Lawn mowers - to mulch or not to mulch, that is the question

The deck of the trusty petrol rotary mower is starting to rust and the drive belt also needs replacing so it may soon be time to spend some money (eek!). We've got three areas of lawn, probably each is about 100m2 but none of it is particularly good quality. I've been reading about mowers which chop-up (mulch) the cuttings and just drop them down again - how well does this work in practice? Over the years we've had two steel-decked mowers that rusted-out and one aluminium one that corroded and bits broke-off. Are there any good plastic-decked mowers at a sensible price?
Finally: any recommendations for self-propelled petrol rotary mowers?
Dave
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NoSpam wrote:

You get what you pay for, A good steel deck will do 20-30 years.
As for mulch or not. the problem is that on long grass, the mower will bog down. I mostly just take of the mulhing guard and let it spill out of the side.
Only once its under control does teh guard go back on.

Hayter. £600-1000
simple, strong.

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I'm using a Hayter R53A, seems to work fine. Get it serviced where I bought it, just add petrol and occasionally check the oil. Except for perhaps the first cut of the season, I tend not to use the bag, just let it spill out the side.
--
Tim

"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
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On 29/06/2011 17:24, Tim Streater wrote:

I think it was a Hayter I had previously and it didn't survive some stones and sticks on a rough patch - but I didn't pay anything like £600 for it! Electric start seems a bit OTT on a mower, although with advancing years it may become more attractive
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This one chews up sticks and stuff no problem. I like the electric start too.
--
Tim

"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
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On 29/06/2011 15:48, NoSpam wrote:

It works ok, but there are provisos...
To mulch requires much more power, and there is usually a limit as to how long the grass can be before it bogs down.
If you cut often, so as to give it a "light trim" - then it works well - the mower can cope, and the waste is small enough in volume to get mixed into the existing grass and "vanish". It puts more nuitrent back into the soil and probably keeps it green longer in the really hot months. Also saves having to empty the grass box all the time.
Try and much while taking off too much and you will at best, be left with a trail of cut grass on the surface, and at worst, will stall the mower. You will also use more petrol. Mulched lawn tend to look a little soiled immediately after the cut - but perks back the following day.
My 16" Hayter is not designed to mulch - and if its collection gets clogged (as it frequently does) then its 3.5hp motor does not have the power to cope. My ride on with a 36" cut deck and 13.5hp can mulch, but only just copes if its anything other than dry and not too long. If planning on mulching all the time with that sized deck, then going for a twin cylinder engine with 25hp would probably be worthwhile...

The Ali deck on the hayer is still fine after 18 years... the plastic undertray that forms the back half of the underside of the thing, I have however replaced at least three times so far!

Yup I would ;-)
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

I had to check that I had not in fact written this myself, because it echoes my experience exactly, even down to the mower types.
Spooky....
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Or time to get out the welder?
Mike
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Am I the first to say "what about car body filler?"
In a similar situation, I taped aluminum foil to one side of the lacework of rust, and slapped cbf on the other, working it through the holes and then smoothing it by hand through the foil. Parts of the foil come off easily later, some don't. I let on what held and covered it all in paint...
A less bodged approach would be to get one of those fiberglass kits with resin, hardener and woven and nonwoven glass cloth.
Thomas Prufer
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On 30/06/2011 16:42, Thomas Prufer wrote:

Because of the harsh environment I don't think a welded patch would last too long but I like the idea of an internal fibreglass skin (if it bonds well enough to the deck) and then some filler to tidy it up. I think it will last the Summer, then I'll take a look and see whether it's worth investing any time in it. Thanks!
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NoSpam wrote:

it does pretty well if the patch is thick enough..
but I like the idea of an internal fibreglass skin (if it bonds

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It would last as long as the original steel it is welded to, longer if you use heavier gauge.
Mike
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