Should I Bag or Mulch Grass Clippings?

When mowing season rolls around, there's often a common question that pops up: should I bag or should I mulch grass clippings? Adopting one of these methods is important in preventing thatch from forming and inhibiting proper growth, as thatch can keep nutrients from the sun, water and air from reaching grass roots.

But before you make a decision to bag or mulch, it's best to understand the benefits of both. 

 

Why should I bag?

Both bagging and mulching will decrease thatch buildup, but the real draw of using a bagger is the aesthetic it delivers to your yard. Baggers provide homeowners with a clean-cut, well-kept look, as most grass clippings are collected in the bag, leaving your lawn with a fresh landscape. Keep in mind, though, you may have to empty the bagger more than once during mowing, depending on your yard size.

A bagger is also useful for sucking up leaves from your lawn in the fall; collected grass clippings and leaves can even be added to your compost pile.

 

Why should I mulch?

Rather than collecting and removing grass clippings like bagging does, mulching serves to finely chop up clippings that can be left on your lawn. This is done by replacing the standard blade on your mower with a mulching blade and plugging the discharge chute ' these materials are available for purchase as a mulching kit ' allowing grass clippings to continually circulate and be cut into smaller pieces of grass (like a blender). The size and spread of clippings from mulching allow for quicker decomposition and replenishes your yard with nutrients for a natural fertilizer.

Mulching is also better suited for large yards, as bagging can require more time and effort due to emptying when it reaches capacity. However, keep in mind it's recommended to cut grass more frequently when using a mulching setup. If the grass grows too tall, it may not be chopped finely enough, which could cause grass to be matted and result in larger clippings that won't be able to decompose at an appropriate rate.

 

Which one is right for you this season?

Are you a bagger? Mulcher? Do you switch between them both depending on how clean or well-fed you want your lawn (because you can)? There's no right or wrong answer, as long as you monitor the health of your yard and give it the care it needs.