Lawn Care Tips

As a lawn care provider for 20+ years, my aim here is to provide some helpful hints, tips and advice to those who want to increase the health and appearance of the lawn they care for. Whether you are new to lawn care or an old hand, you will find information here that will save you time, money and wasted effort. Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Benefits of Mulch Mowing

In my last tip I talked a bit about thatch. I would now like to discuss mulch mowing - the mowing of turf where the clippings are not sent to a catcher. They are instead held suspended under the deck, where they are continuously re-cut until they are of such a fine consistency that they drop back into the lawn. There are many homeowners who have a false belief that this type of mowing will cause or increase thatch. This is not true.

Just above the surface of the soil, the thatch layer consists mostly of dead and living grass roots. After mowing a lawn with a mulching mower there is a fine layer of grass clippings that will be lying below the surface of the turf. Some of these clippings may fall through and actually rest on top of the thatch layer. However, the fact of the matter is that, wherever they land, all of these finely chopped grass clippings will break down usually in less than 7 to 10 days. These clippings decompose by being acted on by microbes in the soil that the lawn grows in. This decomposition is accelerated each time it rains or the lawn is watered. It is important to note here that during this decomposition of the grass clippings all of their nutrients are released. Many of these released nutrients will find their way back into your growing lawn. Research indicates that as much as 10 to 15 percent of a lawn’s required nutrients can be applied by simply using a mulching mower. This means the cost of feeding your lawn can be reduced.

The use of a mulching mower has other benefits as well. Until the cut clippings have decomposed they will help shade part of the lawn and any exposed soil, which will slow water loss in your lawn and inhibit the germination of weed seeds. Some of the most immediate benefits to mulching your lawn are: not needing to collect clippings in a catcher that weighs your mower down; not having to continually empty that catcher; not having to store garbage bags full of smelly clippings; and knowing that you are not unnecessarily contributing to the landfills.

Another thing you may want to consider if you do not have a mulching mower is mowing your lawn with a mower that has a side-chute attached. If you go this route you may have to overlap a bit more while you are mowing but the net effect will be very similar. And lastly, though you should always avoid mowing your lawn while it is wet, this is particularly true if you are using a mulching mower. Mowing a wet lawn with a mulching mower will cause wet clumps of grass to be deposited on your lawn and the underside of the mowing deck to become packed with mushy grass.

NEXT TIME: How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I had no idea that mulching could limit the spread of weeds in the yard. That's just fascinating! I always just assumed that it would aid in the growing process, but if there are are other benefits it may well be worth doing! Are there any major drawbacks for mulching? Thanks for sharing these tips!


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