the best mowers logo

The Benefits Of Mulching Grass - Should You Mulch Or Not?

Written by William
Last Updated on April 19, 2022

Our Ultimate Guide To Mulching Your Lawn - Is It Worth It?

If you've ever wondered why your neighbour's grass looks so healthy and green, almost like a golf course, then it's probably because they mulch their lawn. 

Mulching is an excellent way to recycle your grass clippings and use them as organic matter on your lawn to help your grass grow. These recycled grass clippings are simply left on the lawn rather than collected.

We've composed a guide below which will cover everything you need to know about mulching your lawn, from how it works and the benefits to when not to mulch your lawn. 

Let's get into it!

What Does Mulching Do? 

Before we can get into why you should mulch with your lawn mower and the advantages of doing so, let's first cover what mulching does and how it works. 

Mulching is simply the act of leaving grass clippings on your lawn rather than collecting them in your grass box, mulching allows these grass clippings to return to the soil, releasing 30% of the lawn required nutrients back into the lawn and helping to keep moisture in the soil, therefore allowing the mown grass to become healthier. 

Mulching works by basically blocking the chute in the mower which normally takes clippings up to the grass collector chute, therefore the clippings have no choice but to keep being cut until they fall into fine or 'mulched pieces' back into the lawn. 

Why Should I Mulch?

There are endless reasons to mulch your lawn but some of the main ones are that firstly, it saves you time rather than collecting the clippings or emptying your grass box and secondly it improves the health of your lawn naturally without much effort required! 

The Benefits Of Mulching Your Lawn 

Now we know all about mulching and how it works we can get into the benefits of mulching and what it can do for your lawn. 

Great For The Soil 

Mulched grass clippings are great for your soil and for creating organic lawns, this is because clumps of grass have high water content and are high in nutrients, the decomposed grass then forms humus which is a plant-usable organic matter helping to improve hard soil and water back into the ground.

Good For The Environment 

Normal chemical fertilisers are not so great for the environment, having plastic packaging and producing lots of waste for them to be manufactured. 

Mulching however is all natural fertiliser and does not have any negative effects on the environment. 

Can Save You Money & Time 

Mulching saves you a lot of time, firstly you can cut your lawn and fertilise it at the same time and secondly you do not have to keep going to empty your grass collection box when it gets full.

Buying chemical fertiliser can become very expensive over time, if you use your clippings in your green waste bin this also saves you money from having to pay for the bin!

Helps With Lawn Thatch 

Mulching regularly allows you to keep the microbial activity in your lawn high, this in turn can help to break down and reduce lawn thatch. 

Most people assume that grass clippings will smother the lawn and make thatch worse but this is far from the truth, the only time grass clippings can cause thatch is if they are not broken down properly by the mower, this could be if the grass was too long, wet or the mower is blocked up with clippings.

When Not To Mulch Your Lawn

After learning about all the benefits of mulching your lawn, you might be eager to get started, however, there are times when you should not be mulching your lawn. 

We've listed the times when mulching your lawn isn't a great idea down below. 

If Your Lawn Has Weeds

Never mulch your lawn if it has weed grasses, this is because weed grasses like meadow grass and dandelions can spread easily in mulch through their seeds, making your weed problem 10x worse. 

Always bin your lawn clippings if your garden has a lot of weeds.

The Grass Is Too Wet 

Mulching your grass should never be done when it's wet this is because it causes the grass to clump up rather than spread in fine pieces. 

Mowing should also be held off until the grass is dry again, consequences of mulching wet grass can lead to the chute becoming blocked and stressing out your mowers engine/motor.

The Grass Is Too Long 

Trying to mow a grass length that is too long can cause the mower to overwork and block up, this can result in a grass length that is too short or mulched grass that hasn't been broken down properly. 

This could then cause smothering and thatching on your overgrown lawn, making it more prone to diseases.

When Should I Mulch My Lawn? 

Mulching is best done during the drier months of spring and summer since it supercharges your lawns nutrients with added moisture. Simply just leave your lawn clippings to decompose on the grass rather than collect them.

What Do I Need For Mulching My Lawn? 

To mulch your lawn you will need to make sure that you have a mulching kit with a plug for your mower since this is what will block the chute and prevent it from being stored as lawn clippings in your grass box. 

