Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both? - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-30-2018, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Just bought a used 2009 Prestige 27/54 that had the turbo and triple Bagger on it. I took the those off and have been running it side discharge for now. Figured I'd save the vaccum and bagger for fall leaves.

Sometimes the side discharge can get clumpy and I'd rather be mulching, its better for the lawn anyway.

Found some old posts here on the subject. I get the impression that the combination of the mulching kit and Gator G3 blades give the best mulching results.

I am about to order these:
1 - Gator G3 16" Blade 96-397
2 - Gator G3 20 9/16" Blades - 96-398
1 - Mulching Kit - 1694508SM

Before I did wanted to get some feedback from others.

Thanks
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-03-2018, 11:39 AM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

My experience is to leave the ramps off, but use the blowout baffle and the chute cover naturally. Also, and this is the most important aspect and most overlooked thing when mulching. To get the best results, when mulching you should be mowing at HALF the speed you mow when using discharge.

I use the Gators (many claim they're overpriced, don't work, no difference, yada, yada, yada) with the Simplicity mulch kit installed minus ramps as per the suggestion of someone on these boards...Randy?? Can't remember without doing a search. I can tell you the Naysayers have likely never used these blades, much less on this deck. I'm here to tell you they work! Provided you mow at proper speed, it turns the cut grass into a very fine mulch spread out evenly. If you mow too fast or it's wet, or tall...or worse both...it will clump. I can also make two passes over thick leaves and they basically vanish to extremely small mulch.


2003 Simplicity Prestige 23/54 w/Chrome Baby Moons & Bumper, Arm Rests & Custom Hitch
2009 Simplicity Pacer 17.5/34 Walk Behind w/Bagger & Mulch Kit
2010 Simplicity i1224E Snowblower
2004 Ariens LM21SW Walk Behind
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-03-2018, 11:26 PM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

My gator blades work great!
Just mow a bit slower, and look at the grass clippings.
Smaller/shorter blades are left.

1999 Broadmoor, 38" mower deck
36" snow blower (primary snow removal machine)
Cab added for comfort
Duke the dog did not care for the April 2018 snow storm in Bloomington.
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-04-2018, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Thanks for the input, it is very helpful and is much appreciated. I'll get the parts ordered and report back after I've set them up and tried them out.
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-30-2018, 04:42 PM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Hey Zipstar, how are the Gators working?

1999 Broadmoor, 38" mower deck
36" snow blower (primary snow removal machine)
Cab added for comfort
Duke the dog did not care for the April 2018 snow storm in Bloomington.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-30-2018, 06:06 PM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

I mulched my leaves today and it took 6 hours for a half acre. I mulched back and forth a hundred times with gator blades where as all I have is piles and piles of brown dust. I think I may have killed the grass. I had to suck it up in a bagger and dump out in 8 trash cans. Some places I had to use a rake and a wide shovel to shovel up the dust. It looks like 8 trash cans of brown dust. Last week it was 6 cans. I'm thinking next week it be 6 to 8 cans of brown dust.

Don
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-15-2018, 07:48 AM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by My craftsman 917.27308 View Post
I mulched my leaves today and it took 6 hours for a half acre. I mulched back and forth a hundred times with gator blades where as all I have is piles and piles of brown dust. I think I may have killed the grass. I had to suck it up in a bagger and dump out in 8 trash cans. Some places I had to use a rake and a wide shovel to shovel up the dust. It looks like 8 trash cans of brown dust. Last week it was 6 cans. I'm thinking next week it be 6 to 8 cans of brown dust.
Don,

What are you mulching with, scissors? I can reduce a half acre of thick leaves to nothing in 2 passes...I suppose if they were a close to a foot deep it might take 3 passes...and in a WHOLE lot less time than you describe! I actually was mulching an area where the wind piled the leaves up to over a foot and I caught the leaves on fires from the exhaust...had to back up several times as it was taking enough weight off the front end to lose steering...definitely not typical...LOL! At any rate, when I backed up I noticed a small section had actually caught fire...oops! I quickly mulched the fire right out, but the result was amazing....freakishly so!


