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Discussion Starter #1
I am mowing a bunch of grass 2 1/2 acre two times a week in the spring early summer . I tried a vacuum it did a great job but cost a lot to keep it running . I used the Vacuum every other week and really liked the job it did but to many problems with it .

I am thinking about a Mulching kit the only thing I have not tried . I have a X-758 60 inch HC deck and need something a little in the summer and a lot in the fall . I have a lot of trees big trees the vacuum I used would need dumped 15/16 times a lot of work for an old man .
Having never used a mulch kit will it keep the lawn clean looking do I need to mow only when grass is real dry . Also can I use it every week or every two week and how hard to use it one week and not the next what do you need to remove to just mow .
 

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If the mulch kit is like most of them you are not going to want to remove it and put it back from week to week. The easiest way to install them is to remove the deck, flip the deck up and put in the brackets. The mulch kit also uses different blades but I guess you could use them for normal cutting. I guess if you have a drive over deck it might not be that bad to remove it to change back and forth but I don't have one of those so it would be a big pain.

I will let other chime in for how well they work. The biggest comment I think I have read is that you will need to reduce your speed when mulching. So it might take you longer to do your yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Time is something I have a lot of I already mow slow now . So I guess I can not just go from Mulch to mow without removing the mulch kit ?
 

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If the mulch kit is like most of them you are not going to want to remove it and put it back from week to week. The easiest way to install them is to remove the deck, flip the deck up and put in the brackets. The mulch kit also uses different blades but I guess you could use them for normal cutting. I guess if you have a drive over deck it might not be that bad to remove it to change back and forth but I don't have one of those so it would be a big pain.

I will let other chime in for how well they work. The biggest comment I think I have read is that you will need to reduce your speed when mulching. So it might take you longer to do your yard.
# ADDED after reading other comments: My mower's top speed is 4.5mph and the deck is only 42" -- it appears I'm probably out of my league on this one! Maybe the info will be useful to someone else so I'll leave it here. #

My X350 is much less powerful than his X758 (although with only a 42" deck) and it handles both mulching and discharge "at speed" with no problems as long as the grass isn't really wet. I also use it to mulch "moderate" leaves (you don't want to completely bury the grass with mulch). The "Accel" deck has mulching blades and a top lever to open/close the side discharge as needed. It works very well year round with no seasonal changes. I don't know if a "mulch on demand" kit is available for your deck, though .
 

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My X350 is much less powerful than his X758 (although with only a 42" deck) and it handles both mulching and discharge "at speed" with no problems as long as the grass isn't really wet. I also use it to mulch "moderate" leaves (you don't want to completely bury the grass with mulch). The "Accel" deck has mulching blades and a top lever to open/close the side discharge as needed. It works very well year round no seasonal changes.
Define mulch. I "mulch" at speed with my Gator G6 blades doing side discharge with my Z950R. But that really isn't mulching like what the OP is talking about. Well I guess that is an important thing to define. Mulching can mean a few different things to different people. Some of these versions work better than others.

1. Just running a mulching blade with regular side discharge or possibly an aftermarket device that blocks the discharge.

2. A deck specifically designed to go back and forth. I want to say it is called Mulch Control on the X Series. They call it Mulch On Demand on the big Z9xx machines. I don't know about Mulch Control but the Mulch on Demand which is similar doesn't get very good reviews so I avoided that deck. There is no way to convert to it other than buying another complete deck. Most of the reviews were from people mowing commercially since that is where most Z9xx machines are used. When cutting like that you can't pick and choose a dry vs wet day. Complaints were mainly around clumping.

3. A kit with baffles and mulching blades that installs under a standard deck.

Since the OP is taking about a Mulching Kit I assume he is talking about this. I don't know what kit he needs but here is an example of one that would fit my ZTrak with the standard (not MOD) deck. What the OP is looking at is something along the same lines.

https://www.greenpartstore.com/John-Deere-60-inch-Mulching-Kit-Fits-7-Iron-7-Iron-II-Decks-TCB10953.html

It is the baffles that have to be installed and you might be able to get them in there and remove them with the deck on the machine but it would be easier to remove the deck. The time saved in leaving the deck on would probably be lost rolling around on the ground. So if he has a drive over deck I would pull the deck. I don't have one so I would be rolling around on the ground with either of my machines to either pull the deck or trying to put the baffles on.

