Are you tired of constantly bagging grass clippings and spending money on fertilizers, just to keep your lawn looking fresh and healthy? I know I was! But, what if I told you there’s a smarter way to maintain your lawn without all the hassle? A Mulching Lawn Mower!
This comprehensive guide will take you through everything you need to know about mulching lawnmowers and how they can make your lawn-mowing experience more efficient, convenient, and enjoyable. Say goodbye to the laborious experience of traditional lawnmowers and say hello to a perfectly manicured lawn with minimal effort.
Table of Contents
What is a Mulching Mower?
A mulching mower is a type of mower that finely chops grass clipping and leaves into small pieces and then ejects them back onto the lawn. These tiny clippings contain 90% water and have transformed into little pieces: they dry up quickly and provide organic nutrients to the soil.
Mulching mowers are very useful in landscaping and lawn maintenance because they provide a natural, sustainable way to fertilize the lawn. This earth-friendly landscape maintenance is good for lawn health and lessens the burden of dumping debris on mower bags.
And to add even more value, this method offers you the benefit of cost-free landscape maintenance by utilizing your lawn clippings as a natural fertilizer.
Types of Mulching Mowers
Mulching mowers or recycling mowers are typical of three types based on their power source:
- Electric Or corded
- Cordless or Battery
Gas-powered Mulching Mowers
Gas-powered mowers are the conventional type of mower that is powerful enough to chop the grass continuously to convert them into bits of beneficial nutrients for your soil.
But they are pricey, difficult to start, and soon obsolete. Honda has stopped manufacturing gas-powered lawnmowers, and California has already announced to ban the sale of gas-powered mowers in 2025 due to their health hazards.
Corded Electric Mulching Mowers
Corded electric mulching mowers use electricity as their power source and have a mulching attribute that finely chops up the grass clippings and distributes them back onto the lawn as a natural fertilizer.
Electric mulching mowers are far better than gasoline mowers because they are no-brainer machines that require almost no maintenance and no complicated start. These tools are eco-friendly, lighter, and portable as well.
The only drawback is their limitation of mobility and range due to the need for a power outlet.
Battery-powered Mulching Mowers
The most popular and eco-friendly option to maintain your lawn is a battery-operated mulching lawn mower that uses batteries to provide power to run the device and mulch the grass. These tools do not produce any emissions or unpleasant noises.
Additionally, these tools are lighter, portable, and easy to maintain. One of the most outstanding features is that they don’t need to refuel or store gas. While mulching with battery-powered mowers is an excellent choice for its eco-friendliness, there is one caveat to keep in mind: the batteries require recharging, which limits the duration of continuous use compared to their gas and electric counterparts.
Varieties of Mulching Mowers
There are several varieties of mulching mowers available on the market. Here are some common ones:
Push Mulching mowers
These traditional push mowers are those mowers that have mulching blades to cut the grass and then cut them again and again until they are tiny enough to decompose easily to provide nutrients to the soil.
Self-driven Mulching Mowers
Self-driven mulching mowers don’t require your force to propel them. These mowers have blades to mulch the grass and disperse them back onto the lawn.
Riding Mulching Mowers
You can also use mulching riding mowers to keep your lawn pristine and healthy. The mulching blades are usually preinstalled on riding mowers, but in some cases, you need to verify the manufacturer’s specifications to see if you need to purchase the kit separately.
Leaf Mulching Mowers
Leaf mulching mowers are specifically designed for mulching leaves. These mowers can mulch at odd places and have enough power and sharp blades to deal with leaves, sticks, and clips on the lawn.
Mulching Mower VS Regular Mower?
|Mulching Mower||Regular Mower|
|The mulching system cuts grass into fine pieces||Standard blade system that cuts grass into clippings|
|The grass clippings are finely cut and left on the lawn as mulch||The mower discharges grass clippings|
|Mulched grass provides natural fertilizer for the lawn||Clippings can be collected and used as fertilizer|
|Some models have the option to bag clippings||Standard bagging option for collecting clippings|
|The mulched lawn has a neat and tidy appearance||The lawn may have visible clippings|
|It needs more maintenance to keep the blades sharp||It needs regular blade sharpening and cleaning|
|More expensive than regular mowers||Less expensive than mulching mowers|
|No need to dispose of clippings||Clippings may need to be disposed of.|
|Mulched grass provides nutrients for the lawn||Clippings can smother the lawn if not collected regularly|
|Quieter than regular mowers||It may be noisy, depending on the model|
Pros and Cons of Mulching Mower
Here are some pros and cons of mulching mowers that you should consider before buying one.
