet mornings I simply raise the deck and go over the clumps really fast and eliminate the problem. If you want the bagged look without bagging this is just part of it when its wet out. The trade off to me is well worth the effort. I mow bermuda and zoysia and its awesome to have no clipping sitting on top turning brown. The customers will swear the lawn was bagged.
  7. troberts

    troberts LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 45

    O.K., I have a question... For Exmark or anyone.

    I have a Metro 48 gear with the mulch kit installed. I love the mulch kit and the bagged look, and wouldn't remove it for anything. However, this is my first spring with the mower (bought late season last year), and I'm experiencing a lot of grass build up under the deck. I'm sometimes compelled to stop and scrap the deck half way through the mow.

    Any way to prevent this, or minimize it?

    Even with this issue, I still wouldn't remove the kit for anything!!! I've already had to plow through some really high (and thick) grass, and this things laughs all the way through it.... And hardly a blade left on the lawn (maybe because it's all stuck under the deck).

    Again, any way to prevent or minimze it?


  8. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    There are several things you can do to reduce it but during the spring if you cutting northern grasses you won't eliminate it.

    There are some products on the market that you can spray on your deck daily that will help on a limited basis. One such product we've received mixed reviews on in Mower-EZ. Most cutters who have tired it say it works pretty well for the first few lawns of the day. Since they are generally the lawns that will pack the deck quickest this might be a good investment.

    Another option is to wire brush and repaint the underside of the deck over the winter. Granted the paint won't last all summer but it will help in the spring. Usually quality spray paint with a rust inhibitor will work reasonably well.

    Another option is to wire brush the deck and use a specialty paint. Many of the ag manufacturers recommend a product that is labeled under a few different names. One is "slick plate". This is a paint that I believe has Teflon or another type of "stick resistant" component. In the ag industry they'll use it on seeders, grain trailers etc. anything that they don't want to plug up and slow down production. It's not cheap but we have gotten a few good reports on it from other landscapers. We also tried it a few years back ourselves and did not get the performance we in our cutting conditions. All I can say is try it for yourself and see what you think.


  9. rixtag

    rixtag LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lehi Ut
    Messages: 280

    Ace, I completely understand your situation. I too felt the same way as you when I first started using the mulch kit. I was about ready to throw it out. THEN, May rolled around and I will not go back to bagging. EVER. I was very frustrated with the clumping and the 2x cutting etc. I realized the second season that, like Terry said, the spring sucks as far as mulching bluegrass goes. It was worth the 2+ hours to install mine( had to drill all holes, cut of baffle etc as mine was too old).
    I will never bag again. I do sometimes raise up the deck and go over the problem areas again, but it still takes less time than stopping, dumping the bag, taking the time to empty the truck, finding an alternate dump site because the first one is closed, blah blah blah.

    You might double check your blade sharpness, deck rake and side leveling. I would also make sure that my blade drive belt is adjusted properly.

    To bag or not to bag, for me, there is no question. Bag the baggin'.

    Give it enough time to work after the heat goes up a little.

  10. riden2low

    riden2low LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 31

    Another thing is to try and teach your customers the importance of mulching. One it recycles the grass. Two, it feeds the grass so there is less fertilizer to be used. Three, it lays a thin layer of composted grass at the base of the roots and that means less watering.
    I have been mulching for 5 years now with the XMark Viking and had really no complaints once I have had the customer understanding the importance of mulching.

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