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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have a 54HC deck on a 2016 x739. As we prepare for spring here in America's Dairyland, I want to get ready to mow. Some questions:
  • What is the best/most durable striping solution for this deck? Is it the "brush" deck-mounted model from JD? The Big League Lawns roller? Other?
  • I mulch my lawn 100% of the time, so I'm planning to install G6 Gator Blades. Any concerns with that?
  • Given I'll run the mulching blades, do I need the mulching kit for the deck? If I install it, would I need to remove it before bagging leaves in the fall?
Thanks for the tips - anything else I should be considering?

781960
781959
 

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I thought that JD had an actual roller version available for the 54". If that's the case or if there is an aftermarket version, that's absolutely the route to go for the best stripping performance. The brushes will do the job, but nothing like actual weighed rollers.

I run the G5's year around, and they are great for everything. I don't see a reason why you would need to add the mulch kit simply to stripe, but you certainly can if you want. You just have to make sure the Gators don't interfere, as they will with the plastic plugs. Please note that while the Gators are advertised as Mulching Blades, that's kind of a stretch. They certainly chop things up smaller, but don't expect the same performance as a fully dedicated mulch kit.

Lastly, depending on what mulching kit you get, it must either be removed or opened to allow the discharge to be picked up by the Powerflow that sits on the right discharge. If the mulch kit blocks the discharge, you cannot bag. If the discharge is open, you can however run the Gators with the Powerflow, and it works very well.

Imho, if you are intent on mulching and bagging for fall, etc, I would recommend to go with the new Mulch Control kit. That allows you to turn the deck mulcher on and off without physically removing the kit. If Mulch Control fits your deck, that would be ideal for your requirements. I hope this helps.
 

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For years ran a 430/455/740 with earlier generation 60" decks. After being away from GT's for awhile we moved again, and last fall acquired an HC54. Haven't done any 'spring' mowing...but I was surprised at the lack of a discharge windrow when used last fall. Normally ran it with the discharge chute held up, same as was done with previous decks.

Anyway, might be worth trying it the way it is.

No mulch control kit installed on this one.
Sales guy mentioned that some add the mulch control kit just so the discharge can be stopped when pointed towards flower beds or other areas where clippings are not desirable.


edit: following to see what more experienced HC deck users are finding.
 

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Hi,

I have a 54HC deck on a 2016 x739. As we prepare for spring here in America's Dairyland, I want to get ready to mow. Some questions:
  • What is the best/most durable striping solution for this deck? Is it the "brush" deck-mounted model from JD? The Big League Lawns roller? Other?
  • I mulch my lawn 100% of the time, so I'm planning to install G6 Gator Blades. Any concerns with that?
  • Given I'll run the mulching blades, do I need the mulching kit for the deck? If I install it, would I need to remove it before bagging leaves in the fall?
Thanks for the tips - anything else I should be considering?

View attachment 781960 View attachment 781959
I know there are other posts that discuss mulching and the JD mulch kits and the pro's and con's of gator blades, with no real conclusion as to what works best for everybody. My experience with a x590 with JD mulch kit and JD mulch blades was unfavorable last spring. Using the mulch kit and even with side discharging, because of the baffles, my deck would load up with cut wet grass during each mowing and I had to scrape the underside of the deck after each mowing. It was horrible. I would take a minimum cut and mow slow and make sure the grass was as dry as possible and still the deck would load up. Flipping the switch and side discharging didn't' improve the situation. The situation improved as the summer heat came but still required scraping. I think that's just the natural thing with mulching. This year, I just installed Gator G-5 blades and removed the entire mulch system. I am going to see if there is any difference in the deck buildup and go from there. I would prefer to mulch and may just have to reinstall the kit and keep scraping the deck. I also bought a MoJack lift which makes scraping the deck much easier but I want to do the test anyway for piece of mind.
 

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I have a 54HC deck with the full time mulch kit installed with stock JD mulching blades.

Hands down the best mulching setup I've used. My honda push mower with it's quadra cut and polymer deck doesn't even come close.

Now I understand what I call a lawn is not what other people call a lawn so maybe I'm biased on the performance of the deck for the conditions at my house.

For me it doesn't matter what I run over with my deck, if it tall or short , wet or dry, or full of leaves. Everything just disapears into tiny little pieces. I took the side discharge chute right off the deck after mowing with it once. It's sat on a shelf collecting dust ever since.

Don't have any issues with clumping or build up under the deck. The oak leaves in the fall do a great job of scraping the underside of the deck clean every fall.

If you get the full time baffle kit the standard mulching blades will give the best results. Gator blades installed with mulching baffles just make a lot of noise and give sub standard results.
 

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Striping kit. When I worked on a professional sports field we used a combination of either a pvc pipe full of concrete or a drag mat for rotary mowers. Reel mowers didn’t need anything, obviously.
Blades. G6 I find do not work well for closed baffle deck. I think the intention of the design was to be used for open decks. Wavy blades are more common for the enclosed deck as they drive the material down. The g6 sails have slits to cut up the material finer, provide vacuum, and discharge velocity at the same time. I ran an operator controlled discharge chute on all my commercial mowers with g6 blades.
Cleaning the deck is absolutely normal maintenance on a mulcher. What people seem to not understand is you need to mow more frequently when mulching. When taking 1/2” to an inch off you should not have many issues. If you try mowing every week as society thinks is normal you’re gonna have problems. I love it when people stick high lift gator blades in a mulcher and don’t understand why grass is being sucked up and forced into the deck making a grass loaf.
 

