Mulching with 3-blade decks

lawnstripesJune 13, 2011

I have a Simplicity Regent with a 40 inch dedicated mulching deck. This has 2 overlapping counter-rotating blades driven by a toothed belt (similar to the old JD Freedom 42 deck). I love the combination of mulching and striping that this machine does. However, I have moved to a house with a larger 1.5 acre plot, mostly lawn. It is now taking 90 minutes to get around it, if I rush. Most of the lawn is quite unobstructed with fairly long runs for which a wider deck ought to speed things up.

I am wondering about changing to a larger machine and am thinking about a Simplicity Conquest, which in UK comes with a 50 inch deck and 23 HP Vanguard in the 2-wheel drive version. My main question/concern is whether such a 3-blade deck with a mulching kit would give comparable mulching performance to a 2-blade dedicated mulching deck. I won't save time if I can get round the lawn quicker, but then have to go round picking up lots of clumps of grass! I have found that provided I cut regularly, the Regent deck lives up to the mulching promise of all the cuttings disappearing, even in less than perfectly dry conditions.

I could also consider the JD X320 or X540, but I would need to add the grass groomer kit to satisfy my striping requirement. My impression is that the Conquest fits between these 2 models in capability, but the Conquest is about the same price in the UK as the X320 with 48 inch deck. My nearest dealer who sold me the Regent 5 years ago is also (mainly?) a JD dealer, and unfortunately has changed from Simplicity to Snapper this year (apparently

the colour and the name are better!) but he says he can still get the Simplicity models.

Any advice would be much appreciated.



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I'm not intimately familiar with Simplicity details but nothing or any add-on accessory stripes like EVERY Simplicity roller deck.

I do recall reading comments from Simplicity owners about certain size decks in certain model lines mowing and mulching better or worse than other size decks on the same tractor and in different model years.

You might want to Google around and see what pops up.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 2:38PM
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Thanks for the comments Justalurker. I have tried searching around. Probably the best information is on this forum, where there are a few reports of good results using a (usually JD) 3-blade deck, often with gator blades, but no direct comparisons with the dedicated mulching 2-blade decks.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:24AM
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Lots of people seem to really like Gator blades and they are not expensive to try... at least on this side of the pond.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:50AM
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In my experience, a 2 blade deck or a larger 3 blade deck seems to mulch better. We used to see more quality of cut issues with say a 44" than a 52" on the 3 blades and the cut looked all a round better w/ a 52 or a 2 blade. Of course, this is comparing apples and oranges....

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I have a 20hp Conquest with a 44 inch deck, it cuts just fine and the striping is great. I would go with a bigger deck but am constrained by gate entrance width in my fences. The only issue I have is when the grass is a bit on the wet side, I have to clean out the underside of the deck after each cut. But I am not sure that is the fault of the deck, rather its the wet grass. Its been so wet here this spring that sometimes I just have to cut the stuff wet.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 8:14PM
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Thanks for the comments. Tomplum, interesting observation. The common factor between the larger 3-blade decks and the 2-blade decks could be the larger size of the individual blades compared with a smaller 3-blade deck. Perhaps the mulching action somehow works better with a longer blade.

Bogey123, the Conquest seems a good machine - I have only seen positive comments about it. When cutting wet grass I think some build-up of wet grass on the underside of the deck is unavoidable - it happens also with the dedicated mulching 2-blade deck.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 5:49PM
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