The Benefits of Mulching vs. Bagging Your Grass Clippings
There are few unavoidable facts of life, but this is one of them: you have to mow your lawn, and those grass clippings have to go somewhere. An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to leave their lawn clippings where they fall, allowing them to become natural mulch. Others still choose to bag them up for disposal.
We get asked all the time about the benefits of mulching vs. bagging, and we think there's a good case to be made for either option. Let's get into the pros and cons of mulching vs. bagging, and figure out which is best for your lawn.
The Case for Mulching
Mulching means leaving your grass clippings on your lawn and allowing them to decompose over time. Grass clippings are a great source of natural fertilizer, and mulching allows their vital nutrients (including nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) to be re-absorbed by your living grass. This makes cut grass a perfect fertilizer that is completely natural and completely free. Pretty good deal.
The big thing that scares some homeowners away from mulching their grass is the idea of thatch – a layer of mostly dead turfgrass tissue that lies between the soil below and the living grass above. Theoretically, this layer can choke new growth and harm your lawn. The reality is that leaving grass clippings on your lawn almost never leads to thatch, as long as you mow regularly and avoid cutting the grass when it is wet.
Grass clippings break down fairly quickly, but if you're concerned about the amount of time it takes, you can get a mulching kit for your lawn mower, which will chop up the clippings into tiny pieces that will decompose even more rapidly.
The Case for Bagging
While the connection between mulching and thatch is largely a myth, there are times when bagging up your clippings can be better for your lawn. This is especially true if you don't mow very often, allowing your grass to get high between mowings. This tends to result in large clumps of grass left over after mowing, which can suffocate the grass beneath. In this case, it's better to bag your grass clippings.
On the other hand, if you mow frequently, you might end up with more clippings than your lawn can use, so it's not a bad idea to alternate between bagging and mulching. Bagging is also beneficial in fall, as it helps to collect all the fallen leaves as well as lawn clippings.
Of course, one of the most common reasons to bag up grass clippings is aesthetics. If you're interested in curb appeal and want a clean, consistent look after mowing, bagging up the grass clippings is a good way to keep your lawn looking neat and well-kept. Just be sure to compost or recycle your clippings after bagging them – there's no need to let clippings end up in the landfill. Even if you don't want to mulch them right away, they can be converted to compost that will be great for your garden later on.
Want to learn more about mulching vs. bagging? Looking for a mulching kit or grass catcher for your lawn mower? Contact us to find a Hustler retailer near you, and talk to a lawn care expert today.