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Mulching Lawn Mowers

Mulching lawn mowers are increasing in popularity as our populations become more environmentally aware although it isn't just the environmental benefits of this special type of lawn mower that is making them popular.

What makes a mulching lawn mower different from a standard lawn mower?

Standard lawn mowers often collect the grass clippings in a box or bag that attaches to the lawn mower. The collected grass is then normally either disposed of on the compost heap or dumped in a dustbin that will be taken to a landfill site. Mulching lawn mowers cut the grass a number of times into very fine pieces. These clippings (that are much smaller in size than normal) are then returned into the turf.

Benefits of a mulching mower

Free organic lawn fertiliser
Powered mulching mowers blow the fine grass clippings deep into the turf with a uniform distribution rather than depositing them in clumps. Because the grass has been cut very finely it decomposes rapidly and as it decomposes Nitrogen is released. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for lawns as it is required for green leaf growth. A lawn that suffers from a lack of available Nitrogen is more susceptible to lawn disease and environmental stresses. Using a mulching lawn mower therefore gives us an organic form of lawn fertiliser that is free. The other key benefit of this free lawn fertiliser is that it is naturally applied whilst we are carrying out another lawn care task - mowing.

Non mulching lawn mowers with no bag / box attachment can also return the grass clippings to the turf but they aren't cut up finely and remain on the surface of the turf as well as tending to be deposited in 'clumps'. This means that they decompose slowly and prevent sunlight from reaching the grass.

No need to rake the lawn
Raking the lawn after mowing can more than double the length of time it takes to mow the lawn and some can find the job of raking quite tiring. With a mulching lawn mower this job is no longer necessary after each cut.

Environmentally friendly
Many lawn owners still send their lawn clippings to the land fill site / to the local tip. With a mulching lawn mower we are taking the most direct route to recycling possible and saving landfill space for waste that is not recyclable.

Mulching mowers require a bit more power than normal lawn mowers as they must repeatedly cut the grass to ensure it is in small enough pieces to be able to decompose rapidly.

If using a mulching lawn mower then make sure to mow the lawn regularly before it gets overgrown as the mower will find it hard work with all the extra cutting it has to do to create a finer cut. If the lawn is overgrown then mow it twice, once at a high setting, reduce the lawn mower blade height and then mow again. Slowing down will also help when mowing overgrown areas.

When would you want to not use a mulching lawn mower? Some gardeners like to use their grass clippings to make garden compost that they can then use as a fertilser around the garden be it in pots, beds or vegetable patches. If this is the case then a mower with a box or bag attachment is best suited.

Some lawn owners prefer not to use mulching lawn mowers as they believe that they contribute to the build up of thatch that will need removing by a scarifier or vigourous raking. However because the mulched grass decomposes rapidly the build up of thatch is not nearly as severe as may be expected.