Lawn Mulching: The benefits and what you need to consider
If you’re into your garden, then you’ve probably heard of the term ‘Mulching’. For those of you who don’t, mulching refers to a method of cutting your lawn where instead of collecting the grass clippings, the cuttings are chopped finely and returned to the lawn to act as an organic fertilizer.
Some mowers on the market are dedicated mulching mowers and are designed specifically for this, others can be converted with the purchase of a mulching plug.
So… what are the benefits?
As mentioned, the returned clippings lawn on the top of the lawn decomposes to release nutrients and moisture back into the lawn. This not only improves lawn health but also eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers and allows for a safer lawn, particularly for those with pets and children.
Protection during hot periods
A blade of grass is 80% water and returning these clippings to the lawn provides the grass with a water reserve during hot periods preventing the grass from drying out quicker and lowering your maintenance requirements.
If you aren’t a fan of clearing up your grass clippings or emptying your collector, then this is a method to consider.
Although you may hear that mulching mowers are a larger investment, with a lot of mowers now coming with the option of purchasing an additional mulching plug to convert a collecting mower to also mulch, this is not necessarily true. It also saves money on synthetic fertilizer which if you are using them frequently can rack up quite a cost.
Reduces lawn thatch
Despite some assumptions that the clippings lead to a buildup of thatch, this isn’t necessarily true. This is due to the frequent mowing and no risk of overfertilizing. This risk is only a reality if you attempt to mulch overgrown grass.
Elimination of the use of chemical fertilizers prevents waste from being washed into water supplies as well as the use of plastic packaging.
There are battery-operated mowers with the option for a mulching plug to allow for a mulching function, meaning you also have the opportunity to mow with zero direct emissions.
Like everything, there are pros and cons. If you are considering mulching your lawn then being knowledgeable of things to avoid is essential to obtaining optimal results. So, what should you consider?
Mowing when wet
This is best to avoid, not just for mulching but for mowing in general. Mowing a wet lawn leads to clumping which leads to clogging, and this can cause unnecessary strain on your mower and end up taking a lot longer to mow and a higher risk of damage to your mower. Specifically, with mulching, the clumping will mean that the cuttings will not be dispersed properly onto the lawn.
Frequent mowing is required
Depending on your current mowing schedule, this may lead to no change on your behalf. However, if you tend to let your grass grow particularly long before digging the mower out, this is something to consider. Mulching works better on shorter grass with light clippings.
Ever considered robotic mowers?
If you want to reap the benefits of mulching without any of the hard work then you should consider robotic mowers. They cut the lawn with a more precise cut than a traditional mower and return the clippings to the lawn. They do this frequently and so mulching overgrown grass will never be an issue, you can schedule them not to mow in bad weather conditions and they will mow as frequently as you want without you having to do any of the hard work.
Can be messy
If you’re someone who uses their lawn frequently for hosting events, dogs, and kids playing then it can get messy. The clippings are just lying on your lawn and while they will decompose in a short period they will still get picked up on shoes and clothes. Mulching longer lawns can add to this stress.
Mulching if your grass is full of or prone to weeds can lead to the weeds spreading. Cutting up and returning these weeds to your lawn ultimately means you are spreading the spores over the rest of your lawn. However, simple prevention to this is just to remove the weeds beforehand.
The right tools for the right job.
Having the right mower will aid in making mulching simple. Although there are dedicated mulching mowers available, most experts recommend one which both mulches and collects for the domestic user so in case you have to mow your lawn when it’s wet or if your grass has an unusual number of weeds, then you can simply return to collecting.
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