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#1
Old 03-17-2014, 05:44 PM
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Location: San Diego, California
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In a pinch can I fashion my own lawn mower bag?

I need to mow the lawn. For some strange reason my husband bought a mower without a bag attachment. Will I be trying out for Darwin Awards if I try to just fashion some sort of bag behind the mower to catch the grass? It's really long and I don't want to have to clean up the grass behind the mower. I know we need to get the actual bag that should go with the mower, but my question is more simple - can I/should I try to put a bag there myself and somehow attach it? Is that ridiculously idiotic or reasonable? What could possibly go wrong?
#2
Old 03-17-2014, 05:49 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesseract View Post
I need to mow the lawn. For some strange reason my husband bought a mower without a bag attachment. Will I be trying out for Darwin Awards if I try to just fashion some sort of bag behind the mower to catch the grass? It's really long and I don't want to have to clean up the grass behind the mower. I know we need to get the actual bag that should go with the mower, but my question is more simple - can I/should I try to put a bag there myself and somehow attach it? Is that ridiculously idiotic or reasonable? What could possibly go wrong?
Some mowers are designed to be operated without a bag - they mulch the cut grass and discharge it from the side.

Not clear from your post:
A> your husband bought a mower that can operate with a bag but did not buy the bag
B> your husband bought a mower that cannot operate with a bag


If it is A, you are better off buying the right bag - since it has to fit correctly on the discharge and needs to distribute weight on the handle - and let air out (porous).

If it is B - then no.
#3
Old 03-17-2014, 05:56 PM
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Location: San Diego, California
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I'm actually not sure if it can operate with a bag or not. I didn't know that they made them to not operate with a bag. I hope it is A. Thanks...
#4
Old 03-17-2014, 06:32 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Mercer Island, WA
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I made a "bag" out of some sample carpet last summer for a free hand-me-down mower, wasn't the greatest thing but got me through a tight budget summer.

Find out if you have a mulching mower (no bag by design) before you get too carried away.
#5
Old 03-17-2014, 06:43 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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a mulching mower works if you cut it about 1/2 inch or longer if your lawn is dryer and grass thinner. you would use a mulching blade and maybe a chute plug.

a bag may need to hold open a strong spring door in a combination mower. hard to do safely without the right bag.

you need to find if your mower is a bagger, mulcher or both.
#6
Old 03-17-2014, 07:09 PM
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Two other things to keep in mind. Bags are typically designed so that little or no air goes out the top of the bag (into your face) and the bracket/frame of the bag, where it connects to the mower (assume your mower is designed to have a bag), may contain magnets or metal in specific spots to trip safeties. Once the door is open, the mower may not operate until the bag is in place, a homemade bag may not work.

FWIW, you'll be able to tell pretty quickly if the mower is designed to have a bag. Most of them are and have a big plastic flap on the bag that lifts up. If you pull it up you'll see the ground and the blade under the deck.

Last edited by Joey P; 03-17-2014 at 07:09 PM.
#7
Old 03-17-2014, 07:11 PM
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One last thing, unless the grass is REALLY long, like more then, say, 8 inches, just set the mower deck up higher and mow the grass, then drop it and mow it again and keep doing that until you get it where you want it.
Even if that means doing it over the course of a few days or a week.

Besides, even if you bag your grass, you don't want to lop off too much at once.
#8
Old 03-17-2014, 07:31 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Midwest USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesseract View Post
I need to mow the lawn. For some strange reason my husband bought a mower without a bag attachment. Will I be trying out for Darwin Awards if I try to just fashion some sort of bag behind the mower to catch the grass? It's really long and I don't want to have to clean up the grass behind the mower. I know we need to get the actual bag that should go with the mower, but my question is more simple - can I/should I try to put a bag there myself and somehow attach it? Is that ridiculously idiotic or reasonable? What could possibly go wrong?
What could go wrong?

1) The bag could fall off and get caught in the blade damaging the mower.
2) The bag could fall off and get caught in the blade and fly apart, injuring YOU.
3) Same as 1 & 2,except it injures someone else.
4) The bag simply doesn't work

The owners manual for the type of mower you own will tell you if yours can use a bag. Bags are $200-300 at MOST for a new one and often far cheaper for a used one (check online sites for this). It would be best to use this.
#9
Old 03-17-2014, 07:34 PM
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You have at least 3 different ways to deal with grass clipping on mowers. You can bag, generally discharging the grass through the rear. Or you can buy a mower that discharges the cut grass to the side, but doesn't mulch it. Or you can buy a mulching mower that just drops the clippings back onto the lawn below the mower (no side or rear discharge), or sometimes discharges the mulched clippings to the side. Having a rear panel doesn't mean it isn't a mulching mower - you can definitely buy mowers that can be operated either with a bag or with the panel closed as a mulching mower.
Edit to add, I can't think of any good reason to use a bag mower over a mulching mower long term. Sometimes if you have a grass disease maybe you want to take away the clippings, but otherwise the clippings provide fertilizer for your lawn.