2003 Simplicity Prestige 23/54 w/Chrome Baby Moons & Bumper, Arm Rests & Custom Hitch
2009 Simplicity Pacer 17.5/34 Walk Behind w/Bagger & Mulch Kit
2010 Simplicity i1224E Snowblower
2004 Ariens LM21SW Walk Behind
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-15-2018, 08:54 AM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prestigious1 View Post
Don,

What are you mulching with, scissors? I can reduce a half acre of thick leaves to nothing in 2 passes...I suppose if they were a close to a foot deep it might take 3 passes...and in a WHOLE lot less time than you describe! I actually was mulching an area where the wind piled the leaves up to over a foot and I caught the leaves on fires from the exhaust...had to back up several times as it was taking enough weight off the front end to lose steering...definitely not typical...LOL! At any rate, when I backed up I noticed a small section had actually caught fire...oops! I quickly mulched the fire right out, but the result was amazing....freakishly so!
In the back yard I have tall oak trees and I first blow the leaves with a blower away from the house out into the yard. I blow out the mulch areas out into the yard and any other obstructions like trees and the shed. Once that is done I have a pile that is really thick. Maybe a foot high. I mulch using the tractor real slow because it will bog down, letting it shoot out the side. Staying in the same place. Leaves do catch fire from the muffler. I just back up. and go over them. But yes, when I'm done I have thick piles of brown dust almost like dirt that I have to pick up.

In the front yard, It's easier, I blow everything away from the house and trees where as I can blow the leaves to one direction using the tractor towards the street to out in the street. At that point they are dust blowing down the street.

Don

Last edited by My craftsman 917.27308; 12-15-2018 at 09:15 AM.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-19-2019, 12:50 AM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

I have run Gator blades on my deck for years. On my deck the gators moved too much air out the front of the deck laying the grass down in front of the blades. Yard looked like crap unless i mowed twice. My deck is closed for mulching full time. Grass and leaves. I started removing the back blades from the gator blades one on each blade at a time. As I removed each back blade it mowed better. I wound up removing all of the back blades and it mows great. Turns my leaves into powder if they are dry. I mow the leaves in the yard first, then blow out the leaves around the house and flower beds. Then mow again. It does not overwhelm the deck that way on mine. 46" deck 21hp.
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-24-2019, 07:49 AM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

For leaves I windrow into the center with the JD 2305, (no baffle). The leaves greatly reduce in bulk then pick up with the Simplicity Conquest with turbo bagger.

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post #11 of 17 Old 03-03-2019, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hipster View Post
Hey Zipstar, how are the Gators working?
I don't know yet. Sorry for taking so long to reply.

After I'd made my original post I tried to order the 1694508SM mulch kit from 3 different websites. They each had it listed for around $275.00 but my order was cancelled by each of them and I received an email that the price on the website was incorrect and the correct price was around $345.00. I got kinda frustrated by that and things got busy at work and with other projects at home. Getting the mulching kit kinda fell by the wayside as it came time to focus on buying a snowblower and getting ready for winter.

I checked just now and 2 of those sites have updated the price but the first place I ordered it from is still listing it for $277.50.

At the time of my post I'd setup an eBay search with email alert and it was dead silent until the week before last. A complete brand in the box mulching kit popped up. It was $125.00 "Buy it Now" with the shipping. I grabbed it. UPS dropped it on my door step last Thursday. It is brand new in the box and complete so I am happy.

The kit includes Simplicity's high lift blades but, I'm going to order the Gators too. I'll be servicing and painting the deck and getting it setup for spring soon.

I may just for experimental purposes try the full Simplicty kit with their blades first then the Gators with the ramps removed. I mean I've got them, might as well try out different combinations.

