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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In my opinion, the key to a beautiful lawn lies in how and when you mow it, and how well your mower is setup and maintained. And though everything here is my opinion, much is based on Articles I've read over the years from "Scotts", "Simplicity", and other sources combined with my personall expereince going back over 35 years with Simplicity equipment.

NOTE - THIS IS BASED ON THE SIMPLICITY 886 48" MOWER DECK AND SIMPLICITY DECKS IN GENERAL. OTHERS MAY OR MAY NOT BE SIMALAR

The blades are the most important. They are what cut's your grass, the deck it's self is next, followed by mowing habits and the tractor

Blades NEED to be SHARP. Period. Numerous times I've heard, "Why bother, they just get dull anyway" Well duhh!!! and "dull blades do as good a job as sharp ones" Does anyone really beleive that?. Ever shave with a dull razor? thats way sharper than a properly sharpened lawn mower blade. Dull blades make a "puree" out of the grass making sticky clippings, while sharp ones neatly slice the grass. 20 hours is usually time to touch them up, rather than waiting untill there dull making a lot of work to sharpen.
I know some loggers who touch up there saw chains 3 times a day or more, but run there mower blades until they look like they came off a roto-tiller... So if you dont know how to sharpen blades, either learn or find someone who can. Saw sharpening services usually do mower blades too

I've had mostly poor results with mulching mowers, and found I have no need for them anyway. I stick with stock Simplicity blades, they're better steel than most, and have minimal "lift" High lift blades suck the thatch out of the grass, and thatch helps considerably to keep moisture in the ground during dry months. If I want to overseed, I rent a thatcher.

The front of the deck should be 1/4" to 1/2" higher than the back, and level from side to side. A concrete floor is the best place to check height. Checking the actual height of the blades with a set of inside calipers works best, but a tape measure checking side to side on the lower edge of the deck is usually good enough. Your deck should be thoroughly cleaned whenever you sharpen the blades, built up grass just catches more grass and slows down airflow for less efficent clipping ejection. Every fall I scrape, wire brush, sand as necesarry and put a fresh coat of paint on the bottom. not only will this extend the decks life indefiniitely, but the smoother the surface, the less sticks to it.


If you see moisture on your tires while mowing, the grass isn't dry and can make problems. I try hard not to mow when the grass is wet or damp. The wet clippings stick to everything, and the tires matt down taller grass making it difficult to get a nice even cut. I dont think mowing wet hurts the grass though. I like to mow in the evening when the grass has had all day to dry. I get the best cut, it hardly sticks to the deck, and has all night for a little recovery before the Sun starts cooking it again.
Most machines should be run at or near full throttle and 1/2 to 3/4 ground speed.

Cutting at 3" in the dry summer heat is minimal, unfortunatly, many decks dont go higher (like my sovereigns deck) I would mow 4" right now if I could. I've heard you shouldn't cut more than 1/3 of the grasses hight off at once, and think thats a good rule of thumb. Cut 6" no lower than 4", cut 3" no lower than 2" etc. I mow 2" in the spring, 3" in the summer, and down to 1-1/2" in the fall to make leaf cleanup easier.

What do you think?

And Keep them blades SHARP!!!
 

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I'm not familiar with Simplicity mowers but most other brands call for the blades at the front of the deck to be lower than the back, not higher. As for moisture on the tires, mine almost always have moisture on them. If I waited for it to be that dry, it would never happen as the taller the grass, the more the moisture.

As for mulching, that's the only way I cut. I tried side discharging but didn't like the look. Cannot comment on high-lift blades as I run with Gators and they don't lift any thatch.

I sharpen my blades about once a year and don't notice any difference before and after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not familiar with Simplicity mowers but most other brands call for the blades at the front of the deck to be lower than the back, not higher. As for moisture on the tires, mine almost always have moisture on them. If I waited for it to be that dry, it would never happen as the taller the grass, the more the moisture.

