Riding mower & attachments questions.

I’m shopping for a new riding mower & I notice that you can get a mulching kit (blades & mulch plug) that allow you to mulch the grass as you cut it.

Question #1 - Would this work on leaves as well?

Question #2 - If the answer to #1 is yes, would a tow-behind yard sweeper be able to pick up the mulched leaves.

I’ve used a riding mower with regular blades to run back & forth over leaves to chop them up & then rake & carry them. Just wondering if there’s a better solution that doesn’t involve an expensive towed yard vacuum.

Have you thought of a mower that bags the grass and leaves?

I have, but do they actually mulch the leaves?

If your mulching blades can shred the leaves sufficiently, it’s not necessary to pick them up. Left in place, they’ll fertilize the lawn. See this article about how some towns in the New York City area are encouraging residents to mulch the leaves and leave them, rather than hauling them away.

We have a mid-sized Husqvarna that uses a rear dual bag and has a mulching blade option. We usually bag in spring, when the growth is lush, then mulch most of the summer, then go back to bagging when the leaves start to fall. It takes about fifteen minutes to switch the blade set, less if I can remember which fraggin’ socket fits the bolts.

You also don’t want to mulch certain kinds of leaves into the lawn - we have oaks, whose leaves tend to kill grass. Most deciduous trees other than oaks are okay to mulch in, though.

Mulching blades work even better on dead leaves than they do on live grass. Dead leaves will crumple up just crushing them in your hand, cut grass won’t. When you mow over them with mulching blades dead leaves practically disappear. However when it comes to grass, mulching blades aren’t magic. They do a fairly good job of chopping the grass into mulch but there will still be clumps of cut grass here & there. But because it’s mulched into small pieces the dead grass does decompose much faster than regular clippings do and it’s not nearly as unsightly as rows of cut grass. Plus it is good for your lawn.

But don’t let your grass get too high and then try and use the mulcher, it simply won’t work. The mower will get bogged down and clogged and won’t be able to cut. It may even make the blade drive belt slip off or break. Take the mulch cover off and just mow regular. Let the rows of cuttings sit a few days until they dry out, then go over them with the mulcher (slowly).

One big advantage- My father and I just shopped for a new mower and while bagging attachments cost an addition $1200+ a mulching kit (the blades & cover) was less than $200!

Thanks for the responses. I have a mix of pine, oak, & maple to deal with, though the majority appears to be maple. Just to be clear, I’m not disposing of the leaves, just mulching & collecting to use in various flower beds or garden.

Jeebus, I didn’t know BMW made mowers. :eek:

Husqvarna is a top-tier brand and for our 42" a double bagger was about $300 and the mulch kit was about $50.

Not a BMW, just a zero-turning-radius, 22hp Toro. Mower itself cost about $3500…

Wow. Same general price as our Husq - I guess it’s like printers, you need to check the price of accessories [cartridges] before making an overall value decision. Ours is a standard tractor, not a ZTR, but still… one-third additional for a bagger? Yow.