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I thought that JD had an actual roller version available for the 54". If that's the case or if there is an aftermarket version, that's absolutely the route to go for the best stripping performance. The brushes will do the job, but nothing like actual weighed rollers.
Deere finally did come out with a roller stripping kit kit for the 54 & 60 inch HC decks They Had Them Previously for the 54 & 62inch decks On the Ultimate series
Vehicle Wheel Motor vehicle Plant Tractor


BUC10610 for 54inch deck $408.74

BUC10611 for 60inch deck $399.11

Whats funny the 60inch Kit cost less than the 54inch kit(y)
 
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@Sergeant - Too bad they don't make a version for the 48's. I've given thought to making one out of PVC too, but it's never gotten to the top of the list.

@bkeller - There isn't any one size fit all solution as the environmental and turf differences around the country are too varied. Its up to everyone to do a little testing to see what works best for them. I too had a mulcher on my last JD, and it did have a removeable grate on the 48", that I opened if the grass was too long or wet, or both. Worked good for many years. As mentioned elsewhere, with that set up I found the standard blades worked better than the mulching blades, but on that deck, the G5's worked the same or slightly better than the std blades. I also ran a 10% speed up pulley, which helped things.

The trick is, I have a thick lush one acre lawn here in the Chicago burbs, so I only mow in the afternoon when the grass is totally dry, and schedule my mowing around the weekly weather report, and of course the grass height. Only on the rarest of situations did I ever have to remove and clean the deck in the middle of the season. But I always made sure I didn't cut more than an inch or two at a time, so in some parts of the season I might have to cut every 4 days. Was it perfectly clean at the end of the season, absolutely not, but you can still get a good cut with some degree of build up. Only when the performance diminish did I drop the deck.

When I got the x540 w/48", the only mulching option they had was the plastic plug, which I wanted no part of. I opted to run the G5's full time and have been very pleased with that route. I also added a 10% speed up pulley as well. Again the Gators are not true mulchers, but they do chop stuff down smaller, and with the discharge chute removed, the discharge disburses well enough that the clippings are invisible from a distance, and disappear completely within a day. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts with the set up as the season starts. Just make sure the Gators are sharpened to spec. I've found a number of them nowhere near spec right out of the box, so check that. The break should be 1/64" which is .016" or roughly the thickness of a coated business card.
 

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@Sergeant - Too bad they don't make a version for the 48's. I've given thought to making one out of PVC too, but it's never gotten to the top of the list.

@bkeller - There isn't any one size fit all solution as the environmental and turf differences around the country are too varied. Its up to everyone to do a little testing to see what works best for them. I too had a mulcher on my last JD, and it did have a removeable grate on the 48", that I opened if the grass was too long or wet, or both. Worked good for many years. As mentioned elsewhere, with that set up I found the standard blades worked better than the mulching blades, but on that deck, the G5's worked the same or slightly better than the std blades. I also ran a 10% speed up pulley, which helped things.

The trick is, I have a thick lush one acre lawn here in the Chicago burbs, so I only mow in the afternoon when the grass is totally dry, and schedule my mowing around the weekly weather report, and of course the grass height. Only on the rarest of situations did I ever have to remove and clean the deck in the middle of the season. But I always made sure I didn't cut more than an inch or two at a time, so in some parts of the season I might have to cut every 4 days. Was it perfectly clean at the end of the season, absolutely not, but you can still get a good cut with some degree of build up. Only when the performance diminish did I drop the deck.

When I got the x540 w/48", the only mulching option they had was the plastic plug, which I wanted no part of. I opted to run the G5's full time and have been very pleased with that route. I also added a 10% speed up pulley as well. Again the Gators are not true mulchers, but they do chop stuff down smaller, and with the discharge chute removed, the discharge disburses well enough that the clippings are invisible from a distance, and disappear completely within a day. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts with the set up as the season starts. Just make sure the Gators are sharpened to spec. I've found a number of them nowhere near spec right out of the box, so check that. The break should be 1/64" which is .016" or roughly the thickness of a coated business card.
I am NW of you out near Rockford so our mowing conditions are very similar. I also tried to mulch my 1-acre at 3.5" or so and mow more often, in late afternoon taking 1/4-1/3 max of the grass but even then the deck ( especially the left side) would load up on the under side. I'm sure the baffles help with mulching but with the MOD kit installed the left blade is full time mulching. I have G-5s on now and I just re-sharpened them to spec. I am going to run for a couple of weeks with the entire mulch kit off and just side discharge with G-5 blades. Just to be clear....even with the MOD kit closed and using the JD or G-5 blades I always get a good cut, but the loading of the deck with grass has to effect the mulching in some way as it builds up. And with the loading of the underside of the deck, I am not redepositing the mulched grass to the lawn. I am curious on your 10% speed pulley. How did you calculate and find a speed pull? Did you have to change belts also? Is you 48" deck on your X540 a 48A deck. My rig is a 2019 X590w/48A deck......not sure it would take the same speed pulley or not.
 