As for mulching, that's the only way I cut. I tried side discharging but didn't like the look. Cannot comment on high-lift blades as I run with Gators and they don't lift any thatch.

I sharpen my blades about once a year and don't notice any difference before and after.
Well, this IS a Simplicity forum...
 

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I think I am not sure where the green is exactly; but teeing off with about a 5 iron should hit the visible landing area on this dogleg par 4, and probably a 9 iron or a wedge to stick it close, then a lucky putt for birdee.

Nice of the driver of that tractor to shut off while we play through. Also, nice to play when the course is not too busy.

Thanks. :biglaugh: :biglaugh: :biglaugh:
 

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Well, this IS a Simplicity forum...
That point did not escape me. I'm sure though that there is as much difference between specific Simplicity models as there is between brands. Simplicity mowers are reknowned though for their floating decks and striping bars.

I too pursue the perfect cut or more to the point, I strive for a perfect lawn, the cut being only one factor. Just ask my wife and she'll tell you I'm obsessed. Between the wife and the government however, I cannot spray for weeds so I have to try and control them by heavy fertilizing and height of cut. I hand pull (with a Fiskars puller) enough weeds most days to pack a 5 gal pail full with them.

Like the OP, I vary the height of cut with the seasons. I modified my deck so that it can lift higher and I drilled additional holes to set my gauge wheels lower so that I can float the deck better. I put bushings and zerks in the gauge wheels to stand up to the abuse of near constant ground contact.

I do pull a sweeper around at times if there are clumps but I tend to carry it high so that it disperses more than it picks up. In the Fall however, I cut it real short and sweep up as much as I can.

I compost all my leaves and top dress the lawn with it once it turns to black gold. I plug aerate as well and overseed as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That point did not escape me. I'm sure though that there is as much difference between specific Simplicity models as there is between brands. Simplicity mowers are reknowned though for their floating decks and striping bars.

I too pursue the perfect cut or more to the point, I strive for a perfect lawn, the cut being only one factor. Just ask my wife and she'll tell you I'm obsessed. Between the wife and the government however, I cannot spray for weeds so I have to try and control them by heavy fertilizing and height of cut. I hand pull (with a Fiskars puller) enough weeds most days to pack a 5 gal pail full with them.

Like the OP, I vary the height of cut with the seasons. I modified my deck so that it can lift higher and I drilled additional holes to set my gauge wheels lower so that I can float the deck better. I put bushings and zerks in the gauge wheels to stand up to the abuse of near constant ground contact.

I do pull a sweeper around at times if there are clumps but I tend to carry it high so that it disperses more than it picks up. In the Fall however, I cut it real short and sweep up as much as I can.

I compost all my leaves and top dress the lawn with it once it turns to black gold. I plug aerate as well and overseed as needed.
Just one of the things that made Simplicity great is the similarities in their designs they maintained for 50 years, especially in their decks. For example, the deck I have was produced with only minor changes from the late 50's through 2000. And the quick mount leveling and height system is similar in most all of them.

In 19 years I have reseeded poor sections 4 or 5 times, have never used weed killer or fertilizer, and maintain it solely by mulching in clippings and leaves with my side discharge deck. It's true that the back quarter is mostly plantain these days, but Hey! it mows easy and stays green longer than anything

Invariably when people stop by the first thing they say is how nice my lawn looks. I certainly like it.
 

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My lawn is terrible. I just mow it in an alternating squares stripe pattern and it looks ok. Friends say it looks good; but it's the mower, not the turf.

I need better soil; have clay front, and sand rear. I plan on getting an aerator for my tractor. I half trees everywhere; and I leave the leaves on, just mow them as if they are not there - and this to improve relative organic matter content.

I have a front mount tine dethatcher and I do not remove thatch - same reason re organic matter. I want the aerator to work this stuff into the upper 2 inches of the soil profile - hmmm, profile? clay and more clay. sand and more sand. The idea is to promote a tendency towards increased organic matter in an upper layer on these troublesome soils.

