Your choice of whether or not to leave grass clippings on your lawn can have a big impact on your lawns health.
To bag or not to bag, that is the question.
People have been debating this topic for years, actually decades. It has created strong opinions on both sides.
Logically, you would think a simple google search would put the issue to rest. In fact, you will find it’s pretty clear that most searches will generate a ‘leave grass clippings on your lawn’ answer.
It’s true, under specific conditions, mulching your lawn clippings can be beneficial by supplying nutrients to your lawn .
The problem though is it requires very specific mowing conditions that are usually impractical and unrealistic to both everyday homeowners and lawn care companies.
Reasons Not to Mulch Your Clippings
1. You can’t let your lawn get too long. You only want to cut a 1/3 off a grass blade at most in one cutting.
In the spring when your lawn is growing rapidly this might mean mowing your lawn every 4 days. This is usually unrealistic since most homeowners and lawn care companies operate on a weekly schedule.
2. Most mowers do a bad job evenly mulching clippings. To properly mulch clippings you need a mower that is designed to do so, which can be expensive.
A typical walk behind mower can’t effectively mulch clippings unless conditions are perfect which is rare.
3. Disease and fungus are more likely to spread. If you have lawn areas that are under stress from disease or fungus, spreading these infected clippings over your lawn will likely spread the problem.
4. Weed seeds are more likely to spread. If you have lawn weeds that have gone to seed then mulching them back into your lawn will help spread the weeds.
5. Mulching clippings is a mess. Clippings get all over your garden beds, hardscaped areas, and all around your property. A little bit of morning dew and it also sticks to your dogs paws, children’s sneakers, etc.
6. Plenty of clippings get mulched back into your lawn even when you do bag. No bagging system is perfect. A small percentage of clippings will end up back in your lawn. This is a much healthier number of clippings.
If you think your lawn maintenance program could use some tweaking, don’t be afraid to throw the bag on the mower this season!
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