Are you experiencing blocking on your collection ride on mower?
Tues 25th January 2011

We've recently been hearing from people frustrated with the blocking issues on their non Grillo existing ride on mower.  You buy a ride on mower because you have realized there is a better way to mow than by pushing a walk behind mower around for hours. You want to sit and enjoy yourself from the ease of a comfortable seat, not huff and puff around the garden pushing a mower. In your dreams however, one thing you don't plan for is problems.

Blocking occurs due to many factors, three big ones are grass building up in your cutting deck, too much grass being squeezed into the catcher, and the competence of the driver.  In spring, when growth is at it's peak, grass can be thick and heavy with recent rain. This concoction can quickly form a blockage on the underside of the cutting deck. At this time cutting your grass too low will contribute to this problem.

Overfilling the catcher can occur when the operator keeps mowing long after the catcher is full, the grass will block. This may be because they were simply unaware that the catcher bin was full, or were so close to finishing the job or run that they were tempted to quickly keep mowing. Finally, the third reason is also one of operator error. If the ride on mower is driven at speeds to fast for the conditions, especially when grass is heavy and lush with new growth, the grass will build up under the deck simply because the machine is not given time to process the intake.

Now the important part, what can you do to minimize blocking? Just like the three causes, there are three answers; Design, Mowing Technique and Proper Care and Maintenance.

Successful grass collection begins with the design of the whole collection system, and this is where Grillo really excels. Starting with cutting deck design, take a look at the underside of your cutting deck and you'll see that the deck is designed to direct the grass into a chute. A well designed deck will reduce and try to eliminate areas where cut grass can build up and create a blockage. The problem is in the baffle area - which is the area that conducts the grass out of the deck into the chute. By reducing corners and streamlining the design, collection is improved.

Blade design is important for the propulsion of grass into the intake tube. As the whole system is powered by air, this moving air need to come either from blade tip speed or from a mechanical device such as an impeller or fan. These later devices work when, but as they are another moving part they add to the list of parts that can go wrong. Draft from blade tip speed however, as long as enough can be generated, is a much more simple way of getting grass moving and generally less expensive. If you are relying on blade draft then you want the grass to have to travel the shortest route to the catcher and avoid corners and bends as much as possible.  Both the Grillo FD220 and FD280 have amazing blade draft, and their collection results even during less than ideal conditions are impressive.

The engine is the next consideration. Or rather the power to blade tip equation. The wider the cutting deck the more power needed to get the grass into the catcher. If the Ride on mower is engineered to maximize the the power to blade speed ratio it will do a much more effective job of getting the grass into the catcher without build up occurring.  Features such as an audible alarm when the bin is full, or a collection cut-off switch will prevent the former, and provide operators better information to help them in their mowing. Cut-off switches are very effective as they stop the blades and therefore collection as soon as the bin is full - eliminating the temptation to finish the row and experience a blockage.

The main results you require from a collection ride on mower is that it picks up the grass without leaving a mess of clippings all over the ground, and preferably to do this without having a blockage.  Your ride on mower isn't offering you good collection if it's loading in the bin unevenly or lumped in one corner. Ideally what is required is a nice, dense, even coverage that fills the bins completely. If you're having demonstration of ride on mowers, make this a comparison test to test between machines.  Keep an eye on your speed when the grass is very thick and heavy. Driving too fast may cause a blockage as the blades struggle in the conditions. To prevent this problem increase your revs and and go slow to allow the ride on mower to handle the increased volume.

Regular maintenance is important to keep the ride on mower mowing and collecting effectively. Cleaning your cutting deck is essential in order to remove grass build up and minimize corrosion. The best routine is to clean it out after each use. Decks with good access make this much easier. You also need to completely remove and clean out the deck at the mid and end point of your season - especially during a time of wet or muddy use.  You want to enjoy your mowing, so following these hot tips will help you to control the factors that can lead to increased blocking. By purchasing wisely and understanding your machine you can get years of hassle free ride on mowing and collection and of course a beautiful result on your lawn.

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