Creating a perfect lawn requires a lot of thought and work, from choosing the right grass for your location, to calculating the right amounts of seed and fertilizer. Less-dramatic measures are important too, from using a mulching lawnmower – such as Toro's highly regarded Recycler models – to mowing at the correct height. Toro Recycler height settings are simple to understand and use, so determining your correct mowing height will be the bigger issue.
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Toro Recycler Height Settings
There are a couple of ways to design the way a mower raises and lowers its mowing deck, each with their strengths and weaknesses. One is to construct the mowing deck separately from its wheels and chassis, so the entire deck can be raised and lowered with a single lever. This is quick and convenient for the operator, but it makes construction more complex: if the mechanism breaks or jams, it can mean a costly repair.
The other option is to allow the wheels themselves to be ratcheted up or down, to bring the deck to its desired height. This requires a few extra steps from the operator, but it has the advantage of mechanical simplicity. If one wheel (or its adjustment lever) should fail, it's relatively quick and easy to replace. Toro opts for this second arrangement on its Recycler mowers, whether gas- or electric-powered.
Adjusting the Recycler Mower Height Settings
As you look at your mower from behind (in other words, in a normal mowing position), you'll see a lever situated immediately behind each wheel. These are the levers that control the height of your mowing deck. Depending on the model you own, these will have as many as seven possible settings. Your options will range from a minimum of 1 1/4 inches – about as low as you can go without scalping your lawn – to a maximum of 4 inches on some models.
To adjust the mowing height of your Recycler:
Step 1: First, Stop Mowing
Stop mowing, and switch off your mower (if you haven't yet started mowing, leave it turned off). Wait for the blades to stop spinning; momentum will keep them turning for a few moments. You wouldn't ordinarily reach under the deck to adjust the height, so the risk to your fingers is minimal, but the blades can still injure you if you slip.
Step 2: Choose a Height
Look at the height settings on your mower. The lever behind the wheel will have several clearly marked settings to choose from. Pick the mark that indicates your chosen mowing height. If you're not sure which setting that is, consult your manual or look up your model on Toro's website.
Step 3: Adjust the Height Lever
Move the height lever to the setting you've chosen. The deck will lower as you move the lever toward the front of your mower, and raise as you move the lever in the direction of the push handle at the rear.
Step 4: Repeat Your Adjustment
Circle the mower and repeat the process, setting each of the four wheels to the same height. Double-check them before you resume mowing.
Step 5: Resume Your Mowing
Restart your mower, and continue mowing (or begin, if you hadn't yet).
If you have a gas-powered Recycler, and have already been mowing, the muffler will be hot enough to cause a painful burn. Be mindful of the muffler's location as you circle the mower and adjust the wheels, and take care not to brush against it with an arm or leg.
Correct Height for Mowing
Your Toro Recycler height settings also need to account for your specific type of grass, because there's not a universally appropriate height that works for all grass varieties. Bermuda grass and zoysia do well at 1 to 1 1/2 inches, for example, while tall fescue or buffalo grass might flourish better at 3 inches or more.
You shouldn't take off more than 1/3 of the grass' height in a single day's mowing, so once you know your ideal mowing height, you can work backward from that. If your best height is 2 inches, for example, don't let your grass grow to more than 3 inches before mowing. Otherwise, you'll need to make two passes, starting at a greater height and then lowering to 2 inches.