After my first fall clean up on the property I don't believe I'll be able to get away with mulching the fall leaves. Leaves pile up quite think over most of the place and trying to pick them up with the turbo vac and triple bagger on the first pass was impossible. In several spots the leave just piled up in front of the deck. The turbo vac itself clogged or the duct would clog almost instantly. The duct would clog either where it attached to the turbo vac or emptied into the baggers. The duct just isn't big enough for the volume of material the deck is picking up. What finally worked was going over all the leaves twice while side discharging. Once with the deck fully rasied and then again with it half way lowered. I did a final pass with the turbo vac with the deck at 2 inches. Even then the triple bagger would fill up very quickly. Turned out to be a very time consuming and frustrating process.

I did have my mind on mulching though in the fall. Just in case I did get a mulch kit I saved a big pile of leaves in the shed behind the barn. They've been kept dry all winter and after the mulch kit is on I'll spread them out and see how it does. I am skeptical and am keeping an eye out for a leaf vac / cyclone rake on craigslist for next fall.

I'll post my results soon, winter is almost over (I hope )
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-03-2019, 04:24 PM
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Winter........

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Duke the dog did not care for the April 2018 snow storm in Bloomington.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-09-2019, 05:59 PM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

Mulching kit? You mean the bolt on 'L' pieces that bolt to the front of the deck? I have all 3 pieces and I don't recall it costing $300! I think I have one left side section if you are still looking for one. Just let me know and I'll look. I also highly recommend the Gator G5 blades also.

*EDIT* - My bad. I'm confusing the blowout baffles with the mulching kit. Sorry.

2003 Simplicity Prestige - 20hp Kohler Command - 50" deck - Gator G5 Blades - Blowout Baffle & Deck Re-enforcement Kit | EGO Cordless 56V Straight Shaft Trimmer | EGO 530 CFM 56V Cordless Blower | Simplicity 42" Dozer/Plow Blade | | 62LB x 2 wheel weights | Craftsman 10 cu.ft Poly Dump Cart
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-17-2019, 09:04 AM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

I have used all different combinations for mulching including Gators and Simplicity high lift blades installed on both a 44" deck attached to a 22HP Regent and 22HP Broadmoor. I've also had the pleasure of running a 23/50 Prestige complete with the same set up. All of which had the Leaf Shredder/Mulching kit installed.

I have about 2/3 acres of a pretty thick, green, fast growing lawn. Weeds are present, but mostly come to my yard to die quickly. I've learned that mulching has several important factors that are all equally important.

1. Cut often, 2x/week.
1. Never cut when the grass is wet.
1. Use a VERY sharp high lift blade.

I can add other factors too that are less important, but still factor into the equation.
For example, try not to cut in the same direction two consecutive times and try to make sure the belts are relatively tight with little to no slack.

Finally, the more RPM's put out by the engine, the more repetitions the blades will make under the deck. This is actually a big deal, but not always possible to change for a lot of people. Your engine should be about 3600RPM'S I think.

Notice I didn't include Gators as really making a difference. The mulch kit really helps shred the grass into oblivion, so the extra back edge of the Gators really don't add anything. However, if a guy were to "mulch" by side discharging, then the Gators help a lot, but this really isn't mulching.

This kit also works great in the fall. Just remember to cut often, like every few days. The leaves will be reduced to a size smaller than a 1/4 inch. No bagging needed!


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post #15 of 17 Old 03-25-2019, 07:55 PM
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Re: Mulching with a Prestige 54" Deck. Mulching Kit? Gator Blades? Both?

I do strongly recommend the Gator G5 blades. They are slicing and mulching beasts!

2003 Simplicity Prestige - 20hp Kohler Command - 50" deck - Gator G5 Blades - Blowout Baffle & Deck Re-enforcement Kit | EGO Cordless 56V Straight Shaft Trimmer | EGO 530 CFM 56V Cordless Blower | Simplicity 42" Dozer/Plow Blade | | 62LB x 2 wheel weights | Craftsman 10 cu.ft Poly Dump Cart
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