Posted: July 23, 2013

The question debated by many lawn owners annually is "What type of mower is best for my lawn; side discharge, mulching, or bagger?" Here are a few thoughts for you to consider when deciding what is best for your yard:

Generally a side discharge mower will be the least expensive. It simply cuts the lawn and blows the clipping back out onto the lawn. The grass to be cut should be dry, and the 1/3 max height cut rule is a must. Cutting tall or damp/wet grass will result in the mower spewing clumps or heaped rows of clippings. Excessive debris takes longer to decompose, is susceptible to mold and mildew, and robs the underlying plants of sunlight and needed airflow. But the organic material is still left on site to benefit the soil.

A mulching mower doesn't discharge the grass but instead, by design of the deck and blade assemblies, causes recirculation of the clippings so they are chopped into very tiny pieces before falling back into the lawn. The moisture and nutrients from these tiny clippings are released back into the soil and plants for immediate use. Excessively tall or wet grass should be avoided as it will "clog" the mulching process and leave clumps of harmful clipping debris. And like the side discharge mower, this type allows the soil to benefit from the organic debris.

A bagging mower is also an option. It vacuums the clippings into a bag as you mow, leaving little if any clippings behind. The main downside is that all the naturally produced organic matter is removed from the site, and often with much additional labor in emptying the bag. The upside is that the grass clipping can be used as mulch in and around flower beds and rows of vegetables, or dumped in a compost pile and mixed with other organic yard waste to create a nutrient rich compost material.

To make matters easy, there are mowers designed to perform all three of these functions! Regardless of your choice, set the mower cut height for the optimal seasonal cutting height, and follow the 1/3 max cut rule to ensure you do not harm the grass plant. Sure, mowing can be a boring chore, but a beautiful, well manicured lawn is well worth the expense! For more information please visit us at Maier Tree & Lawn.

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