Mulching kits are definitely worth the investment. Standard mowers have two functions – bagging and side discharge – but installing a mulching kit gives you a third function which, of course, is mulching. Mulching allows you to fertilize your lawn for free by means of the finely chopped grass clippings that will be spread automatically as you mow. This leads to fuller, healthier grass in your lawn.
For the remainder of this article we’re going to answer the most frequently asked questions about mulching kits, what they can do, how to maintain them, and more – read on for the details that you need to know before you purchase your mulching kit!
What makes a mower a mulching mower?
Mulching mowers have a domed deck and blades which have a bit of a curve to them and an extended cutting edge. This allows them to cut grass, drawing it in to suspend it and cut it into finer pieces which them drop onto your lawn. These pieces are small enough that the lawn still looks nice and they serve as a natural fertilizer when they decay.
How do I know if my mower is a mulching mower?
Check the blades. Mulching blades will generally have additional cutting edges, as well as a noticeable curvature to them which you will not see in standard blades. There are exceptions – John Deere mulching blades are rectangular, with one side being smaller than the other, but most mulching blades will have a curve to them and additional edges.
When should you use a mulching kit?
You should use a mulching kit if you want to add mulching functionality to your mower but it won’t support mulching blades without modification. Mulching kits are available for most mowers, so check the make and model of your own and check first with your manufacturer. More likely than not, they will have a compatible kit.
Is mulch plug necessary?
The mulch plug is necessary for normal mulching function, as it prevents the grass clippings from simply being sent out through the side or rear discharge. It suspends the grass clippings so that the mulching blades can cut them into smaller and smaller pieces until it finally deposits them into your lawn.
What are some disadvantages of mulching?
There are very few disadvantages to mulching, but here are the two primary ones. First, if mulch is too thick due to irregularly scheduled mowing, then it can provide a haven for harmful insects to reside in. Secondly, if it is very warm out and the mulch coat is too thick, then the soil can become too warm and also prevent nutrients and sunlight from getting through.
Can you turn a riding mower into a mulching mower?
Yes. As long as the blade will fit the deck, you can install it. Mulching kits are available for just about every mower on the market, and riding mowers are included in this. Check the make and model of your mower and you should be able to purchase a mulching kit that is specifically designed to work with it.
Is mulching better than side discharge?
Side discharge is a good option if you don’t intend to rake afterwards and simply want to mow the lawn as fast as possible. Mulching is much better for your lawn, however, and while it takes a little longer the mulched clippings will feed nutrients to your newly cut grass that will help it to grow thicker, fuller, and greener.
Can you side discharge with mulching blades?
You can, but it is recommended that you upgrade to Gator blades and we’ll tell you why. Standard mulching blades tend to push down on the grass and do not circulate the air as efficiently as a standard mowing blade would.
Gator blades have a proprietary design to get around this, allowing them to draw up the grass and this means that bagging and side discharge functions will not experience the performance drop seen with standard mulching blades.
Do mulching blades work with a bagger?
Gator mulching blades are a better fit for bagging than the standard variety. Standard mulching blades don’t circulate the air as well as Gators, which can lead to your bag only filling up to 2/3 full instead of completely full. So, if you will be bagging and mulching, Gator blades will be a better fit.
Can you sharpen mulching blades?
Yes. You might want to have an assortment of files, as mulching blades will have additional cutting edges when compared to a standard blade. Every 20 to 25 hours of use you’ll want to remove the blades from your mower, clamp them in a vise, and give them a proper sharpening for best results and a longer working life.
Are high lift blades good for mulching?
No. High lift blades are designed for dense overgrowth. The added circulation, along with the higher elevation of the blades in a high lift mower allow you to push the mower into dense areas with less chance of the mower ‘choking’ out. Due to this specific intended use, High lift blades are not suitable for mulching.
Does mulching spread weeds?
No. When you are regularly trimming your lawn, you’re only cutting the top 1/3 of the grass when you are mulching it, so this is not going to spread weeds anymore than a standard mower wood. Mulching will not spread plant diseases or weed seeds anymore than would occur naturally.
Should I bag or mulch after overseeding?
Bagging is the best option after overseeding. While mulching produces nutrients in your lawn, newly sprouting plants will have to struggle a bit underneath the cover of the mulch. It is best to wait on mulching until your seedlings have grown to close to the same level as your current grass.
Is it bad to put mulch next to your house?
Putting mulch next to your house is not recommended. Mulch against the side of the house provides a haven for insects, who may find their way inside – especially termites! For best results, make sure that mulch is no closer than 1 foot to your home.
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.