- Reintroduce essential nutrients to the soil: Organic materials like leaves, grass clipping, and wood chips decompose over time and release nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to promote plant growth and health.
- Reduces fertilizer expenses: Using mulching mowers can reduce your annual fertilizer need by up to 25%. Besides, they can improve soil health by increasing organic matter, reducing soil compaction, and encouraging beneficial microorganisms growth, reducing fertilizer needs.
- Time-efficient: Using a mulching mower can eliminate the need for bagging and disposal of grass clippings, which is a time- and money-consuming activity.
- Eco-friendly: It reduces the environmental impact of yard waste and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, they reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers and help conserve water by retaining moisture in the soil.
- Deck obstruction: Deck obstruction may be a potential con of mulching when mulch is piled too high or too close to the deck. It can promote the growth of mold. The growth of mold can be encouraged due to moisture and clumping of grass.
- Thatch accumulation: Excessive thatch build-up can lead to excessive moisture retention, preventing air and nutrients from reaching the grassroots.
Also Read: Best Electric Lawn Mowers for Your Garden
How Does a Mulching Mower Work?
A mulching mower works by cutting grass and then finely chopping it into small pieces. The finely chopped grass is then distributed over the lawn, providing nutrients to the soil and helping to keep the property healthy and lush.
The mulching mower has several blades that spin at high speeds and cut the grass into tiny pieces. These pieces are then ejected from the mower through a discharge chute.
The mulch produced by the mower helps to retain moisture in the lawn, as well as to prevent weeds from growing. The mulching mower also helps to reduce the number of grass clippings that need to be disposed of, as they are recycled back into the lawn.
Before you use a mulching lawn mower, remember:
Whether you’re a novice or a professional, remember to remember these things.
Don’t Mow Wet Grass
It’s recommended to allow the grass to dry out before mowing. Otherwise, clippings will clump together and not be evenly distributed on the lawn.
Follow the One-third Rule
Mow at Appropriate Heights
Setting your mower at an appropriate height is worth it. Different grass types require different mowing heights to thrive. For instance, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia require a lower cutting height (1-3 inches)during summer to help reduce moisture loss. On the other hand, cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue require a higher cutting height(2.5-3 in fall & spring and 3.5 in summer) to help promote deeper root growth and increase drought tolerance.
Consult Your Local Cooperative Extension Office
Your local cooperative extension office can provide valuable information on optimal mowing techniques and lawn care practices for your region and grass type. They can also recommend the best time of day to mow, how often to mow, and how to manage lawn diseases and pests.
Consider Lawn Thickness
Choose a mower with enough power for your lawn’s density to avoid straining the machine and to ensure a clean and even cut.
Keep the Mower Blade Sharp
Sharp blade ensures the maintenance of a healthy and vibrant lawn. While a dull mower blade can tear the grass, leaving ragged edges more susceptible to disease and insect damage.
Explore Various Blade-sharpening Tools
There are several ways to sharpen a mower blade, including using a file, hand grinder, bench grinder, or sharpening stone attachment for your cordless drill. Selecting a technique that suits both you and your mower to achieve optimal results is crucial.
How to Use a Mulching Lawn Mower?
Operating a mulching lawn mower involves following these steps:
Prepare Your Lawn
Don’t jump straight to start mowing the lawn without clearing it. Remove any sticks, rocks, pebbles, or debris to prevent damage to the mower or any accidents.
Set the Mower Height
Setting the mower height according to the grass type and season is crucial; it can make or break your mowing game.
Prep the Mower
Check your tool’s oil and fuel levels before use, clean or replace air filters, sharpen the blades, and thoroughly clean your mower. Make sure the mower has no technical issues.
Choose the Right Setting
Adjust the mower according to the types of grass and season you mow. If you need more knowledge of lawn equipment, you can seek advice from a local maintenance expert or research from your fellow gardeners or online to achieve the best results.
