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ZTR's - better cut quality or just faster?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mschlee, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. IS500Z

    IS500Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    Although you are moving away from mulching you might find that a commercial mower mulches better than a residential tractor as well. My neighbor mows with a 300 series JD lawn tractor, but has given up on mulching as he has problems similar to what you described. My Scag will mulch high wet grass and make the lawn looked like it was bagged. BTW your mulching system should also have had isolation baffles installed around the blades - this might have contributed to your problems.
  2. mschlee

    mschlee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    thanks all. i'll cut in another day or so (when i get some length to tell the difference).

    just out of curiosity, given my craftsman mower has a 24 hp engine, i would assume comparable tip speed? obviously unable to assess (rpm/torque/gearing/etc come into play) but my assumption would be based on the fact that the engine has the power, and the forward speed is slower than ztr (so possibly lower power usage for forward movement)

    i of course know nothing about the design specifics so am taking an uneducated guess.

  3. Bigfish8

    Bigfish8 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Unfortunately, no the blade tip speed of a lawn tractor mower does not come close to the blade tip speed produced by a commercial ZTR. The tip speeds of a commercial ZTR approach 18,000 rpms. When you engage the PTO on a ZTR you will immediately hear the difference in blade rpms.
  4. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,745

    horse power ratings now days are extremely, how do you say..... full of BS. If you get reading you will find several lawsuits of manufacturers misrepresenting or how they reach their HP rating. I have a few old IH Cub cadets with 10/12 HP cast iron Kohler engines that can outwork "modern" 20 HP machines.

    Also you'll notice that on commercial blades most of the time they are much thicker and wider than anything you'll find on a residential machine.
  5. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,168

    No better cut quality, zero turn mowers just provide better maneuverability and a faster cutting time.
  6. mschlee

    mschlee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    so i did the torture test saturday. i had let the grass grow for a week and a half (thus my slow reply here) and mowed in the morning so it was fairly wet as well - so long wet grass. the only change was that i removed the mulching plug per the advice given. huge difference. no big clumps on the lawn and cuts seemed more even. needless to say i'm very pleased.

    one thing that was an issue was that the chute (open slot on the side of deck) kept getting plugged up with wet grass clippings so i had to keep shutting down and cleaning it out. it only took a second to reach down and remove it but i'd like to avoid it if possible.

    do you think changing blades would help alleviate the clogging? i thought maybe it was caused because the gator blades were pushing up rather than out? if you think a blade change would make a difference, could you recommend a good set?

    thanks all for the help. the results thus far are very promising.

    thanks again
  7. Dave does lawns

    Dave does lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 257

    I think you said your cutting 1.5" of wet grass.? If that's the case the only option I see is to either bag the lawn or live with clumps.

    You could also make 2 passes, taking off .75" each pass, in different directions.

    I bet 2 full speed passes, cutting less grass would be faster then 1 pass jamming chute and plugging deck. I personally measure grass before I fire mower up. If I am cutting any more then 1" I make a decision bag or 2 passes.
  8. mschlee

    mschlee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    thanks. any thoughts on good non mulching blades?
  9. mschlee

    mschlee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    when buying new blades should i get high lift or standard? which type will eject the cut grass better so it does not accumulate around the chute?
  10. Dave does lawns

    Dave does lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 257

    I use high lift, and only cut so much off per pass.

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