Are you mowing, watering, and fertilizing your lawn at the same time? Believe it or not, you may already be doing it. Grass blades are composed of about 85% water, with other organic matter and nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, making up the rest. If you leave clippings on the yard after mowing, you've fed and watered it with no extra work required.
Leaving the clippings in the yard is almost always best, but in some situations, you may choose to bag them. We'll go over the pros and cons of each and let you decide.
All mowers are capable of discharging and will have a chute on the side or back for grass clippings to exit. The difference in mulching and discharging is in the chute (and blades). If you have a mulching kit to plug the chute, the cut grass blades will recirculate inside the deck, allowing them to be cut into finer pieces. They will eventually make their way back down into your lawn.
Most mowers should be capable of mulching. With a push mower, it's as simple as covering the discharge chute. If you're looking for a riding mower to mulch with, consider the John Deere MulchControl Kit. It allows the discharge chute to be opened or closed with ease. This kit is available for mowers with High-Capacity, Accel Deep, and Edge Cutting System decks. These decks can be found on the John Deere 100 Series, S240 Series, X300 Series, X500 Series, X700 Series, Z300 Series, and Z500 Series mowers. The one-touch option for the MulchControl kit (allowing it to be switched on/off from the seat) can be found on John Deere X300 and X500 Select Series lawn tractors.
We recommend using a set of mulching blades to help with circulation and cutting. These blades should be kept sharp so the mower doesn't have to work too hard. For tips on sharpening blades, check out our guide on sharpening vs buying blades.
Mulching is great, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. You may decide to bag clippings for a variety of reasons. The most common is when the yard is several inches tall and clippings cover the lawn, preventing nutrients from reaching the grass below. Around fall when leaves start to cover your lawn, having a bagger around will save some time raking. If you notice signs of disease, you may want to collect the clippings to prevent it from spreading. You could also have a compost pile for clippings.
Be sure to check local and state laws if you decide to bag and dispose of clippings.
Bagging yard clippings or leaves with a rake can take a while. You can save time and effort by using a material collection system (MCS). Material collection systems are available for John Deere 100 Series, S240 Series, X300 Series, X500 Series, X700 Series, Z300 Series, and Z500 Series mowers. Honda HRN Series, HRX Series, and HRC Series push mowers and all STIHL battery mowers come with a bag attachment. Any blades should work when bagging, but if you want finer pieces, you should use a mulching blade.
Most of the time, mulching your clippings is the best option. You should bag your clippings if the grass is tall, leaves are covering the lawn, or you need to prevent disease and weeds from spreading.
Whether you're mulching or bagging, Hutson has the right tools for the job. If you need help finding the right equipment, give us a call or visit one of our stores.