Can You Put a Bagger on a Zero-turn Mower?

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Tired of raking grass clippings every time you cut your lawn? Is your yard covered with grass and other debris? Do you need a golf course clean lawn?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then a bagger, also known as a grass catcher, will come in handy. It’ll collect all the grass clippings, leaves, and any other debris in your yard.

Can You Put a Bagger on a Zero-turn Mower?

Yes. You can put a bagger on a zero-turn mower. In fact, there are numerous bagging systems explicitly designed for ZTRs. Some of the most common are a two-bucket design, three-bucket design, and triple catchers. The best one for you will depend on the model of your device and your preferences.

Besides a bagger, you can also attach a wide range of other attachments to your zero-turn mower, such as a lawn dethatcher, dump cart, plug aerator, sprayer, and more.

While some models will come with a hitch, others require you to add it yourself. In such a case, choose one whose hole matches the ball on your mower. Other designs need you to attach an adapter kit before you can attach any attachments.

Zero-turn Mower Bagger Systems

Please note that zero-turn mowers are optimized for speed and maneuverability. They are quick and will make mowing around obstacles such as flower beds and trees a breeze. However, these machines are not recommended for heavy towing. See Can you tow with zero-turn mowers for more information.

If you want to attach a grass catcher, ensure that you only tow the recommended weight. That’s because a ZTR’s transmission isn’t strong enough for pulling heavy weights.

Also, remember that ZTRs are not correctly balanced. Most of their weight is behind, and adding more weight makes the mower quite unstable. You will need to buy and attach counterweights in the front of your z-turn mower, which is quite costly.

Do Zero-turn Mowers Have Baggers?

Yes. Grass catchers are available for both residential and commercial zero-turn mowers. Emptying most z-turn grass catchers is a breeze.

Reasons Why Your Bagger is Not Picking up Grass

Sometimes, you may notice a trail of uncollected grass clippings, leaves, and debris, even with a bagger system on your mower. As with any human-made machine, zero-turn mower bagger system malfunctions are not uncommon.

Here we’ll discuss the main reasons for the malfunction of a zero-turn mower bagger system.

  • Wet Grass

Did you have an unexpected downpour during mow day? You might have to wait a few hours or days until the grass is dry. But what if the project has to be completed on that particular day?

Well, in such a case, we highly recommend that you switch your bagging system to a mulching unit. That’s because, unlike dry grass that easily and quickly slides through the mower chute, wet lawn chippings tend to stick and collect to the sides. Eventually, they may cause blockage on your bagger system.

Damp grass is also heavier than dry grass, making it more challenging to propel into your grass catcher. See Can you mow the lawn in the rain for more information.

  • Driving the Z-turn Mower Too Fast

Considering the high-speed capabilities of a residential z-turn mower, it can be tempting to cruise as fast as possible. However, if you are driving too fast, the grass catcher may not keep up with the speed at which the cutting blades are rotating. 

Always test out a few speeds to establish the optimum speed that allows the grass collector to collect all the grass clippings. Learn how to drive your zero-turn mower the right way.

  • Clogs and Snags

As stated earlier, wet grass tends to stick and collect on the sides of the chute. Eventually, these clippings may build up into a clog. Another common cause of clogs is debris collected when mowing.

Also, if a part or parts of the grass catcher system is out of alignment, a snag may form. This snag can catch grass and slowly clog the bagging system.

  • An Improperly-fitted Bagger System

Ensure that your bagging system is compatible with your ZTR’s model. It should also be appropriately fitted, leaving no gaps behind. Otherwise, grass may gradually develop a clog around the improperly fitted sections or be blown out through the openings.

How to Install a Bagger on a Zero-turn mower

do zero turn mowers have baggers

One of the causes of the bagger’s malfunction is an improperly-fitted bagger system. How can you avoid this? By ensuring your grass catcher is installed correctly, always. Below I’ll share a quick step-by-step guide on how to install a bagging system on a zero-turn mower.

  1. Prepare your Zero-turn Mower

Ensure that your z-turn mower is on a level surface. Allow your engine to cool, remove the ignition wire, and engage the parking gear. By doing so, you are minimizing any chances of accidental starts.

  1. Install Weights

Because installing a grass catcher interferes with the weight distribution and balance of your ZTR, the first and vital step is to install weights at the front part of the mower.

Begin by removing each of the two bolts at the front side of the mower’s frame. Now install the left and right weight mounting brackets. Place the weights on these brackets and secure them properly.

  1. Install the Attachment Mounts

Start by installing the stabilizer bracket. This step may not be necessary for some older models. The next step is to attach the pivot frame of your ZTR. Check your operator’s manual for a detailed guide as this may vary from one brand and model to the next.

  1. Install your Grass Catcher

Begin by fitting the bagger screen securely into its rightful place. Now place the bagger onto the frame and attach it to the brackets. Hang your collection bags on the hanger. The hanger should be secured with the provided nuts and bolts, as per the user manual. Finally, lower the bagger top to cover the collection bags.

  1. Install a Cutoff Baffle

Some zero-turn mowers come pre-installed with a cutoff baffle while it’s absent in others. Confirm whether yours has it or if it’s lacking. If missing, install it now. Again, consult your user menu for installing the same as this may vary from brand to brand.

  1. Attach the Chute to your ZTR’s Deck

Finally, attach the chute to the deck and your discharge tube (if present) to your bagger.

Precautions When Using a Bagger System on a Zero-turn Mower

  • Never mow up a slope with a ZTR with a grass catcher. Instead, if you must mow on sloppy lawns when your z-turn mower has a grass collector, mow down the slope. It is essential that you only make turns with your zero-turn on flat areas because these machines do not handle slopes well, even worse with a bagger attached.
  • Check your engine’s air filter more often than the recommended interval. Dust and other debris usually build up much faster in a zero-turn mower with a bagger than in one without a grass catcher. Inspect it regularly, and clean it as needed.

The Bottom Line

You can install a bagger in a zero-turn mower in a few easy steps, which we have outlined above. A bagger system takes away the tiring work of raking grass off your hands to give you an immaculate lawn.

But remember that a bagger system shifts the weight of a ZTR. Thus, always ensure you’ve attached counterweights on the front side of your mower when installing your bagger.

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EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Lawn Mower. He is a riding mower enthusiast who enjoys spending more time discussing and covering various ride-on mower topics. He has been active in the industry for years comparing models of different ZTR and lawn tractor brands.