To mulch or not to mulch your grass clippings. That is the question. While some people mulch grass clippings, others are afraid that doing so is going to make more weeds appear on their lawn. So, what do you do once your grass is cut and you have clippings lying around your yard? If you want a lawn that has excellent curb appeal, that means having a healthy lawn that is weed-free.
Let’s get to the bottom of the mulching debate and when you may want to mulch grass clippings and when you may want to avoid mulching to have that dream lawn.
Why Mulch Grass Clippings?
Mulching your grass clippings can save time and add some much-needed nutrients to your lawn. We’re talking about essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients can help you get a healthy lawn.
Once there is cut grass, many start mulching because they can leave their clippings on the lawn after mowing. They are saving time by rather than bagging their clippings which can take forever. If you mow frequently, mulching saves time and can act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn by providing nutrients.
When is Mulching Grass Clippings a Good Idea?
If you notice your lawn is thin and is lacking essential nutrients, leaving grass clippings may be a better idea than bagged clippings.
Mulching is typically best during the warmer months. This is because high temperatures and humidity are needed to break down grass clippings. Grass mulching is also best if you have to mow frequently.
When is Mulching a Bad Idea?
If you don’t mow regularly, or there is wet grass, it may be a better idea to collect the clippings or at least mow over the grass clumps several times to distribute them better.
Also, if the lawn has been treated with chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, you may not want to leave clippings behind. Insecticides can kill more than the targeted pest and leave your lawn in bad condition. Synthetic fertilizers can also increase the salts that are present in the soil. A lack of microbial activity and earthworms may affect the decomposition that is necessary to break down lawn clippings.
Does Mulching Grass Spread Weeds?
If you already have weeds, you should only mulch lawn clippings if you have time to pull all the weeds out, or at the very least, the seed heads. If you mulch, seeds will be left behind and the lawn mower will spread the weed seeds around your lawn.
It’s best to only mulch your lawn when it is completely free of weeds. If you choose to mulch even when you have a lot of weeds, mow frequently so your lawn weeds don’t have the time to develop seed heads.
When there are no weeds around, mulching your grass after mowing can help your lawn and provide several benefits like proving organic matter and saving time.
Do I Need to Worry About Thatch Buildup When Mulching Grass Clippings?
If you’re mulching grass clippings on top of your lawn, any that don’t break down can become thatch. You don’t want this! Thatch buildup blocks the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your lawn. This leads to thinner lawns.
If you cut your lawn with the one-third rule so the yard clippings are small enough to decompose quickly you should have no problem with thatch. Also, consider discharging your grass on the side you haven’t mowed so there will be tiny pieces every time you go over them again. Tiny clippings can help to avoid thatch buildup. You can also look into a mulching lawn mower or look into a mulching kit to avoid this problem.
Benefits of a Mulching Mower
When it comes to regular mowing, a mulching mower is a good piece of mulching equipment to have. It’s best for recycling grass clippings. A mulching mower creates tiny pieces of grass blades that decompose quickly and release nutrients back into the soil. Mulching lawn clippings cut down on the lawn’s fertilizer treatments.
Using a mulching mower creates mulch clippings that can help when it comes to lawn care and can also cut down on yard work.
Should I mulch lawn clippings if I notice fungus or lawn disease?
When you notice fungus or lawn disease, it’s usually not recommended to mulch grass clippings. This can spread disease to the rest of the lawn.
If bacteria start to feed on your mulch, the fungus can also occur within the mulch in damp conditions. When this happens, you want to bag clippings. You can resume mulching yard trimmings once all the fungus has cleared.
FAQ about Mulching Lawn Clippings
How long does it take for mulched grass clippings to decompose?
A 4-inch later of grass clipping mulch takes about 2-3 months to decompose. This is good for your garden because the nutrients in your grass clippings can help feed your plants. For the best results, you should replenish your grass clipping mulch 3-4 times annually.
Do grass clippings turn into soil?
Properly mowed grass clippings filter down to the soil and decompose. During this process, the clippings also feed soil organisms, recycle plant nutrients and contribute an organic component to the soil.
What happens if I bury my grass clippings instead of mulching them?
When you bury grass clippings, you’re not giving your grass the oxygen it needs for decomposition. You don’t want to do this because the benefits of mulching are delayed.
Do lawn clippings make good compost?
Composting with grass clippings is a great way to recycle the nutrients your lawn uses. It also adds much-needed green materials to your compost pile.
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