Bagging vs Mulching: Which Is Better When Mowing Your Lawn?

Should you bag or mulch? If you are wondering whether to collect the grass clippings or leave them to decompose on the lawn, it depends on the circumstances and your preference.

Some people prefer to bag their clippings because a portion of their lawn is diseased and might spread to the healthy grass. Others prefer mulching because they want their grass to absorb nutrients from the clippings when decomposing.

This post shall discuss factors determining whether to bag or mulch grass clippings. We shall also look into the pros and cons of bagging vs mulching.

When to Bag Grass Clippings

Certain circumstances warrant bagging grass clippings each time you mow your lawn. If your grass is tall, don’t mulch it, and if you spot signs of disease such as fungi on portions of your grass, bag the clippings to avoid infecting the healthy grass. Once you have collected the grass clippings, you can use them in the following ways:

  1. Mulch Your Garden Beds

Over 35.4 million tons of trimmings were discarded in 2018 when people trimmed their yards. Such trimmings could have been put to good use. You can use them as mulch for garden beds by spreading a 2-3 inch layer on top.

  1. Add to the Compost Pit

Grass clippings break down fast and are a source of nitrogen. Since your compost needs both green and brown matter, mix the clippings with leaves, straws, newspapers, and other dry matter that can decompose.

  1. Make Grass Clipping Tea

Make a nitrogen-rich brew for your plants by adding grass clippings to a bucket containing 2/3 water. Cover and let sit for two weeks, then water your plants with this water every two weeks to boost their growth.

  1. Feed Herbivores

Herbivores like goats and rabbits will enjoy the taste of fresh clippings. You can also take a handful and throw them into the chicken coop. Chicken may not eat much grass like herbivores, but they will benefit from its iron, protein, and vitamin C.

Benefits of Bagging Grass Clippings

  • Keeps your lawn neat and improves curb appeal. Your house will also be cleaner because your shoes won’t drag bits of grass into the house.
  • Keeps the level of allergens down. Bagging will minimize the itchy eyes and runny nose if a family member is allergic to cut grass.
  • Keeps away pests. If your grass is tall and you leave it on the lawn after mowing, you will have provided a better breeding ground for pests without realizing it.
  • Prevents the spread of diseases. If your grass is infested with fungi, mulching it will spread the disease onto the entire lawn. You should bag it to stop further infection.

Cons of Bagging Grass Clippings

  • Increased workload. After mowing, you still have to rake the grass, bag it and dispose of it according to your state’s regulations. That might cost you double the time.
  • Denies your grass nutrients. Bagging grass clippings denies the grass on your lawn the opportunity to absorb nutrients from clippings had you left them to decompose.

When to Mulch Grass Clippings

You can mulch if you’ve noticed that your grass needs more nutrients. Mulching is a good way to get the nutrients back into the soil. When the clippings decompose, their nutrients will be absorbed by the live grass.

It should be done when the grass is dry because wet grass strains a lawn mower and prevents it from chopping effectively.

Mulching is also recommended if your lawn is free of weeds. Otherwise, the weeds will spread to the entire loan when their seeds are dispersed.

Benefits of Mulching Grass Clippings

Just like bagging, mulching has its benefits.

Requires Less Effort

You reduce your workload by 30-38% when you leave grass clippings to mulch. That is the time you would’ve spent raking, bagging, and transporting the clippings for disposal.

Keeps the Environment Clean

Grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste account for 12% of municipal waste. When you mulch your clippings, you make the environment more friendly by lessening the amount of garbage.

Less Equipment Used

As opposed to bagging, you will use less equipment when mulching. Bagging requires extras such as a leaf vacuum, rake, bagging attachment, and disposal bags. It might also cost you money to dispose of the grass according to your state disposal laws.

Keeps Your Lawn Hydrated

Grass clippings left to mulch will hold onto moisture when you water your lawn. The mulch protects the soil from cracking and exposing grass roots to cold or heat. The result will be a lush-looking lawn.

Free Fertilizer

As the clippings decompose, they release potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, fertilizing your lawn. Even if you don’t use fertilizer, grass clippings supply up to a quarter of your lawn’s fertilizer needs.

Cons of Mulching Grass Clippings

  • May spread disease. If you mow your lawn and it has fungus or other diseases, the other grass will be infected with the disease.
  • Less curb appeal. If you like your lawn sparkling, leaving the grass to mulch may not be a good idea.

How to Mulch Clippings Back to the Lawn

The best way to achieve this is by using a mulching mower, an ordinary mower with modifications. You can buy a mulching kit while purchasing your mower or fit it with mulching blades used with the baffling on the mower’s underside.

The clippings move in the mowing chamber with the help of the baffling and are chopped and then blown onto the lawn’s surface.

Don’t mulch wet or overgrown grass because it will clump and be dispersed unevenly on the lawn. The mower can also suffer damage due to strain caused by chopping damp grass.

So, Should You Mulch or Bag Grass Clippings?

Bagging vs mulching, which one is better? The answer depends on preference and the circumstances.

Factors such as the length and health of your grass will influence your decision. If your grass is too tall or infested with disease, it is better to bag. Likewise, mulching is the solution if you want to add extra nutrients to your lawn.

Regarding personal preference, some prefer neat lawns with no clippings in sight, while others don’t mind leaving grass clippings on their lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you bag your grass?

You should bag your grass if it is tall or infested with diseases like fungi. Bagging diseased grass prevents it from infecting the healthy ones.

Should you bag grass if you have weeds?

You should bag grass infested with weeds. When you bag grass with weeds, you prevent the dispersal of the weeds’ seeds and thus further growth of weeds.

When should you not mulch?

You should not mulch clippings when the grass is tall or wet because it will clump and be distributed unevenly on the lawn. It also strains the mower causing it to slow down.

Does mulching cause more weed?

Mulching may increase weeds because the weed seeds will be scattered on the lawn with the clippings and grow into new weeds.

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