Have you ever looked over at your neighbour happily mowing the lawn and whistling to himself, barely breaking a sweat, and ending up with a lovely luscious green lawn? Then you take a look at yourself, sweating between the continuous raking, and collecting, and composting and god knows what else you struggle with when mowing, for your lawn to be less green and vibrant. Whats that all about?
Well, its most likely that your neighbour is mulch mowing. Mulch mowing is a clever lawn care system that returns grass clippings immediately to the soil. In order to mulch properly, you will need a mulching mower and a system in place that prevents your grass from over growing.
It’s all about getting a good routine for your lawn. Not only does mulch mowing save you loads of time and energy but it will hugely improve the condition of your lawn, once a lawn care routine has been established.
So… what is lawn mower mulching? Well the main difference is mulching mowers have special blades that cut the grass, then whizz the clippings around and cut them over and over again until they’re cut up into thousands of teeny tiny little pieces. These tiny clippings will dry up really quickly due to the high water percentage of grass, its almost as if they disappear. So the what we call the ‘mulch’ is actually just grass clippings!
Mulching has so many amazing benefits! Lets look at why you should be mulching instead of bagging.
It keeps your garden healthy – by reducing evaporation of moisture from the lawn, it enhances the health and growth of the turf and will keep the soil temperature much cooler. – Mulched clippings can provide up to 25% of fertiliser needed for an average lawn, with 85% water and 5% nitrogen, its full of nutrients. – Turf specialist Dr. Keith J Karnok says “Its a good idea to mulch grass clippings when possible, providing the mulched clippings do not interfere with the use of appearance of the turf area”
Its good for the environment – A lot of garden waste can end up in landfills when collected. Grass clippings account for two thirds of all garden waste, and garden waste makes up approximately 13 percent of national waste.
Its better for you! – Bagging is a long and tedious chore, mulching takes way less time because you don’t have to stop to empty the bag. – It can save you money, where in some areas you have are charged for your waste.
Clumps aren’t very nice on your lawn. They’re ugly and when left on the surface of the lawn can damage the plant underneath. The smaller the clippings, the easier it falls to the soil surface and won’t clump as easily. If you find that you are getting unsightly clumps when you mulch, it might be because the clipping aren’t small enough. Make sure your blades are sharp, and for the most effective mulch clippings you want to use twin blades.
Some people believe that mulching grass clippings can lead to the build up of thatch. Thatch is when a layer of roots stems and clippings build up faster than they decompose. It can go brown and be unsightly. However Dr Karnok says that “Contrary to popular belief, mulching grass clippings does not contribute to the buildup of thatch, In general, proper mowing, irrigation and proper fertilisation, and in particular avoiding over fertilisation will help keep thatch accumulation down.”
So, where to start with mulching. You can purchase a mulching attachment for your current mower, but I personally don’t find this as effective as a mulching mower. They don’t shred the clipping as effectively as a mulching lawn mower, which can lead to clumping. Try to avoid letting the grass get too high as this may also lead to clumping. The same goes for wet grass, this will not only leave clumps but really clog up the mulching system on your mower.
For best result I stick to a 2/3 system. This means you never let your lawn grow more than 1/3 longer than your ideal height. As soon as the grass reaches that height you cut away the top 1/3 away! I’ve found this system allows for better breakdown of the grass clippings and ultimately a nicer mulch.
I can say for sure that I noticed a huge difference in my lawn when I started mulching. It was visibly healthier and grew so nicely. It has cut out a huge part of the effort in lawn mowing and has really put the fun back into lawn mowing for me! I purchased my mulching mower last year and I will never go back! I hope you now feel comfortable in taking the steps for a more vibrant and lovely lawn, through the easy method of lawn mower mulching!!