To Bag or Not To Bag? – The Ultimate Mowing Question

Tips from Buck’s Backyard

When it comes to lawn health… mulching matters!

A question I get asked constantly is “Should I bag my grass clippings or let them lay (mulching) on my lawn?” and the answer from me is simple… “Let them lay!” Do not rake or bag your grass clippings if you have a healthy, regularly maintained lawn. But there are exceptions…

Lawn clippings left in piles

Lawn with piles of clippings left in big clumps — (not good!)

Let’s talk about when and why you should bag or rake your grass clippings up off the lawn. Bagging is beneficial if your lawn is wet and the clippings clump up and make little mini piles. This will cause your lawn to turn brown in those areas due to the grass not getting enough sun and air flow, which left unattended, could promote disease and even death to those areas. Also if your lawn has grown really tall for whatever reason and you have not mowed it for sometime, the grass even if it is dry, could leave a layer of the cut grass throughout the lawn and cause browning in a more wide spread area and again promoting disease. (Something to think of if your lawn was allowed to get really tall!) As a rule, never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. That means you may have to cut it once, wait a day and cut it again to get to the recommended height for your type of grass.

Last but not least, one of the biggest reasons to bag or rake up the clippings is if the lawn has a disease/fungus. Bag the clippings and throw them away as not to spread the disease. If the disease is really bad do not mow and have your grass treated first for the disease. Now onto the benefits of not bagging, or mulching your grass clippings.

The Benefits of leaving your grass clippings.

Finely chopped and mulched clippings are good for the lawn

The benefits of leaving the clippings on your grass are many. Grass clippings are full of nutrients and can add up to 25% of your lawn’s fertilizer needs, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and many other nutrients that are very beneficial and needed by your lawn to grow. Also grass clippings are made up of 70 to 80 percent of water (moisture) that decompose quickly thus actually cutting down on the total water you will need to add to your lawn.

Contrary to popular belief the clippings do not add to thatch build up. Thatch is defined as intermingled layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that develops between the green grass and the soil surface. This layer will make your grass soft and spongy and cause serious problems in your lawn.  By leaving (recycling) the clippings in your lawn you are putting valuable organic nutrients back into your lawn thus cutting down on the total fertilizer we would have to use on your lawn. This helps the environment tremendously by saving water and room in our landfills. Also all the nutrients in the grass clippings can hurt the environment if they are blown into our gutters which lead right back to the ocean. Remember all those nutrients the clipping provide to your lawn are great but the ocean does not need them. This is thought to cause algae blooms that hurt our oceans and water ways eco systems.

Use a mower with a mulching blade for best results

In summary, leaving well mulched grass clippings in the yard is good for our oceans, our landfills and our lawns. So leave your grass clippings on your lawn where they actually help. Keep them out of the landfills and your street gutters. If you have any questions concerning this subject or any of my postings feel free to contact our office or myself. We will be glad to help in anyway with your lawn or landscaping needs. Remember “The Grass is always Greener on the Harmony side!”

Buck Moon serves as the Certified Pest Control Operator for Harmony Care. In this role, he supervises field personnelBuck Moon and ensures all operations proceed in a safe and effective manner. He writes regularly on best practices for maintaining a healthy vibrant lawn in his home state of Florida