At speed is another thing that is kind of hard to define. Top speed on my X585 is 8MPH the Z950R 12MPH. The ZTrak has much higher spindle speeds and can cut "at speed" much faster than the X. In general the dryer the conditions the better for mulching. Another thing is to cut more often. If the grass gets too long it won't mulch well. That is another variable that will impact cut speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So far it is not sounding Good . My yard is soft and wet the grass grows fast and I mow at three inches .
It is looking like a mulching kit is not going to work for me .

Two years ago I bought the three bagger power flow for my mower . When it ran it did a very nice job but it was a problem child from day one . The first year it was in the dealers shop a bunch all silly stuff The three bags filled up so fast I could not keep up . Last year I was afraid to use it much as it cost me to much to keep it working . The power Flow made the deck heavy on one side so I had to run the gage wheel on the ground all the time or it cut low . It was a very poor option for cost of it .

I do Thank You People I guess I do not need the mulch kit .
 

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So far it is not sounding Good . My yard is soft and wet the grass grows fast and I mow at three inches .
It is looking like a mulching kit is not going to work for me .

Two years ago I bought the three bagger power flow for my mower . When it ran it did a very nice job but it was a problem child from day one . The first year it was in the dealers shop a bunch all silly stuff The three bags filled up so fast I could not keep up . Last year I was afraid to use it much as it cost me to much to keep it working . The power Flow made the deck heavy on one side so I had to run the gage wheel on the ground all the time or it cut low . It was a very poor option for cost of it .

I do Thank You People I guess I do not need the mulch kit .
I wouldn't rule it out yet. Wait to see if you get more responses of people who have used the mulch kit. Like I said I haven't ever added one to my deck. I have seen the holes in the deck where they install and thought about it, but I don't want to mess with removing the baffles when I switch to leaf collection. The Z with Gator G6 blades does a really good job so I am fine with it.

As I mentioned there are three different thoughts that come to my mind at least when I think mulching as outlined above. Option 2 isn't really an option for you as it is a complete deck replacement. Option 1 is what I have always done. I don't get clumping but my current mower is quite a bit different than yours. Compared to my X585 which is closer to your machine, the Z really casts out the clippings really far. As I have said I have never done Option 3 which is the one you are considering.

Where I was talking about the clumping and such with longer wet grass is more in that Option 2 Mulch On Demand deck which is an optional deck for a ZTrak. I have noticed that they have something along the lines of this called Mulch Control for the new X Series. I don't know how good of a job they do or if they suffer the same issues as the MOD deck. I think the problem with the MOD is that while it has baffles, there are doors that open and close between the blades. If you flip the lever to side discharge the doors open, flip to mulch and they close. However if you look at the baffles on the mulch kit like what you are looking at, they are curved to hug the edge of the spinning blades. This way the clippings are sucked up into this chamber and chopped over and over before they drop down. I don't think the MOD deck has this tight of a chamber so clippings get off to the side and clump up. Never ran a MOD Deck because of the poor reviews but I have seen lots of photos of the clumping. However they were from guys doing commercial mowing. They may have too many jobs to be able to not cut grass because it just rained that morning. That may not be the case with you.
 

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I use the mulch kit on my X739/54HC deck and it works well for me here in the soggy Pacific NW. I do bag in the early spring and late fall but otherwise the mulch kit is on the rest of the time. Give it a try, you may be surprised how well it works on the HC decks and its not very hard to change out. 3 nuts hold all the baffles on and changing the blades only takes a few minutes with an impact gun.
 

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I use the mulch kit on my X739/54HC deck and it works well for me here in the soggy Pacific NW. I do bag in the early spring and late fall but otherwise the mulch kit is on the rest of the time. Give it a try, you may be surprised how well it works on the HC decks and its not very hard to change out. 3 nuts hold all the baffles on and changing the blades only takes a few minutes with an impact gun.
Do you pull your deck when installing or removing the kit? I would imagine it would be easier to pull the deck not only for accessibility reasons but also the grass might build up on the bolts when removing or the underside of the deck when installing the baffles.

I really wish my ZTrak fit on my 4 post hoist like my X585. It made it so easy to clean the underside of the deck and change blades.
 

