Zero Turn Mower Pros and Cons of Mulching blades

Old 09-20-18, 04:45 AM
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Zero Turn Mower Pros and Cons of Mulching blades

I have a Gravely ZT 34 and love the mower. I decided to get the mulching attachment for it and I was surprised that the blades were not sharp when I bought the kit. Well anyway I put the kit and blades on and I have noticed I can't go as fast to cut the grass as I could go without the kit and I have to go over it twice some times 3 times to cut all the grass. Also going half speed I was wondering if anyone has any solutions why this is happening? I use to work for a lawn company up north and I can lay down some wicked stripes and we never had mulching kits on our mowers and are blades were sharpened daily.

Should I take the blades off and Sharpen them?
Old 09-20-18, 04:54 AM
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Sharpen 1 blade and test or check with the dealer.
Old 09-20-18, 04:59 AM
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All blades need to be sharp.

The "advantage" of mulching blades & block off / surround kit, is that is causes the grass to be lifted so it can be cut into smaller pieces.

The down side is if the grass is long it gets jammed up and can bog the mower down.

So the only real fix is to cut more often.

With my walk behind using the block off panel I have to mow every 4 days. With close off panel removed I can go a week,
Old 09-20-18, 05:08 AM
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I would guess they shipped the blades not being sharp to avoid liabilities but would have been nice to include a notice to that effect. I used to sharpen knives and had to give it up, too many people getting accidentally cut, surprise, surprise. But the world now looks for ANY chance to cash in on anything they can.

Old 09-20-18, 06:15 AM
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Thanks for the replies and looks like I will be jacking up the mower tonight so I can sharpen the blades.
Old 09-20-18, 11:27 AM
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I bought my Tor 52" rider about 25 years ago, added their recycler kit a couple of years into it, blade enclosures and higher sail blades, and could not be happier with it. But, along with the advantages, Marq nailed the downside. If the grass gets too tall, or is wet, it doesn't get sucked up like it needs to be, and performance is reduced. This time of year, here in Michigan anyway, it's harder to stay on it, because the days are getting significantly shorter, the evenings can be non-existent when I get caught up with a client, and the dew sticks around longer, sometimes all day. So sometimes you just have to accept the fact that things are not going to be perfect. As far as the blades, other than having a higher sail, or at least some brands do anyway, everything is the same as far as keeping them sharp. Our property is in the country, nice, but not manicured, and a lot of trees with branches always falling down, so I don't like a razor edge like some do because they knick quicker that way. I have also noticed with this setup that the blades need sharpening more often and the sails wear through more frequently, which I attribute to the suction factor that Marq mentioned lifting grass and weed stems as well as dirt and dust up and around the blades. I always have at least one extra set of blades sharpened and ready to go, and then save the ones I take off to sharpen whenever I want some fill-in work.
Old 09-22-18, 06:58 AM
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1. do you have mulching deck? If you do not, you wasting time and money. Mulching decks are deeper up comparing to regular decks, to create that clipping vortex circulating clippings inside, while they are being chopped by blades.
2. mulching blades are shaped different and have additional cutting edge
3. do sharpen them. If you have nice even flat surface without mole mounds and bumps, sharpen them to sharp angle, not to duller one when mowing junk lawn like mine.
4. you must mow more frequently and go slower, unfortunately. Allowing time for blades to work through.
5. grass has to be DRY.
6. you will have to clean deck inside after every mow. Every. Or, you will build up dam of wet grass stuck to underbelly that will do nothing less but choke your mower every time.
I start mowing with discharge chute and mowing blades and, around June, when it dries out and grass does not grow as fast, switch to mulching kit. I still mow every weekend, until maybe late July, when it all turns yellow, then it falls down to about once a month of mulching. I just put my cutting blades back on as rain season is back, grass gets green (juicy/wet) again, so no mulching.
Even with that, I opened my discharge chute as much as I could with Sawzall and modified chute cover to fit it and stay up higher for easier discharge.
Old 09-22-18, 07:13 AM
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You sure that the new blades weren't mounted upside down ?

If they're "Gator Blades", the toothed edge goes towards the rear and re-cuts the clippings after they've been severed from the grass plant.

PS: I've never sharpened blades while they're still attached to the machine !

Last edited by Vermont; 09-22-18 at 07:23 AM. Reason: Added PostScript

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