Want to save on fertilizers and reduce the amount of effort needed to maintain your lawn? When you mow, the long clippings left behind blow off of the lawn, taking their nutrients with them. By setting up your Cub Cadet mower for mulching, you can return those nutrients to the soil, reducing the need to augment the soil and helping microorganisms break down thatch so you don’t have to remove it.
Mulching creates small clippings that can mix with the thatch and top soil where they’re quickly digested by microorganisms. This helps your lawn in three ways:
– The nutrients inside the clippings are put back into the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers.
– Mulch digestion increases microorganism activity, which speeds the digestion of thatch. This keeps the thatch layer from becoming too thick, encouraging insect infestations, mold growth, and other lawn problems.
– Since the clippings fall back into the soil, there isn’t an unsightly trail left on top of the lawn like there is when side discharge mowing.
How does Mulching Work?
Your Cub Cadet lawn mower came from the factory setup for side discharge mowing. In this mode, the blades chop the grass and fling the clippings toward the chute.
To mulch, the clippings need to be cut a few more times to make them small enough to mix with the thatch. Instead of going straight out of the deck, large clippings are pushed up by the air coming off of the blade and then fall back down for another cut. Once these clippings are small enough, they can fall through the cutting area and onto the ground. Three conditions have to be met for this to work effectively:
- The deck needs a tall mowing chamber to provide space for the clippings. Your Cub Cadet comes with a mulching-compatible deck from the factory.
- The blades need to be “high lift.” This type of blade curves up at the edges so it acts like a fan, pulling grass blades up from the ground and pushing clippings into the mowing chamber. On large decks like those found on the Pro Z mowers, the mulching kit also includes side skirts that fit around the blades, creating a smaller chamber for added suction.
- The chute opening needs to be covered with a mulch plug to ensure clippings are directed toward the ground.
The parts included in a mulching kit will depend on your mower’s design: some walk-behind mowers come with a mulching plug, so they only need a high lift blade. Other walk-behind and riding mowers need both high lift blades and a mulching plug, while the Pro Z also needs plates to get increased suction.
Mulching Kit Installation
When installing a kit on a riding mower or wide walk-behind, the deck needs to be removed from the mower for easy access to the blades. To access the underside of the deck on small walk-behind mowers, tilt the mower so that the fuel tank and carburetor are facing up to reduce the chance of spillage and flooding.
There is no difference between installing standard and high lift blades: simply remove the bolts holding on the old blade, then bolt in the new blade, torqueing everything to the specifications in your owner’s manual. The chamber-shaping plates included in the Pro-Z kit bolt into existing holes in the deck using the included hardware. The chute and mulch plug are either held down by clips or by two nuts on the inside of the deck.
Should I Always Mulch?
In most cases, mulching is the best option, but there are some reasons why you may not want to mulch:
– Stopping the distribution of seeds and spores from weeds.
– Keeping toxic plant material, such as black oak leaves, from getting into the soil.
– Mowing when the grass is soaked, which can cause the clippings to clump together.
There’s nothing wrong with mulching leaves, so long as you mow frequently to reduce the amount of material deposited on the soil at one time so the microorganisms can keep up with digestion. During the peak of the season, this can be as often as twice a week.
High lift blades provide the best performance when bagging, and while they aren’t the best for side discharge, they’ll work in a pinch. If you do find that you occasionally need to discharge wet clippings, it’s best to hold onto your low lift blade and install it as needed.
Get Your Mower Ready to Mulch
www.cubparts.com is a certified Cub Cadet dealer, so we have everything you need for your Cub Cadet including mulching kits, plugs, and blades. We can ship parts and accessories to any address in the U.S. or Canada.