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Please keep in mind that I only have 1 year of experience with my X738, deck and mulch kit. However, my dealer installed the mulch kit on my deck and has told me numerous times (I stop in often and BS with them) that there is not any reason to change the blades if I choose to "not activate" the mulch door. They also said that the mulch kit came with different (mulching?) blades when I purchased it. They installed these mulching blades (and sent home the "stock" blades) and said that I can use the mulching blades any time of the year if I choose. I used the mulching blades all last season. In the fall when I bagged my leaves, I did not notice any lack of pick up into the bagger. I have never used my stock blades.
 

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Do you pull your deck when installing or removing the kit? I would imagine it would be easier to pull the deck not only for accessibility reasons but also the grass might build up on the bolts when removing or the underside of the deck when installing the baffles.

I really wish my ZTrak fit on my 4 post hoist like my X585. It made it so easy to clean the underside of the deck and change blades.
Yes I do remove the deck which only takes a few minutes with the auto connect drive over feature, then I use a Deck Dolly to lift it up on its side where its easy to work on. I do this about once a month anyway just to keep the build up under control which surprisingly isn't that bad with our damp grass.
 

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Yes I do remove the deck which only takes a few minutes with the auto connect drive over feature, then I use a Deck Dolly to lift it up on its side where its easy to work on. I do this about once a month anyway just to keep the build up under control which surprisingly isn't that bad with our damp grass.
Yeah, those drive over decks would be nice and it makes the task much easier.

Funny note. Around the last time I took the mower deck off the X585 when I got the ZTrak I noticed I could pull the pin on the anti scalp wheels and roll my deck out from under the tractor... Been wrestling with that for years. :banghead: It isn't hard to pull my deck but just takes some time rolling around on the ground to disconnect the PTO shaft and hook that back up and the pins. Once I got the 4 post hoist it became a spring and fall task because I would just put the tractor up on the hoist for blade changes and deck cleanings.
 

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I used a mulch kit on my 54d (1023e) all last season from May until November. It was extremely wet until about the 3rd week of August and it did a great job. A little clumping in spots where the grass was a little thicker but nothing at all like my walk behind mulcher does. Every 4-5 mowings I would clean out the underside, the cleaner you keep the deck the better it will mulch, it likes to have a lot of space to lift the grass. This year I stepped up to a new 2025R with a 60d, I'm going to try Gator blades first but I'm sure I will eventually get the mulch kit, I've been mulching for 20 + years and just like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well so far I have learned a bunch and for that I thank you .

More questions I will stop at my local dealer today and get some more answers (I hope)
I need to find out if JD makes a Leaf Mulcher Plate for the 60 inch HC deck .
If not it is a deal breaker for me as I need to use the Mulcher some time and some time not all in the same mowing day .
Next question I mow my grass at three inches is grows fast in the spring and the grass will be five inches when mowed . (PROBLEM or not )

T do have the Drive over Deck and remove it to clean and lube every three or four times I mow It really is not a big deal to remove the Mulch Kit and removing the deck is easy .

I have found a JD pull behind Vacuum ( looks new ) but they say it is used and the price it not bad .
A pull behind Vacuum would work well I think as the hookup and the boot would be no time at all .
 

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I love my mulch-kit. I know it is not perfect. It doesn't 'lift' the grass as well for cutting, especially while turning, but not enough for me to get too upset about it.

Early in spring, I mow more often to avoid tall grass if possible. That allows the mulch kit to work much better.

In the fall, it is priceless, as it removes any need for leaf raking/pick up. Here is my video on it...

 

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I have found a JD pull behind Vacuum ( looks new ) but they say it is used and the price it not bad .
A pull behind Vacuum would work well I think as the hookup and the boot would be no time at all .
I have never used the John Deere version of a pull behind vacuum. I assume it is the one with the engine on the tongue of the trailer right? So, growing up my dad had a vac like this on a 317 and the technology hasn't changed much over there years. He has since replaced it with another brand but neither were John Deere. That early one had an issue in that the vac hose wasn't all that big. I want to say 5 or maybe 6". Some units now have 10 or 12" hoses. The smaller ones can get clogged with a stick. That means you have to get off and clear out the hose which is a pain. It is kind of a trade off because the big hose probably looses a bit of suction but normally I would say go for something no smaller than 8" hose. The nice thing about those is if you have some shrubs. You can blow or rake the leaves out from that area into a pile. Disconnect the hose and suck them up. That isn't as easy with my unit which I will get to next.

