Equipped for Leaf Cleanup: Add A Mower Mulching Kit

When managing leaves in the fall, landscapers have two choices: They can collect and remove leaves from properties; or mulch them using a commercial lawn mower with mulching blades or a mulching kit.

Returning finely chopped leaves to the lawn, where clippings eventually decompose into a nutrient-rich organic material, is the most sustainable and efficient method of leaf cleanup. To provide a high-quality leaf mulching service, professionals need a mower with mulching capabilities that vacuums up leaves, shreds them and releases the material back to the earth.“Mulching mower blades must be capable of chopping leaves into finer and finer pieces and allowing those pieces to fall way from under the deck without building up inside,” explains Roy “Dusty” Dust, product specialist for Ferris.

There are various types of mulching blades, including multi-edge and styles with curved or straight edges. Dust says the shape and size of mower blades within a mulching system isn’t important: Cutting capability is what matters most.

“A mulching system has to be able to process the product coming in—and when I say process, I mean chew up, cut up, and allow it to vacate the mower deck,” Dust says.

How Mulching Works

Ferris mowers gain their mulching capabilities from mulching kits, which come in various sizes designed for Ferris commercial mowers. Mulching blades are different than typical mower blades because they cut, and recut, debris that is vacuumed from the lawn.

Essentially, you can think of a mower deck equipped with a mulching kit like a lawn blender. Material sucked into the deck is shredded into slivers. That said, if the mulching deck is jammed with too many leaves—especially wet, heavy material—then the blades will struggle to chop and sever the leave into clippings, resulting in an under-deck jam. Mulching can save up to 60 percent of time with leaf-cleanup if a landscaper isn’t dealing with technical difficulties along the way, like clearing out a clogged mower deck.

When choosing a mulching kit for your Ferris mower, talk to a dealer about the best fit for your equipment. Ferris designs mulching kits specifically for its commercial mowers, and blade size will vary based on model. “Our mulching kits are made to best take advantage of our decks and our blade tip speeds,” Dust says.

An Efficient Leaf Collection Alternative

Mulching is a beneficial and efficient method of cleaning up leaves on clients’ properties, and landscapers who opt to mulch rather than collect leaves will improve productivity during fall cleanup. This time of year is ideal for mulching leaves, because waiting until spring means dealing with wet, clump leaves that are heavy and more difficult for mowers to vacuum up and chop, Dust says.

At the same time, fall’s leaf bounty can require constant cleanup. Landscapers that allow leaves to build up on a lawn may spend more time, or experience difficulty, when using a mulching mower. Be sure to raise the mower deck to its highest level, Dust advises.

“A lot of times, the most challenging aspect of mulching leaves is getting them to go under the deck rather than being plowed ahead by the mower,” Dust says. “If you raise the deck to its highest point, you can have as much area as possible for leaves to be vacuumed underneath and chopped up.”

Sharp, quality cutting blades and a rugged commercial mowing deck, such as those on Ferris commercial machines, can also perform mulching duties without installing a mulching kit, Dust points out. Some landscapers might cut a lawn, as usual, using the side discharge and a cutting pattern where clippings that are discharged are being cut again on the next pass.

Regardless of whether landscapers try mulching technique like this, or use a mulching mower, chopping and returning leaves back to properties is a more practical way to clean up leaves, Dust says. Plus, there is the gasoline cost of running a mower with a collection system, which grows heavy with leaves and burns more fuel.

This fall, consider mulching with a Ferris mower as an alternative to leaf collection and removal. “It’s going to be faster than collecting and taking leaves off the property,” Dust says.