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I have the full-time mulch kit on my 54HC and the cut is fantastic with the JD Mulch blades. I also agree it is as good or better than my Honda Quadra cut push mower. I mulch year-round except the first few cuts in the spring to try and pick up some of the weeds rather than spread them. I normally use my push mower for this. This year I have an X728 with a bagger I am trying to sell so been able to use that. The bagger gives better stripes than the mulching kit for sure. If you want to do fulltime mulch kit and pick up things in the fall you could always get a pull-behind lawn sweeper.

I have been considering the roller kit since they announced it. My only hangup is I have a drainage ditch at the front of my property I mow. With the regular wheels I can mow my diagonal stripes down and back out of the ditch I worry that the smaller outer wheels of the roller might dig into the ground so maybe the brush would be better.

Don't believe anyone on here has picked up the new roller kit yet and reported back.
 

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I am NW of you out near Rockford so our mowing conditions are very similar. I also tried to mulch my 1-acre at 3.5" or so and mow more often, in late afternoon taking 1/4-1/3 max of the grass but even then the deck ( especially the left side) would load up on the under side. I'm sure the baffles help with mulching but with the MOD kit installed the left blade is full time mulching. I have G-5s on now and I just re-sharpened them to spec. I am going to run for a couple of weeks with the entire mulch kit off and just side discharge with G-5 blades. Just to be clear....even with the MOD kit closed and using the JD or G-5 blades I always get a good cut, but the loading of the deck with grass has to effect the mulching in some way as it builds up. And with the loading of the underside of the deck, I am not redepositing the mulched grass to the lawn. I am curious on your 10% speed pulley. How did you calculate and find a speed pull? Did you have to change belts also? Is you 48" deck on your X540 a 48A deck. My rig is a 2019 X590w/48A deck......not sure it would take the same speed pulley or not.
Well howdy neighbor - I have the 48X Deck. Before that, the 48C. On speedup pulley's I selected based on calculated diameter. This was 7 years ago now, so I don't recall the exact part numbers I ended up with, but it's not that tough once you confirm the spec's of the existing pulley. It's a very easy mod once you round up what you need. My turf is very fine, so to get the best possible cut, have found over the years, the speed up with sharp, high lift blades work very well for me. I do know that from time to time, speed up pulley's are brought up here and on the sister site and perhaps someone has already scoped this out for your specific deck. You might save a little time with some searches. I will warn that you will probably run into a number of post from people bashing the mod for all sorts of crazy safety reasons. Imho, as long as you stick with no more than +10%, you'll be just fine. I've been running this way for 30+ years. I hope this helps a little?
 

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If you have a 3 point hitch, this is a great low cost option. I followed the instructions in the video and it was easy to put together. Results of the lawn strips are great and after a year it as proven to be very durable.
782079
 
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If you have a 3 point hitch, this is a great low cost option. I followed the instructions in the video and it was easy to put together. Results of the lawn strips are great and after a year it as proven to be very durable.
View attachment 782079
I had seen that video and made one of those pvc sand filled rollers. I fooled with it a little last year. I plan to lengthen the chain from the draw bar to the roller and find a better height to use for stripping. I tuned and leveled the deck and new blades so hope I get a nice finish with it this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Deere finally did come out with a roller stripping kit kit for the 54 & 60 inch HC decks They Had Them Previously for the 54 & 62inch decks On the Ultimate series
View attachment 781980

BUC10610 for 54inch deck $408.74

BUC10611 for 60inch deck $399.11

Whats funny the 60inch Kit cost less than the 54inch kit(y)

Thanks. Man, they're pretty proud of this one. Since most of my responses here were about the mulching solution, I think I'll start a thread about this specific striper. Looks new
 

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You'll find plenty of discussion about stripping kits already had and pretty recent. I have the same setup as you just a newer model year. I bag my clipping sand use the brushes. They do a great job. You'll see a roller kit in the previous discussions. I think that may be superior but not worth changing out for the already installed brush kit for me.
 

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Deere finally did come out with a roller stripping kit kit for the 54 & 60 inch HC decks They Had Them Previously for the 54 & 62inch decks On the Ultimate series
View attachment 781980

BUC10610 for 54inch deck $408.74

BUC10611 for 60inch deck $399.11

Whats funny the 60inch Kit cost less than the 54inch kit(y)
Do NOT buy this roller! It is a nightmare to install and remove etc and the instructions are terrible. Even the installer and Deere hadn’t a clue how to install it and your on your own with it and they didn’t want to refund me for it!
I eventually got the Big League Lawn Roller. While it’s good and does the job and much easier to use, and I think cheaper, it’s not perfect, like your grass needs to be deep green with iron to get a decent result and you almost need to roll twice, it’s like a special occasion type thing, but overall I’m happy with it and it’s easy to install, EASY!

I also have the G6 blades, the mulch kit, bagger etx
I just installed the G6 today when I stumbled upon this thread
 
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