On my X585 I used the Powerflow head on that runs off a belt on the right spindle. The nice thing about this is the cart is smaller which means more trips but it is never too heavy to dump. My father has run into that where his trailer gets so heavy he can dump it. Because it is attached solid to the back of the machine it is easier to whip around trees and you really can't hit anything. Not that it is hard to back a trailer but it is easier with the smaller cart. It also doesn't take as much room in storage. Now this one might sound funny. There is no second motor to take care of. I say that is funny because I bought another entire machine just for mowing. My father over the years got tired of maintaining the engines and would run them till they die. Then go to Harbor Freight with one of their super coupons and pick up a new engine for $100. It may only last 5 years because it is a cheap Chinese engine but for $100 who cares. He would do oil changes on them but that was about it.

I guess the one thing that may apply to both is to watch out for plastic parts. The Powerflow head for the X Series is a residential model. It is more compact than the commercial one on my ZTrak. However the entire housing is plastic so it is lighter and easier to mount and every 5 years or so I seem to wear out the housing. You can get a new housing for $200 or so but it is a pain to change out. The housing on the Ztrak is all steel. Granted it weighs about 50# but it isn't going to wear out on me. Not sure about the trailer version you are looking at. Watch for plastic housing on the impeller and what the impeller is made out of if you want something that will last. The hopper on my Ztrak is even smaller than the cart for my X585 but the machine is faster so while I make more trips to my dump location (compost pile) I spend less time there because it has a dump from seat hopper. I just back up, flip up the dump lever and use the control sticks to shake that machine a bit and I am off to my next load.

As for mulching from 5" to 3". Again general statements from other forums more focused on lawn care. Every grass type is a little different so that factors in. I would say in general for ideal mulch performance you want to try and stay closer to cutting 1/4 of the blade of grass. Meaning going from 4" to 3". That would be a reduction of 1/4. At that rate most systems will look perfect. Some say other grasses might do well at as much as 1/3 but as you get to that 1/2 mark you are going to have a harder time with most mulching systems leaving more visible clumps or grass clippings in general. If you are getting in that 6" to 3" you are probably going to not only not mulch but probably pick it up as it will be too much. One thing that people do when they are getting into this type of grass where maybe they are going from 5" to 3" and getting some mild clumping. Make a second pass. Maybe run North South on the initial cut and East West on a second pass. You said time wasn't an issue. Maybe fuel costs will be though.. If you think about it if you only end up getting good performance when going from 4" to 3" then that means you have to cut twice as often so if you have to make a second pass it is kind of the same thing but you are taking up one day rather than two separate days.

Our grass doesn't grow that much. I don't water it and I don't do much for fertilizer. I also am not going for a gold medal lawn. Some people like that and have the time for it and there is nothing wrong with that.

Not sure what you do with your leaves but if you compost them that is where the FEL is nice. I turn my pile and it goes from a pile of leaves to a pile of dirt in a year. Straight leaves don't compost well so I like doing a run of grass clippings every now and then to mix in. Or as fall is approaching I will take a few weeks off from grass cutting so it gets longer and mixes in the clippings for me. Problem there is my Ash trees drop in September/October. My Maples are November/December. So that means many times I give up on waiting for the Maples and pick them in the spring when they are still a bit wet. That can be an issue with a lower suction machine. The ZTrak is a beast though with the 7 Iron Deck and has no issues with them. The X585 did pretty well but I think you have a HC deck that I didn't have.
 

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I love my mulch-kit. I know it is not perfect. It doesn't 'lift' the grass as well for cutting, especially while turning, but not enough for me to get too upset about it.

Early in spring, I mow more often to avoid tall grass if possible. That allows the mulch kit to work much better.

In the fall, it is priceless, as it removes any need for leaf raking/pick up. Here is my video on it...

Yeah I spoke to quite a few people when I was shopping for my ZTrak and most were saying not to get a collection system to simply mulch and the leaves would be gone. For me the difference is I like picking up the leaves because I make dirt with them. Also most of the people I was talking with were commercial mowers. The last thing they want to do is pick up leaves because they have to take them somewhere. That isn't an issue for me because I take them to my back yard and dump them. I am done at that point other than going down there with the FEL every now and then to turn the pile.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Quote====On my X585 I used the Powerflow head on that runs off a belt on the right spindle. The nice thing about this is the cart is smaller which means more trips but it is never too heavy to dump. My father has run into that where his trailer gets so heavy he can dump it. Because it is attached solid to the back of the machine it is easier to whip around trees and you really can't hit anything. Not that it is hard to back a trailer but it is easier with the smaller cart. It also doesn't take as much room in storage. Now this one might sound funny. There is no second motor to take care of. I say that is funny because I bought another entire machine just for mowing.

