Mulching vs Collecting – Which is Better?
If you have a lawn, it will require regular mowing. This means the clippings have tog go somewhere. On the other hand, mulching means that the clippings will remain on the lawn to decompose over time. But which is better? This blog will identify the key advantages and disadvantages to both methods.
What is Mulching and How Does it Work?
Many experts say that mulching is the best method of cutting your grass. Mulching will leave your clippings on the lawn, which will save you time and energy. A mulching blade has a totally different design to a grass collection blade and will cut and then re-cut the grass clippings into tiny particles. These tiny particles are then blown downwards into the lawn and out of site. Within hours of being cut, these small slithers of grass will break down and deposit key nutrients (i.e. nitrogen, potash and phosphate) back into the lawn allowing micro-organisms and worms to take these nutrients back into the soil, encouraging a healthier lawn.
A recent study showed that a typical half-acre lawn can produce up to 4.5 tonnes of grass clippings each season. Up to 55kg of nitrogen can be contained within those clippings. If you were to use a mulching mower, this wasted nitrogen is enough to keep your lawn as healthy and good looking as any commercial fertiliser. Mulching also benefits your lawn as the lawn receives a steady natural diet rather than occasional high doses of chemical fertilisers. Grass clippings also contain other natural elements like iron, calcium and magnesium which all help your lawn to be healthier and more productive.
To get the best results with mulching, it is best to treat your mulching deck as a giant blender. If you were to put too much food into a blender, you would not get the best result and there would still be un-blended food. This is like a mulching mower. If you maintain your lawn to one inch but you were to return off holiday and your lawn was three inches high, your first cut should remove one third of the height. This would remove one inch of height and leave you with two inches left to cut. At this point, you can lower the deck to your normal cutting height and re-mow the lawn. This method of cutting will ensure you achieve a great finish and mulch all grass.
Should I Collect My Clippings?
Some homeowners feel that collecting their grass clippings leaves them with a cleaner appearance than mulching. If you mow your lawn less frequently and your clippings are long, it is best to collect them. This is because large clumps of grass that are left sitting on your lawn can rot and kill the live grass that is living underneath it. This can leave you with a patchy finish.
When you collect your clipping, your lawnmower will traditionally discharge the clippings out of the rear of the machine. These clippings will then be collected in the rear mounted collection bag. Once the bag is full you will be required to dispose of them, whether you add them to a compost heap or dispose of them with the rest of your household waste.
However, when you collect and remove these clippings from your lawn, it may even be counterproductive to growing a healthy lawn. We covered the advantages to leaving your clippings on the lawn earlier on in this blog but by removing them and disposing of them, you are removing a natural fertiliser which will encourage a healthy lawn.
After looking at both the advantages and disadvantages to mulching and collecting your grass clippings, we recommend mulching. Mulching is a great way to return vital nutrients back to your lawn, without having to buy expensive chemical fertilisers. When you collect your grass clippings you are required to make multiple trips back and forth to dispose of them, whereas with mulching they are deposited on to your lawn with no extra effort required. If you regularly cut your lawn mulching is great as it’s quick and easy but if you rarely cut your lawn and it has grown quite long, mulching may be time consuming as you will have to cut it multiple times to avoid blocking the mower or clumps of grass.
Whether you want to collect or mulch your lawn, Owen Garden Machinery offers a range of electric, battery, petrol, robotic and ride-on mowers which can achieve your desired finish to your lawn. If you already own a mower, we offer a range of lawnmower conversion kits and ride-on conversion kits which allow you to mulch your grass using your existing mower. If you require any more information on mulching or any type of mowers, give one of our friendly sales team a call who are always happy to answer any of your questions.