SWZ 48 - High stalk grass stringers

Matt Hyatt

LawnSite Member
Hi,

I have a bit of a dilema, I'm using my older Scag 48 with Advantage deck, as a brushog a few times a year (northern california, some pasture type grass - a few hilly acres), and weekly just around my irrigated area - but in a finish more setting.

My turf is creeping red in some parts, and thick yarrow in others, by the way (for the finish mower part), and the pasture grass that gets check high if you don't cut it, and grows a foot a week for 2 months in the spring.

My main issue is that I would prefer to cut the higher, (but thinner density, thicker stalk) grass, just once or twice a year, but if it gets too high, the deck/castors just knock it down, so I'm having to mow it 6x or more times a year just to stay on top of it. which has a small benefit of mulching the grass so it decomposes faster for the next time the fire comes etc.

My setup:

4 spacers under castors
18 inch tires
four1/4 spacers under deck and one above
deck in highest position
gator blades (kinda dull)
mulch plate (tried with off and didn't seem to help)
Baffle - need to get manual to determine which position, but looks to be 5/16" from the top.

I have the deck maxed out high and with bigger tires to get me more clearance over the rocks and it's working fine.

What trips me out is that my fathers 25hp 60 inch kubota 0 turn, he can plow over the same kind of grass and he don't knock any over without cutting it. With the deck at 4 inches, or maxed at 5.25, its the same.

So I'd like to optimize my mower to be able to cut the stalky, wheat type grass, when it's like 2 feet tall (but not thick). I know the mower wasn't designed for this, but you can't get a tractor in here to pull a hog, and I don't want 2 mowers (like a 36 inch walk behind hog).

I'm seeing that the baffle should be at highest position, or complete off, to cut stalks - is that correct and why?

what about blade height? I noticed with the spacers all on the bottom (blades lowest), there was more suction, but I'm 1 up from that, and noticed suction isn't that good. Is that correct, the lower the blades in the deck, the more suction?

I don't really want to move a 1/2" spacer up top on the castor, and I haven't checked pitch yet, but I'm assuming it's not correct since I"m maxed high on castors, and rear wheels are about 1/2" higher off the ground and deck is maxed high.

So, can someone explain what the ideal setup is? for cutting high thick bladed grass that is patchy.

blade spacer
castor spacer
baffle
blade type
mulch plate off or on

and then is that going to suck on my thick finish mowing? If I only had to field mow twice, I would deal with changing blade/castor etc height.

Thanks a lot!
 
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Matt Hyatt

LawnSite Member
I just looked under my mower - I don't have adjustable baffles I think. I surely don't have the 3 holes/ positions like mentioned on scags website for the velocity deck. But their website says the advantage has baffles. So i'm not sure what Ihave.
 
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Matt Hyatt

LawnSite Member
Ok, I uploaded a few pics of under the deck:

Can anyone tell me if there is a baffle, and what setting it's in?

Scag told me, when I read him the SN off the pumps, that this was a 36 inch mower, and since I bought used, I can't verify if someone swapped decks. But the confusing part is that scag only states that the advantage deck goes up to 36 inches. Maybe someone slapped an advantage sticker on my deck cover LOL?

Are these gator blades, do you know which ones?

I measures my pitch, and at 4 spacers under, it was slightly backwards, and it took me putting 2 spacers below and 2 above to get to a 5mm pitch (front lower than rear). Which is too low as a preference, deck scrapes, and like grass higher.

Had two 1/4" spacers above deck and three below, and brought 2 more up top, so only have one spacer below deck now, to offset the 2 castor wheel spacer change. so my blades are 1/2 inch lower than before, deck is 1 inch lower.

It cuts my turf better, but does horrible on the tall stringers. In the image with the weeds on the left of my driveway, I took a full 48" path down that side, and it only cut like 60% of the weeds. It the stalk/sprouts of the broadlead that are still sticking up. but it did a killer job on my fescue.

It seems like higher deck, lower blade height, does better on sucking up the stringy grass/weeds, and lower deck (and correct pitch) and higher blades, does better on thicker turf. Is that correct? Given my baffle? setup and blades?

I don't mind changing the castor spacers when going from field/weeds to turf, but having to change the blade spacers every time is a pain. so I'm wondering if there is any setup advice you can give me. Different blades, baffle, what deck do I really have? I've got the 451 kawa, 15hp. mower seems to be well take care of.

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Matt Hyatt

LawnSite Member
Also, does running a mulch plate make cutting the tall field grass worse? I like minimizing the dust and rocks shooting out, but I can't find any info on what is the best setup for the high grass. The field grass and weeds never is wet when I mow and isn't dense, so the mulching part isn't a problem, but I don't know about the airflow.
 
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Matt Hyatt

LawnSite Member
Yea I get that, but I don't really care since I'm cutting weeds, and it was my first spring with this mower so we had our share of rocks and logs etc. Unless sharp blades have an effect on vacuum???
 

dishboy

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
zone 6
Yea I get that, but I don't really care since I'm cutting weeds, and it was my first spring with this mower so we had our share of rocks and logs etc. Unless sharp blades have an effect on vacuum???
Loose the gator blade and try the rolled foil or notched H/L
 
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Matt Hyatt

LawnSite Member
Well since no one seemed to be able to help (except dishboy), I got Scag on the phone and showed them the pics in the thread. They said it was a 2003 deck with a 2001 mower, and a mulching baffle.

They recommended at least 3 spacers above blades (concurs with my statement above), and to try full on HL, like dishboy, and then if that's not enough, ditch the mulching baffle. and if I don't like the results, get a custom cut baffle and try that all the way up.
 

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