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What is Mulch Mowing and Why Should You Do It?

When it comes to mowing your lawns there are a few approaches you can take when it comes to your grass clippings:

  • Bagging
  • Side Discharging
  • Mulching

The first two methods are widely known by the large majority of us, but the less popular option of mulching is arguably one of the best things you can do for your lawn.  As an added bonus, it’s within reach for the everyday homeowner provided they have the right equipment.

This article outlines exactly what mulch mowing is, as well as the numerous benefits you and your lawns can enjoy by implementing this often overlooked method of mowing.

What is Mulch Mowing?

Mulch mowing is typically done by placing a small plug in the back of your mower’s catcher chute.  Where the grass clippings would typically pass through the chute and into your catcher, they are instead pushed back into the cutting deck. The airflow created by the blades continuously cycles them through the cutting deck, until they are chopped up super fine to be deposited back onto the lawn, at which point they sink down between the grass blades and onto the soil.

A proper mulch mower will have the right blades and cutting deck to achieve this, and would have come with a mulch plug at the point of sale.  Your grass clippings will be cut so fine you won’t even notice them on your lawn!  

Why Should I Mulch Mow my Lawn?

Mulching your lawn comes with a myriad of benefits:

  • It returns important nutrients to the soil.
  • It helps the soil retain moisture during the hotter months.
  • Grass cuttings can sometimes germinate, filling in patches and thickening up the lawn.
  • It removes the time and stress associated with constantly emptying a grass catcher, and figuring out what to do with all of your clippings.

Scenarios Where Mulching Should Be Avoided.

There are scenarios when mulching should be avoided:

If your lawn is overgrown.

As a rule of thumb you should never cut more than 1/3rd of the blade length with each mow, but sometimes our lawns do get away from us.  If you need to give your grass a more aggressive cut, mulching is a bad idea.  Bag the clippings instead.

If you have a Kikuyu lawn with a thick root system.

This wouldn’t be a true New Zealand lawn care article without brining up everyone’s favorite grass!

Kikuyu tends to play by it’s own rules, and since it’s a creeping grass that puts out thick runners above soil level, it shouldn’t be mulched if it’s too thick and spongey.  If your Kikuyu lawn sinks when you walk on it, definitely avoid mulching it.  It should be scalped back down with a catcher to thin out the roots and dead matter trapped between them.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you achieve your lawn goals, get in touch with us here.


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