Mulching Vs. Bagging: Your Most Common Questions Answered

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When it comes to mowing your lawn the perennial question of what to do with your grass clippings always arises. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cut and dry answer, but will depend upon your unique landscape needs.

In this post we answer your most common questions about how you can decide whether to bag or mulch your lawn clippings.

Is Bagging Grass Clippings Bad for the Environment?

Bagging all of your grass clippings is actually bad for the environment. Over 20% of landfill waste is from yard debris. By collecting your lawn clippings every week and sending them off to the landfill you’re actually taking up valuable landfill space.

Do Grass Clippings Contribute to Lawn Thatch?

Lawn thatch is a layer of both decomposed stems and roots that appears between the grass and the soil. Some people believe this layer is caused from grass clippings, however this isn’t true. Thatch is naturally occurring and mulching doesn’t add to this.

However, if you are having a problem with lawn thatch you can benefit from aerating your lawn each year.

Can Returning Your Clippings to the Lawn Make It Greener?

By returning your lawn clippings to your lawn you can actually make it greener over the long term. By mulching your lawn clippings you’ll end up retuning more nitrogen to the soil. If you’re already on a fertilizer program, then you’ll need to adjust based upon if you mulch or bag your clippings.

Are All Lawn Mowers Are the Same?

When it comes to the type of mower you’re using there’re going to be a few options for you to choose from.

The main types of discharge mowers are side-discharge and mulching mowers. Mulching mowers will chop up the grass clippings small with an added blade. While side discharge mowers will discharge your clippings to the side, and you’ll need to run over the pile multiple times to do your own mulching.

If you’re using a bagging mower, then you’ll need to bag and dump your yard clippings as you mow.

Can Leaving Clippings Across Your Lawn Damage It?

Yes they can. If you don’t mow often enough, or if you leave the clippings in large piles it can actually kill the grass underneath. To combat this you can mow your lawn more frequently during peak growing seasons, so you’re not trimming too much grass at any given time.

Are Grass Clippings Always Safe for Compost?

Depending upon when herbicides and other chemicals were applied to your lawn last, it might not be safe to compost. If you had a lawn care company apply herbicides for you then you’ll want to check with them to see if it’s safe to compost your grass clippings.

You want your compost to be safe and healthy for your lawn and garden, so it’s always better to be sure.

If you have any questions regarding lawn care, then reach out to our team of landscape professionals today.

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