Start the Mower
Start your mower according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on your mower type, it can be done by pulling a cord or turning a key. Make sure you’re dealing with it from a safe distance and operating the tool in a secure area. Most importantly, there should be no bystanders who could be injured by flying debris or any other hazards.
Mow the Lawn
Start mowing by trimming the outer edges(using a string trimmer or edger, if you don’t have a string trimmer, get yourself the Best Walk Behind String Trimmers in 2023 here) for a clean and neat appearance. Then cover the inward areas to ensure you’re getting all the inch.
For a professional-look lawn, you can use the criss-cross technique by mowing in one direction across the whole yard and then in the opposite direction and repeating the process until you’re done. It will help to get an evenly cut lawn with evenly distributed mulch. Read 5 Tips to Mow Your Lawn Like a Professional.
Look out for the Obstacles
For safe and hassle-free operation, beware of potential obstacles; walk around the lawn to remove any large rocks, sticks, toys, pine cones, acorns, plastics, or any debris that can cause damage to the mower or may harm you if struck and strikes you.
Mulch the Grass
After cutting, activate the mulching function; it will mince the clipping into the minute and easily degradable parts to transform them into nutrients and redistribute them onto the lawn.
If you have a zero-turn lawn mower and you fancy learning more about them, here you go:
Are Zero Turn Mowers Dangerous?
Are Zero Turn Mowers good on hills?
How long do zero turn mowers last?
7 best small zero turn mowers for your garden
When Should You Refrain from Mulching Grass Clippings?
Although mulching benefits your lawn, you can’t do it any time. Here are some certain scenarios when you should avoid mulching grass clippings:
Weeds Producing Seeds
If your lawn has weeds that have produced seeds, it is best to avoid mulching. Otherwise, it will disperse the weeds across the yard.
To eliminate weeds from your lawn, read 8 best ways to remove weeds permanently
Over 50% of Leaf Coverage
Excessive leaves and litter and grass mulch will harm the lawn rather than any good. So make sure to remove excess leaves and grass clipping to prevent blockage of sunlight and air from reaching the grass to avoid yellowing and disease grass.
Ideally, if any portion of your lawn is infected with molds, you should only perform mulching once the disease has been treated, otherwise, it will spread the infection.
Is it possible to repurpose my existing mower for Grass clipping recycling?
Repurposing a regular lawn mower for grass clipping recycling can greatly reduce waste and create a natural fertilizer for your lawn or garden. It is possible using the following methods.
- Installing a mulching blade to chop up grass clippings
- Add a grass catcher to the back of the lawn mower to collect the grass clippings and then use them as compost or natural mulch.
- Attaching a compost bin, you can also convert it into a composting machine.
- A chip shredder can also be used for grinding up the grass clippings.
- By installing a bagger to collect the grass clippings.
Mulching lawnmowers are an excellent investment for any lawn care enthusiast. And if you want to know your tool thoroughly, especially if you’re starting in lawn care, you should go through this complete guide on mulching lawnmowers. In this article, I have discussed everything, including the types of mowers, a glimpse into mulching mowers vs regular mowers, how mulching mowers work, how they can be operated, and the best tips and tricks to utilize your tool.
You can maintain a lush, healthy lawn while minimizing the impact on the environment by following this guide’s tips and guidelines. So, whether you’re an experienced lawn care professional or just starting, a mulching lawn mower is a valuable tool to make your lawn care routine more efficient and effective.
Can mulching mowers manage tall grass?
Usage of a mulching mower on overgrown grass may cause clogging of the grass under the deck, but it also varies with the height of the grass, the type of mower, and the type and condition of the mowing blade.
When should I mulch my lawn?
The best time to mulch your lawn may vary, including factors like the type of grass, climate conditions in your area, and the current conditions in your yard. In general, the ideal time for mulching is spring and fall. However, you can also mulch in summer to retain moisture if your lawn is drying.
Why does my mulching mower leave behind grass clumps?
If your mulching mower is leaving clumps behind, these may be the possible reason:
- Too long grass
- Dull or damaged mower blades
- Mower is too fast
- Moist grass
Is it okay to use fresh grass clippings as mulch?
Using fresh grass clipping as mulch is beneficial because it cools down the root zone, conserves moisture, and adds up to 25% of organic nutrients. But ensure you apply them in thin layers; otherwise, it will limit water and air circulation.