The first thing to look for is curvature. Mulching blades are more curved than standard blades and they will also more cutting edges or a larger cutting edge than standard lawnmower blades. Exceptions exist, such as John Deere Mulching blades (which are rectangular), but most mulching blades will fit our previous description.
For the remainder of this article, we’ll tell you a little bit more about blade mulching and some other types of blades – we’ll go into usage, how to properly maintain them, and give you some general installation tips as well. Let’s take a look at the most common questions asked on these subjects!
What’s the difference between a mulching blade in a regular blade?
From a functional standpoint, a standard blade is considered a ‘2 in 1’ blade, with its two functions being bagging and side-discharge of cut grass. By contrast, a mulching blade has more cutting edges and is considered a ‘3 in 1’ design, which can bag, side-discharge, or mulch –cutting the grass much finer so that it may left to fertilize the lawn.
What do John Deere mulching blades look like?
John Deere mulching blades are proprietary and look a little different from the average mulching blades. They are rectangular, with one side being smaller, with a star-shaped attachment hole and an upward curve present in the middle of the blade.
Mulching blades will typically be marked with their model number or the word ‘bottom’ and when you install it, you should install the side with writing so that it faces the ground. If there is not writing, install it with the bevel of the blade facing away from the ground.
Can you use mulching blades with a bagger for leaves?
Yes, but depending on the mulching blade, this is not always efficient. Many mulching blades do not circulate the air as efficiently, so your bag may only end up filling to 2/3 full. Brands such as Gator blades have a modified design to compensate for this issue, should you encounter this problem with your mulching blades.
Can you use a mulching blade on a side discharge mower?
Yes. Your mulching blade may be used for bagging, side-discharge, or for mulching, so upgrading your mower with a mulching kit will not reduce its functionality. While they aren’t generally as efficient at circulating air, with side-discharge this should not be a problem.
Do you sharpen mulching blades?
Yes, mulching blades should be sharpened from time to time, with a general rule being that you should sharpen them after 25 hours of mowing use. You may need an assortment of files to do it properly, as mulching blades have more edges than standard blades.
Can you sharpen lawn mower blades with angle grinder?
An angle grinder is an excellent way to sharpen your mower blades efficiently with the least amount of effort. Just don’t overdo it – your blade should be about as sharp as your average butter knife – and anything more than this will make the blade sharper, but weaker and more prone to damage during normal use.
Do you have to balance mower blades?
Yes. After you sharpen your blades, it is important to balance them so that your mower will be less susceptible to wear and tear. After all, those blades spin at speeds of up to 4000 rpm, and so imbalanced blades are a very bad idea. Each time you sharpen, balance the blade for best performance.
How do I know if my mower blade is dull?
Common signs that it’s time to sharpen your blade include grass that look torn, rather than cleanly cut, uneven cutting, and nicks or dents on the cutting edge of the blade. If you see any of these, then it’s time to sharpen, and after that simply schedule time to sharpen after every 25 hours of use.
How do I know if my lawnmower is mulching?
Mulched grass clippings look quite different from standard-cut grass clippings. They will be much smaller pieces, which ‘disappear’ into your lawn as you are cutting or which will be, at best, minimally visible. While you can ‘mulch’ with multiple passes on the same clipped patches, this is time-consuming and inefficient, so if you don’t have a mulching blade then a conversion kit is a good idea.
Can you use high lift blades for mulching?
No. High lift blades are designed for dealing with grass and weed patches which are tall and dense. The high lift provides a superior air flow, so that your mower doesn’t choke when you tackle the overgrowth and this allows you to cut it to a more manageable size. High lift blades are great for dense patches, but are unsuitable for mulching.
What is the difference between standard and high lift mower blades?
Standard mower blades are suitable for grass that is already being maintained. High lift blades, on the other hand, are suitable for any type of grass – especially the overgrown variety. With high lift blades, you can mow normally or only slightly slower with dense grass and it won’t stop the engine like you’d experience with a standard.
Can I turn my mower into a mulcher?
Yes. Most mowers can be easily converted with a mulcher kit. These will usually consist of a restriction plate to keep the grass away from the rear or side chute and the actual mulching blades, which have extra cutting length and edges for more efficient breakdown of the clippings.
Can you mulch with a riding mower?
Yes, you can, and it’s a great idea for keeping your lawn beautiful and for saving you cleanup-time. The mulched grass can be left in the yard as you mow and it’s small enough that it won’t affect the aesthetics, but it WILL fertilize the newly cut grass so that it grows healthy and strong.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.