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?