Mulching your grass has proven to be a better option than bagging due to its environmentally conscientious characteristics such as waste minimization along with the fact that it is better for your lawn’s grass and soil’s growth/health in the long run. While bagging is a more traditional method of lawn maintenance, mulching is scientifically superior as it directly provides the nutrient back to your grass otherwise discarded by bagging.
Which method is better for your lawn if you want a healthier grass color and fresh look; mulching or bagging?
The rest of the article gives you a step-by-step comparison of bagging and mulching, explaining which method is better in which situations, the scientific and environmental advantages of each, and any recurring disadvantages.
What Does Bagging Your Grass Mean?
Bagging your grass is a common type of lawn mowing in which the cut grass is bagged up and either used for composting or is more commonly discarded as waste. The bagging and discarding can be done using proper equipment such as a Materials Collection System (MCS), a bagging mower, or by hand.
When is Bagging Your Grass Clippings a Better Option?
Bagging the cut grass and discarding it is a good option when your grass clippings are too substantial and cover a lot of your lawn, making it impossible for the nutrients to reach the freshly cut grass. Bagging also makes sure that any other debris loitering around your lawn (leaves, thatches) are cleaned up as well, leaving a clean lawn for your use.
According to Hutson Inc., another instance when bagging is more efficient is when you do a regular pesticide spray on your lawn or if you want to prevent an outbreak of plant related diseases. In this case it’s better to bag your grass clippings as leaving them around would prove harmful to your freshly cut grass, making it wither away at a higher rate.
Does Bagging Have Any Disadvantages?
Bagging is harmful to the environment since all the grass clippings are bagged up in a plastic and all that plastic ends up in a landfill, emitting harmful greenhouse gases. According to Tomlinson Bomberger, 20% of waste in landfills comes from yard debris.
Bagging also takes away the nutrients present in grass clippings which could’ve otherwise been recycled. The cost of plastic bagging and waste disposal costs more and proves to be an exhausting task as bagging mowers require you to put in more energy and effort than normal mowers.
Why Do Lawn Care Professionals Prefer Bagging?
According to various statistics and surveys, lawn care professionals prefer to bag the grass clippings as it gives the lawn a cleaner and more professional look as opposed to a lawn cluttered with mulching, grass clippings and thatches.
What is Mulching?
Grass mulching, or simply mulching is cutting up the grass into thin, finely chopped pieces using mulching equipment and then leaving that mulch in grass as per to help It become healthier using its own nutrients. Mulching is a newly adopted method by lawn care professionals with the purpose of reducing wastage as well as making full use of the grass’ innate nutrients.
Why is Mulching Considered a Better Option for Your Lawn?
Mulching is environmentally friendly – by reusing and recycling the grass clippings and letting them act as a nutrient source for your lawn’s soil, you’re fulfilling your social responsibility by reducing solid waste and the burden on our planet’s landfills.
Mulching is cheaper – the grass clipping bagging and discarding costs will be non-existent as well as making sure your lawn gets all the healthy nutrients without having to buy a lot of nitrogen based fertilizers and supplementary material.
How is Mulching a More Environmentally Safe Option?
As an alternative to bagging, mulching makes sure that the plastic bags wastage that occurs when bagging is avoided, reducing the total yard wastage by more than 50%. Mulching also reduces fertilizer usage, which are known to cause environmental degradation if used over long periods of time.
Are There Any Cons to Mulching?
Mulching is tedious – since the grass clippings are being left onto the lawn itself, it’s imperative that you mow your lawn frequently to avoid thatching, which proves to be exhausting. Mulching is a process that’s also harder on your lawn mower, since the mower now has to chop up the clippings as frequently and as finely as possible for them to be useful to the lawn.
What Equipment Should I Buy to Mulch My Grass?
A normal mulching mower can be used to mulch your lawn, however, if you’re looking for more sophisticated machinery we suggest using a mulch control kit, which comes with an array of different cutting setting for easy use. Mulching blades should also be purchased and sharpened occasionally.
How Often Should I Mulch My Lawn?
According to Tomlinson Bomberger, a professional lawn care business, since you’re cutting only 30% of the grass blades every time you mulch, it’s important to mow your lawn at least 2-3 times a week (during peak growth) in order to avoid the outbreak of weeds and decoloring of the freshly cut grass.
How is Recycling Your Lawn Grass Clippings a Good Thing?
Recycling your lawn grass clippings is environmentally friendly plus it’s less exhausting as all you have to do is leave the clippings onto the lawn. By mulching and recycling, you’re also making sure the nitrogen based fertilizer usage is less, resulting in a safer and chemical free environment.
Which Type of Method is Better for Your Lawn’s Soil?
While bagging your grass clippings is better in situations where you need your lawn to appear cleaner and more pristine, mulching is a better option in the long run for your lawn’s soil and health as it makes your grass greener and is a source of naturally sourced nutrients for your lawn. In case of emergencies like disease outbreak, we’d prefer you use bagging to make sure it doesn’t spread, otherwise, mulching is the more desirable routinely option.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.