I bought the X-758 two years and also a three bag Power Flow I hated it . It was a problem from day one the bolts that hold the side plate was to long from JD and took the first impeller out in an hour . The second impeller was junk and was replaced at six hours then the blower housing got three holes in it at 12 hours and no the holes were at 9;00 o-clock not the bottom .


The deck was hard to level with the weight of the power flow even with the gage wheel on the ground
I was lucky and sold it (at half price) I now have a new in the box blower housing I have no use for .
It was a very bad experience never again .
 

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Quote====On my X585 I used the Powerflow head on that runs off a belt on the right spindle. The nice thing about this is the cart is smaller which means more trips but it is never too heavy to dump. My father has run into that where his trailer gets so heavy he can dump it. Because it is attached solid to the back of the machine it is easier to whip around trees and you really can't hit anything. Not that it is hard to back a trailer but it is easier with the smaller cart. It also doesn't take as much room in storage. Now this one might sound funny. There is no second motor to take care of. I say that is funny because I bought another entire machine just for mowing.

I bought the X-758 two years and also a three bag Power Flow I hated it . It was a problem from day one the bolts that hold the side plate was to long from JD and took the first impeller out in an hour . The second impeller was junk and was replaced at six hours then the blower housing got three holes in it at 12 hours and no the holes were at 9;00 o-clock not the bottom .


The deck was hard to level with the weight of the power flow even with the gage wheel on the ground
I was lucky and sold it (at half price) I now have a new in the box blower housing I have no use for .
It was a very bad experience never again .
Some of those pains sound like a setup issue. Others are the same issues that I have faced. Mine lasted longer than 12 hrs but the holes in the housing.. GRRRRR :banghead: Been there done that and replaced the housing. Even picked up a used Powerflow on Craigslist so I have two of them both with holes now and I agree, not at the bottom from dragging on the ground. They are wearing out from the inside out. I started looking at getting yet another housing and walked out with a new ZTrak. The commercial unit is a lot stronger than the residential stuff. It isn't 100% steel there is a deflector at the bottom that is plastic. This is much cheaper and easier to replace. Also I was looking at it. I am pretty sure I can line it with sheet metal and use the plastic as a guide and it will never wear out.

Yeah you brought up another issue that I forgot about the weight hanging off the side throws off the deck level. On the X I never bothered with leveling the deck. I don't remember what size you have. I think the smaller the deck (54C) the less sensitive to being off balance. I also am not in a home and garden competition with my yard. I notice it more on the ZTrak. I have the 60" Deck on there. Part of it is the Powerflow is a lot heavier in the commercial flavor. That is the trade off for being all steel construction. The larger deck will show the steps in the grass more. The good news is that leveling a deck on a ZTrak is so much easier. I go out there with a wrench and my gauge, a few minutes later it is done. Not sure on your X but on the X585 there is a lot more messing around. The one problem though with the commercial version is if you have the Z915B/E or a Z9xxM you also have to adjust the spring tension on the deck lift mechanism. Again not hard but another step when adding it because you use a foot pedal to manually lift the deck. On the Z9xxR version it is a hydraulic deck lift so there is a button on one of the control sticks and as long as you hold in the button the deck stays up or until 30 seconds have lapsed or you park the deck in the travel position.

I just wanted to make sure you were aware of some of the durability issues with collection systems. Mainly around any plastic part that is going to be in the stream of leaves, dirt and clippings going into whatever you have for a hopper, trailer or bags. It either needs to be steel or cheap and easy to replace so you consider it just another consumable like dumping more gas in it or time for another oil change. There are lots of options out there for collection systems. If you are looking in the used market, I would limit yourself to John Deere. I forget which one my dad has now. I bought it a couple years ago. He said it has a plastic housing for the impeller but they redesigned it with a sheet metal insert for the wear issues. Sounds like he can retorfit it in his. Something like that would have helped make the housings last a lot longer and wouldn't add much weight.
 
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