You may have heard people talking about mulching their grass or mulch mowing but what the heck does that mean? Mulching is a form of mower discharge just like bagging and side-discharge; however, mulch mowing finely chops the grass clippings and returns them straight to the top of the soil. The grass clippings are referred to as ‘mulch.’ The mulch will help to protect the grass underneath and return key nutrients to the soil. Mulching your lawn DOES NOT contribute to thatch. Mulch quickly decomposes as it consists of about 80-90 percent water.
How Does Mulching Work?
Mulching is done using a special blade (or blade system) called a mulch (or mulching) blade. Some mowers require an entire kit to be installed to modify the deck. Mulch blades cut the grass finer than traditional blades by recycling the grass through the mower. The clippings will spin around the deck, coming in contact with the blade(s) multiple times. The mower then discharges the clippings directly onto the soil.
Should You Mulch?
ABSOLUTELY! (with a few caveats of course)
Mulch mowing is fantastic for lawn health and can greatly increase the available nutrients. However, if you decide to mulch your lawn, you have to keep up with mowing. Leaving excessive amounts of clippings on the soil can discolor or even kill parts of your lawn. Remember, you only want to cut about a third of your grass’ height. (Oh… you haven’t read our article to improve your mowing? Check it out here.)
You should always bag the first couple mows of the season until the grass is cut to height. In addition, you should bag the last cut of the season because leaving clippings on the soil when decomposition is slow can actually damage the lawn you work so hard to maintain.
Additional Fall Time Tips
Fall can be tricky when it comes to lawn care, especially mowing. When the leaves first start to fall, consider mulching them along with your grass. The leaves can aid in releasing nutrients to the soil and create a healthy thatch. However, as fall progresses, DO NOT continue to mulch leaves and other fall debris. You should rake, blow, or vacuum any leaves if you plan on mulching your grass. Leaves will not break down as quickly as the grass clippings, so continuing to add them to the soil will cause thatch buildup. Alternatively, you can bag your grass and cut the debris up with it.