Walker vs John Deere vs Hustler.... quality of mulching

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by BPS##, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    Next year I HAVE TO add another mower.
    Its for large apartment mowing and I can get by with mulching.

    I know the quality of a walker mulch deck but am leaning towards the John Deere because they have the MOD deck that switches from mulch to side discharge with the flick of a lever.

    Any one have experience with the 3 brands I've mentioned competing side by side as to see whose deck does the best job?

    I'm thinking of the 54'' deck with Kawi powerhouse (John Deere)
    I'm sure Hustler offers a similar set up.
    Ground speed is not as important as the quality of cut.

    thanks for ya'lls opinions.
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I doing residental with a 42" deere.
    I wish it had a 48" to get closer to things and get done faster.

    So my question is why not get a 60"?

    I have not used they other brands so can't advise on that.
  3. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I have a small fleet of JD Z960a's with 60 inch decks about evenly split with MOD and without. We mulch everything in the wide open areas, and tend not to bag. We have the stripe kit as the company principal likes the lawns to be cut into a pattern.

    If I had to order the machines again, I would not get the MOD. It is too much of a compromise over the standard deck. Not bagging, and not discharging often, the cleanup is the main issue. From a thread a few down, I've mentioned the lengths I've gone to keep the decks clean. The non-MOD decks are cleaner over the long term. My guys work really hard to get fairway quality out of the lawns in our office parks, and the Deere machine works fantastic.

    It is not a cut quality issue with either deck, it is a maintenance issue only. Super sharp blades make a big difference, for us that means sharp blades daily. The sharper the blades the less cleanup on the deck.

    Every crew has a 960a with a 60 inch deck, a Walker MTL-31 with a 48 inch ML deck and a Wright Stander with a 32" deck right on the truck. Some crews prefer to run the Walker and JD together, others run the JD and Wright as a combo. The three machines together, in any combination, make for a fantastic look on the properties.

    If I weren't converting to propane next season, I would be ordering new 960a's most likely, but right now, it appears we're going back to Toro. What works for me in my specific area may not work well for you tough with the differences in weather and grass species. I hope you can get advice from someone closer to your specific climate and terrain.

    Good luck.
  4. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    I'll try to answer some of the questions.

    The reason for the 54 over the 60 is that the wider the deck the less uniform grass cut when you have rolling landscape or high/low spots.
    The wider the deck the higher you have to cut to avoid scalping.

    Thunderthud let me clarify.... your problem with the mod deck is the cleaning not quality of finished look?

    We have mostly kentucky blue grasses and most of the time our dews aren't heavy.
    Most of the time we don't have to cut in the rain either.

    I understand the need to keep blades sharp.
    I sharpen nearly every day any way. I normally have very little brown on the tips of my
    grass the following week when I go back.

    You mentioned the stripe kit...... do you have any pics with/without on the John Deere?
  5. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I have no objections to the cut quality of either Deere deck, the MOD and the 7-Iron PRO deck. They both cut well when mulching.We have primarily Kentucky Bluegrass in our properties as well. The MOD has some strange baffle configuration that builds up crap worse than the standard deck. It is purely a cleanup issue. I would have thought the decks were the same except for the mechanism, but at least on ours, they are not. The cut is equal to the non-MOD deck. In fact, I'd hazard to say it is one of the best cuts we've had.

    I'll see if I can dig up a picture of the stripe kit. If I don't have one, I'll ask our mechanic to grab some pictures when he does the blade swap tomorrow night.

    Buy the suspension seat. The first mower we bought didn't have it. The rest of them had it from the factory. We retrofitted it to the first unit because the ride without it is punishing. With it, my guys say it is a good as the Toro's we had previously.
  6. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    Thanks for the tips.

    I still think I'm going to give the MOD deck a try.
    I really like the idea of being able to switch from side discharge to mulch so easy.
    I do some rough area mowing where there is no need to mulch and it'll make mowing faster in tall grass if I don't have to mulch all of that material.
    And no doubt about it our conditions are going to be much drier most of the time than states that have high humidity.

    I plan on getting the suspension seat. Thanks for the heads up.
    I also run my tires down around 8 to 10 lbs, makes a huge difference on the ride with that.

    As for the stripe kit.... I've seen it on JD's website, I was meaning mowing photos with/without.
    I'd like to see the difference it makes in the look.

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