Mulching Problems

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coyotekid, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    I'm having trouble with a couple of my accounts in regard to the quality of the cut.

    I'm running a Gravely 252Z and a Grasshopper 928D 61", both with factory mulch kits installed.

    I keep my blades sharp, but it seems that since the grass is growing so dang fast right now, I'm just leaving too many clippings behind on a few lawns where the turf is really thick grass.

    One of my lawns in particular seems to give me fits with the grass "matting" up and then causing yellowed grass because the "mats" don't decompose and let any sunlight in.

    I'm cutting no shorter than 3", and I usually go 3.5". Up in my area, we have mainly bluegrass and fescue for most turfgrass areas.

    This is long, but basically my biggest problem is too many clippings, even though the clippings are chopped up finely.

    I've gone to 5 day rotations because we're having unusually hot weather with some actual moisture go with it! Even at 5 day rotations, I'm still having problems...can anybody offer suggestions?
  2. TriplePLandscaping

    TriplePLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    the only thing i can suggest is double cutting, start at a higher setting maybe 3.75 or 4 so you get rid of most clippings then drop to 3.5 for a cleaner cut.

    M RASCOE&SONS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,475

    the grass is growing so quick this time of year you might want to try running doubles or you might have to double cut .
  4. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Well, I am double-cutting somewhat, but it's absolutely killing me on operating costs.

    It's not uncommon at all for me to burn $80 in fuel per day on the size of lawns we do and the distances between accounts.

    Things are way more spread out up here--I travel roughly 250 miles per week just for my maintenance accounts. Supply runs and personal use are on top of that--that's just the norm for rural Montana though!

    The reason I went to 5 day rotations was to eliminate a lot of the double cutting, but it's only helped somewhat.
  5. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Oh yeah, and can someone help me out on running double blades? Isn't it hard on the mower spindles?

    I would imagine an "X" configuration with a washer or something is what most guys do?
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    For me, double-cut is standard until it slows down, my truck gets 300 miles / week put on and I hardly consume 33 gallons of fuel the entire week, that's 20 for the truck and 10 for the mowers, with the odd gallon or two for the 2-cyclers.

    Then again, I also back off the throttle on the Wb as far as I can until it is still at top rpm but no longer WOT. If I have to reduce speed for some time (like due to inclines), I also reduce rpm's - No sense in Wotting around in 2nd gear when 1/2 throttle cuts just as nice, I run my mower on 5 gallons all day with fuel to spare, that's with a 15hp Kohler and the reason I don't do Z's.
    On the 2-cyclers, I only use as much throttle as I have to in order to get the job done, anywhere from barely above idle to 1/2 throttle is all too common, one tank on the weedeater lasts me most of the day. Yeah, full throttle on a weedeater lasts hardly an hour, you don't have to tell me.
  7. coyotekid

    coyotekid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Well Topsites, I appreciate the info...but I'm not sure what you're telling me. Are you saying I'm burning too much fuel?

    LOL...1/2 throttle just literally won't "cut" it in my business. A walk-behind would be a good way for me to go bankrupt.

    I routinely have to slow down even with my 28 horse Kubota diesel on the Grasshopper because she's working too hard and too much black smoke is pouring out the stack. And yes, I'm quite familiar with diesels, and there is nothing mechanically unsound with the engine. The grass is just that thick and tall after only 5 days.

    Myself and one employee will burn roughly 5 gallons of pre-mix per week, 20 gallons of unleaded, 15 gallons of red-dye #2, and 35 gallons of clear #2.
  8. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,163

    cut it twice at the same height, somehow, when i go faster, i get less clumping AND i get done faster, weird, and the second cut can usually be done at a faster speed.
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I for one know what you are talking about as I have been mulching with mulch kits in all conditions for years.

    But help me define a single term "matting up"?

    I see this in two defined forms... one being matted clumps/wads/turds of grass stuck together laying on top of the grass. When left, this causes yellowing just as it would if something sat on the lawn several days..

    The second form being a mat of perfectly chopped and distributed clippings that 'build' up on top of the ground down inside the grass around the bases of the plants, causing a smoothering effect before they break down and settle out.

    So which is it?
  10. Mowgli

    Mowgli LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    soorry wrong post

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