Last edited by jacobsta811; 03-17-2014 at 07:35 PM.
#10
Old 03-18-2014, 04:13 AM
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Interesting - so good to know all of that. Thanks for the information. I will update after I figure out the plan.
#11
Old 03-18-2014, 09:00 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The High Plains
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Besides, even if you bag your grass, you don't want to lop off too much at once.
True.

The rule of thumb is, don't cut off more than a third of grass blades at a time, or you will harm the roots.
#12
Old 03-18-2014, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
What could go wrong?

1) The bag could fall off and get caught in the blade damaging the mower.
2) The bag could fall off and get caught in the blade and fly apart, injuring YOU.
3) Same as 1 & 2,except it injures someone else.
4) The bag simply doesn't work

The owners manual for the type of mower you own will tell you if yours can use a bag. Bags are $200-300 at MOST for a new one and often far cheaper for a used one (check online sites for this). It would be best to use this.
Better than buying a $200 bag just buy a new mower that comes with a bag for $200 - probably cheaper if you wait for a sale. In my experience these no frills mowers are adequate for small (i.e. most people's) lots.
#13
Old 03-18-2014, 10:47 AM
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What mower model are you talking about?
#14
Old 03-18-2014, 10:52 AM
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Re: Mulching mowers.

My cheap Craftsman mower came with a bag. I never use it. There is a door on the back of the mower. When the bag is attached, the door is open. When the bag is off, the door is closed and the clippings are mulched. I've never heard the blade being called a 'mulching blade'. If it is one, then it seems a 'mulching blade' works well as a 'regular blade'.
#15
Old 03-18-2014, 11:03 AM
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there are also combination blades for mowers that are a compromise between mulching and bagging so that you don't have to switch blades with function. a mulching blade creates lots of air turbulence to keep the clippings in the air until they are chopped to small bits. a bagger blade cuts and streams the grass out the discharge chute.

if you only mulch then get a mulching blade when you need a replacement.
#16
Old 03-18-2014, 12:52 PM
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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As long as you can cut the pieces into dime size or smaller, it doesn't really matter if you're cutting grass or leaves your lawn will be healthier if you leave it in place. If you can't cut grass that small you should probably be mowing more often anyway.
#17
Old 03-18-2014, 01:01 PM
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If you're really going to try to DIY some sort of bag - aside from numerous safety issues - first is don't think of it as a "bag."

Factory made bags are more like a catching screen than a bag. The blades create a fan effect that blows (along with the grass) lots of air. Lots. Any bag needs to have enough ventilation (holes, like a screen) to allow the air through it while still catching the grass.

Trying to rig something like that DIY that's reasonably safe is probably going to be more work than just raking the yard after you mow it - even mowing it twice.
#18
Old 03-18-2014, 04:40 PM
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Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
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Another advantage of mulching is that you can mulch dead leaves in the fall. It's much easier than raking or blowing, and adds nutrients to the lawn.
#19
Old 03-18-2014, 05:35 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguyjeff View Post
If you're really going to try to DIY some sort of bag - aside from numerous safety issues - first is don't think of it as a "bag."

Factory made bags are more like a catching screen than a bag. The blades create a fan effect that blows (along with the grass) lots of air. Lots. Any bag needs to have enough ventilation (holes, like a screen) to allow the air through it while still catching the grass.

Trying to rig something like that DIY that's reasonably safe is probably going to be more work than just raking the yard after you mow it - even mowing it twice.
And there's certainly more to a bag than just the fabric. All the ones I've ever seen have at least a rigid heavy-wire frame (in the case of mine, something like 2/0 gauge wire) that holds the top of the bag up (so air can vent), supports the bottom (which is a plastic sheet, not cloth), and locks into a hook scheme that holds the bag inlet on the mower outlet while holding the outlet cover door open. (Cuz the mower is one of those mulch/bag convertibles.)

I've heard nothing about fabricating a frame, and a limp bag almost certainly won't work.
#20
Old 03-18-2014, 09:41 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Mine came with a bag, but I left it off. I've always been told that the grass clippings were good to leave behind. I would assume if it didn't come with a bag it doesn't need one.
#21
Old 03-19-2014, 03:33 AM
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Location: Western Colorado
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If it is to be a one time operation, just rent a mower with a bag. You could hire it done one time considering the time and money in materials you will spend making a bagging system yourself. Your safety has got to be worth something.

OTOH, if you just HAVE to make one, I suggest that you go look at one in the store. That will give you an idea as to how it should be done. Look at both the materials and the construction methods.
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