Mowing – Mulching vs. Bagging

Q: Which is best – mulching or bagging? I used to be a firm believer in bagging but my son convinced me that mulching was the way to go. My main concern with mulching is the cutting and broadcasting of weeds which may be in the seed stage and could lead to more weeds.

A: I can see value in both mowing techniques. If I were maintaining a candidate for Lawn of the Month, I’d bag my clippings. My mowing would pick up pine cones, small sticks and most of the clippings that might mat on the lawn. That done, I’d put the clippings in my compost pile or use a thin layer as mulch under shrubs.

If I wanted to avoid the effort of collecting the clippings, I’d mulch them. A mulching mower with a well designed blade chops clippings so fine you can’t usually see them on the lawn surface. The clippings add nutrients to the soil. Contrary to myth, mulching does not increase thatch, as long as you remove only a third of the grass blade at a time, as you ought. Further, mulching does not spread diseases or weed seeds any more than would occur in a normal environment.

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