My home is rural. The clay is just what's there. The sand of the backyard is actual a septic field about 4' deep all sand. I have grass and weeds on all lawns. Mowing hides the weeds for a while; and I don't mow excessively.

I am also affected by the pesticide ban in Canada. I have some of the poison leftover; and I hesitate to use it - which is legal, if you have existing stock. I am tempted constantly to blast Killex or similar general purpose weed kill. I also know it will not work on certain weeds. Creeping charlie, aka ground ivy, and about a dozen other names can be controlled using Borax soap - google it. I also have a forest in my backyard which is wild; and all sorts of weed seeds can blow in anytime. The real key to control is a thick lawn that denies a home to weeds. So I move to cultural practices to enhance my lawn; and this could really take off when I get an aerator and trash whatever is there now, and overseed it heavily.

Weeds don't like to be mowed, aerated, pulled, walked on, or otherwise abused. They would prefer to dominate rather than be dominated by pesky grasses. Sometimes I do the short mowing height just to kick the weeds; but they will return. Grass does better when mowed (reproduction), weeds get deformed, and theoretically should just give up when surrounded and shaded by tall turfgrasses. When I get close to that, i will manually pick or pull or just use a putty knife to cut roots off beneath surface. For now, I just mow at about 3 1/2". I am always experimenting with cutting heights. I may return to 4"; but this lawn is pretty uninspiring for now. I also gets abused with tractor, truck, wood processing. no watering, etc. I am on a well and cannot water consistently. If this lawn gets good, I will use a giant rain barrel that I have; and I will need a small pump to run sprinkler. Lots of plans. Lots of conflicts of interest. And despite it all, it looks pretty good when mowed.

The back being sand, I dream of golf green, or more like a croquet course; I got into this last year; but all i did was baby the lawn with intensive care and 2x daily watering using the rain barrel through a pressure washer (mist spray). Added ferts and seed. It worked, and I mowed it with my olde reel mower. This spring it was green before anything else. Now - drought, heat, bugs, weeds - half of it is dormant in the heat. It will come back in the fall. We have not had the rain some of you have had. Last 2 weeks, more rain, lots of hear; and the grass is greening again.

I really need an aerator and perhaps some topsoil to do it right. I would also like to build a primitive irrigation system with a few heads and pvc pipe, manual control, powered by pump on rain barrel. My rain barrel is a giant cube approx 4x4x5 at least with a 2" ball valve, adapted down to garden hose size. Gravity will run a pressure washer; but not a sprinkler. So need a small pump; just missed a sale at TSC for that; all gone.

For now, i don't worry about any of this. I can make a super lawn in time. I have other things to do for now. And when I look out my window after mowing, all my lawn issues don't matter so much. It looks pretty good all striped.

Blade sharpening is directly noticeable. I can feel it when things are dull, and when things are sharp. I do my own, seem to be getting better at it. I don't create razor edges that will break down quickly; I just make it kinda sharp, balance. Clean deck and oil and grease at same time.

Deck leveling - I never knew how important that was until I did it. Major difference in appearance and performance - mainly in appearance; but I had some performance issues unique to my Pacer mower that were affected by proper deck setup. No problems for quite a while now.

And sometime I will get my Allis deck going and see what all that is about. Pacer is a walk. Riding would be quite different; although the maneuverability of the Pacer is very convenient; and the tractor won't do it like that. It will be different.

As for the perfect cut: I would prefer a perfect lawn on which to paint the perfect cut. With a Simplicity mower, it's about striping; the cut itself, I take for granted. If that isn't happening for me; it's a maintenance or a setup issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for that contribution, Gray. I agree with pretty much all of it. Dont sell that 716 Hydro short, it's an awesome piece of machinery!
 

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that was 2nd attempt. Had a similar post, & just b4 posting, pooter did ugly crash. Has happened a few times. Could be rural power surge or brownout. Rig might be cooking capacitors. old "spin"tel junk anyway. Time for an AMD Phenom II rig.
 
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