Standard Blades vs. Gator Blades vs. Mulch Kit - A review
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Thread: Standard Blades vs. Gator Blades vs. Mulch Kit - A review

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    Standard Blades vs. Gator Blades vs. Mulch Kit - A review

    I have a 2520 with a 62D deck. I've been using it to cut the grass at my house (1 acre, flat and level) for the full three years I've owned the machine, and I bought the deck with the mulch kit installed. Up until early June of this year, I had only ever cut with the mulching kit and the original mulching blades, and was happy with its operation. Until...

    I rubbed the right side of the deck against a firewood log that was at the edge of a stack of logs and the mulch plug on that side of the deck ended up contacting the cutting blade. The plug was cut and no longer held its shape, and this caused the top of the blade on that side to be able to contact the underside of the plug above it.

    I removed the mulch kit and installed the original "regular" blades and finished cutting the 1/4 acre of grass that was left at that point.

    In the last 14 years, I have owned two different homes for about 11 years in total. And, at both of those properties, I cut the lawn using mulching equipment only. I have always been happy with the results - smooth cut, extremely fine clippings that go right back into the soil, and no raking required. When fall comes, I change nothing and still don't rake.

    When I pulled the mulch kit from the deck and swapped back to standard blades, I was very disappointed in the size of the clippings that were left behind and realized that raking was imperative. So, kept going over the area until I had made one rather large windrow of clippings and raked that up.

    I immediately started looking for how I could get the mulch kit back up and running and wasn't finding any information regarding parts (it seemed that replacing the whole kit was the only option, and a pricey one at that). So, I did a little research into the Gator Blades and decided to pick up a set of the newest heavy duty ones.

    The Gator Blades are described as being able to provide a mulch like cut, but are NOT intended for use with a mulching kit. So, in essence, I would still get the side discharge process but should expect very fine clippings. Having had a chance to now use all three different setups, here are my personal thoughts:

    - Standard Blades: If you don't know any better, they're fine. Even, smooth cut and smooth overall operation. Be prepared to bag or rake, though, unless you are only cutting 1/2" or less of the grass.

    - Gator Blades: Produce a noticeably finer clipping compared to the Standard Blades, and will "semi-mulch" longer cuts. You will still need to bag or rake, however, unless you're cutting less than about 3/4"-1".

    - Mulching Kit: Finest of all cuts, consistent length regardless of how much length is being cut. In taller or wet grass, the clippings will clump up a bit, and you may need to go back over the area a couple of times after it has dried out.

    The mulching kit seems to be the "loudest" of all of the setups, but it also creates the absolute least amount of dust if the ground is drier and not completely covered in dense grass. Additionally, being able to keep the side discharge chute in the up position allows for more accuracy of cut along the right edge if you're trimming up close on that side. For me, I will mulch always. If, for some reason, I can't... I will wait until I can.

    Be careful not to run the deck against anything while cutting, though, or your mulch kit will likely suffer the same demise that mine did.

    I've mowed twice with the Gator Blades, including the time I cut only 1/4 of my lawn. They're coming off this weekend and I'm putting the mulch kit back on (I found out that the plastic plugs are available individually and bought only the one that I had damaged for about 1/3 the cost of the whole kit).

    Any interested in a set of Gator Blades for a 62D?
    LeoC4, BigJim55, TJR345 and 2 others like this.
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    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    Jester_2320's Avatar
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    where were you in May when I bought my first set???

    Glad you were able to find the plugs and get back to the quality and clean cut you have been looking for.

    I am happy with my gator blades over the standard ones as they would make terrible windrows during the spring grow season. I have always kept the deflector chute up and with the gator blades my windrows have gone away. I have about 2 acres to mow so raking is not an option.

    maybe.......... I need a second set.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester_2320 View Post
    where were you in May when I bought my first set???

    Glad you were able to find the plugs and get back to the quality and clean cut you have been looking for.

    I am happy with my gator blades over the standard ones as they would make terrible windrows during the spring grow season. I have always kept the deflector chute up and with the gator blades my windrows have gone away. I have about 2 acres to mow so raking is not an option.

    maybe.......... I need a second set.
    I have kids that run around in the yard, and dogs too. Leaving clippings means tracking them back into the house for at least the next couple of days in the mornings when taking the dogs out (dew). So, while the Gator Blades are definitely -better- than the Standard Blades, my preference is still completely on the mulch camp.

    I occasionally have to go to RI for work. If you decide you're interested, and I'm headed there (no plans for another month at least), I'd be happy to meet up if you wanted to have a second set. Send a PM with an offer if you're interested.
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    cheesetrain's Avatar
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    The mulch baffles and plug on the right side of the deck on my 1025r is steel. Are the ones on yours as well? We run the mulch kit all the time except for a few times after the gardens planted. The clippings help keep the weeds done and moisture in.


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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesetrain View Post
    The mulch baffles and plug on the right side of the deck on my 1025r is steel. Are the ones on yours as well? We run the mulch kit all the time except for a few times after the gardens planted. The clippings help keep the weeds done and moisture in.
    All of the inserts and such on this kit are plastic. And WAY overpriced plastic at that.
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    cheesetrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    All of the inserts and such on this kit are plastic. And WAY overpriced plastic at that.
    I'd be replacing blades if one hit the metal baffles I've got. And the metal one is just as pricey as the plastic btw


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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    I found out that the plastic plugs are available individually and bought only the one that I had damaged for about 1/3 the cost of the whole kit.
    I'm surprised at the high cost of the plastic plugs available through the dealer. A complete mulching kit (P/N BM21890; John Deere 62C, 62D & 62X Mulching Kit BM21890) runs $230 and includes 3 blades (which I don't need). If I just want the plastic plugs (2 pieces) the dealer wants $200 + mounting hardware. Where did you find the plugs for less?
    John Deere 2720 with 200CX Loader and 62D Belly Mower
    Attachments: Frontier LR1060 Landscape Rake, John Deere 54" Front-Mounted Snowblower, Frontier RB 1060 Rear Blade, Frontier PM1001 Middlebuster, Howse DLHT168 Tandem Disc Harrow

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    I believe it was Green Farm Parts. I had to send them a message and have them find the link for me that pointed to the part I needed....
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    All of the inserts and such on this kit are plastic. And WAY overpriced plastic at that.
    I'm okay with the performance of the mulch kit but I don't like the way it fits. On my 48" deck the plastic baffles don't fit very tight and as a result grass clippings and debris gets trapped between the baffles and the steel deck. Removing the mulch kit to clean every other mow would be a royal pain.

    I'm concerned that all of the trapped debris will lead to rust and corrosion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    I'm okay with the performance of the mulch kit but I don't like the way it fits. On my 48" deck the plastic baffles don't fit very tight and as a result grass clippings and debris gets trapped between the baffles and the steel deck. Removing the mulch kit to clean every other mow would be a royal pain.

    I'm concerned that all of the trapped debris will lead to rust and corrosion.
    I can appreciate that. I seldom mow when the grass is wet, and the gaps are mostly filled now with dry debris. Haven't seen any signs of premature corrosion from this as of yet.
    ---

    2011 JD 2520 with 200cx loader, 61" materials bucket, and Artillian JDQA Pallet Forks (42" forks). 62D MMM, ballast box, turfs, and loaded rears.

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