You can also buy mowers that are specifically for mulching lawn clippings, these types of lawn mowers differ from the typical lawn mower since they often come equipped with special mulching blades and the options of side or rear discharge depending on where you want your lawn clippings to fall.

What Else Can I Do With My Lawn Clippings?

If you want to give your lawn a break from mulching, you might be wondering if there are any other useful ways you can use your lawn clippings rather than just throwing them away. 

We've listed a few other options for recycling your garden waste below. 

  • Use them for compost - A great way to use your lawn clippings other than mulching is by using them in a compost heap. Clumps of grass are an excellent source of nitrogen along with an abundance of leaves, helping to heat your compost pile.
  • Try them as garden beds - Garden plants can work well with old lawn clippings, they help to retain heat in your plants and keep moisture inside, simply sprinkle one to two inches around the base of your plants and make sure you are using dry clippings for this job.

Tips For Mulching Your Lawn

If it's your first time mulching your lawn clippings you might be wondering how to avoid problems like thatch build up and get the best coverage for your lawn. 

We've got you covered with some of our best mulching beginner tips down below.

  • Don't be afraid to mulch your leaves - Many people assume that mulching leaves could be bad for your lawn but mulched leaves can actually be great for your lawn soil and also release nutrients back into the ground. For example, lawn mulching oak and maple leaves are said to act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn, helping it to grow.
  • Ensure your blades are sharp - It's important to make sure that your mowers blades are sharp for mulching, otherwise, they will not mulch the grass blades as finely as possible, tearing them and stopping them from releasing essential nutrients. They can also block your mower if you are not careful.
  • Use it on bare spots and around trees - Mulching your lawn clippings on bare spots of your lawn and around trees can help to promote growth and stop weed growth in these vulnerable areas. 
  • Only cut 1/3 of your grass at a time - Only cut 1/3 of the length of your lawn at a time, avoid taking off any more regularly as it can ruin your healthy lawn and make it more susceptible to lawn disease. 
  • Mow more often - When mulching your lawn you have to ensure you are cutting it more often to produce mulch and stop old lawn clippings from building up on your lawn, mulching on a regular basis will show benefits on your lawn overtime. 
  • Clean the mower after use - Mulching can be quite taxing on your mower and lawn clippings will likely build up in the undercarriage over time, always make an effort to clean your mower after each use, whether it's using a dry bristle brush to take off the clippings or hosing it down.
  • Mow in different directions - Overtime, it's a good idea to mow your lawn in different directions, this can help spread the lawn clippings and distribute them easily over the lawn, preventing them from thatching and building up in one area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mulching Your Lawn

When should I bin my lawn clippings rather than re-use them?

It's better to bin your lawn clippings if they have been treated with pesticide or herbicide, you should also get rid of lawn clippings if your garden has a lot of weeds, otherwise, they can spread.

How often should I be mulching my lawn? 

Typically, during the drier months of summer and spring, mulching should be done once a week on your lawn to keep it in the best condition.

What is the difference between mulching and side discharge? 

Side discharge mowers spray the grass clippings out of the chutes on the side of the mower as you cut, mulching mowers do not have this chute and instead, the grass falls out under the blades and undercarriage of the mower.

What are the drawbacks of mulching for my lawn? 

Some notable disadvantages to mulching are that it can suffocate your lawn and stop plants from growing, it is also a great place for insects to hide.

Should I be mulching my lawn before winter? 

Yes, mulching your lawn during autumn and the summer months can give your lawn an added layer of protection over the winter months and help protect it from colder temperatures.

Can I mulch taller grass? 

No, you should first cut down your grass a few times to a shorter length than mulch, trying to mulch tall grass can lead to blockage in your mower and release it in clumps, suffocating your lawn.

Final Words 

Overall, mulching has a lot of benefits for your grass helping it grow and maintain its moisture and nutrients. We would not recommend mulching your lawn however if it has weeds or if the grass is too long. 

Mulching is best done in the drier months once a week when you mow, make sure your grass isn't too tall before you start mulching, we recommend cutting it down 1/3 a length at a time till your desired height then mulch.

About the author
Written by William
I have always had a passion for gardening and that with a background in selling lawn mowers for the past 10 years, I have become very knowledgeable in all types of gardening tools. The site TheBestMowers.co.uk was created as a hub where I can review and write about all of the tips around gardening.
View All Posts
You may also like
the best mowers logo
TheBestMowers.co.uk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram