Mulching vs bagging is always a topic that has hounded many gardeners. What are the benefits of each?
When should one method be used over the other? We answer these hot topic questions and more in this complete guide!
|Mess||Requires less effort||Less mess|
|Pro||Environmentally friendly and acts as organic fertilizer||Reduces allergy risks and diseases|
|Prevents||Prevents weeds||Prevents pest infestations|
|Cost||Reduces costs||Costs more|
- What Are the Differences Between Mulching and Bagging Lawn Clippings?
- What Are the Features of Mulching Grass?
- What Are the Features of Bagging Your Grass Clippings?
What Are the Differences Between Mulching and Bagging Lawn Clippings?
The main difference between mulching and bagging lawn clippings is that mulching is ideal since it requires little effort and saves money, while bagging your cut grass clippings leaves you with less yard debris and fewer pests and diseases, but may require more work.
Mulching is also more environmentally friendly, although it can easily spread diseases. So which one is better, mulching or bagging grass? Generally, most homeowners would agree on mulching clipped grass over bagging as it presents more benefits than disadvantages. However, the biggest drawback when it comes to mulching is that it may spread pests or diseases.
The final decision between mulching and bagging can be highly personal since there may be circumstances in each lawn or house that makes one better than the other. For instance, mulching may not be recommended if the homeowners have serious allergy risks to grass pollen.
What Are the Features of Mulching Grass?
The features of mulching with clipped grass include being a great way to reduce yard work while promoting a more sustainable lifestyle. It requires less effort, is environmentally friendly, and reduces costs. It is also a natural fertilizer and retains moisture in the ground.
However, mulching clipped grass isn’t without its drawbacks. First, we’ll explore the benefits of using grass as mulch and then the disadvantages.
– Less Effort
Allowing the clipped grass to mulch in your yard after having been mown is known by some as grass-cycling. Since clipped grass is mostly water with some plant fiber, they quickly decompose and will not increase thatch levels in the yard.
By leaving the clipped grass as is, homeowners usually end up reducing the amount of yard work in raking, bagging, and moving the collected grass. Homeowners estimate that they end up with over 30 percent less yard work when they mulch their grass clippings.
– Environmentally Friendly
When grass is used as mulch at home, the number of bagged grass clippings decreases in landfills. By mulching clipped grass in their yards, homeowners contribute less waste while using organic lawn care methods. Aside from mulch, clipped grass can be used in composts as well.
– Reduces Costs
Mulching with clipped grass cuts down on costs related to equipment and services, especially if you cut your own lawn since all you need is a lawn mower. If you hire lawn care professionals to mulch your garden after being mowed, you also save their time and effort while potentially lowering the costs on the bill.
Bagging grass requires homeowners to buy tools and pieces of equipment, such as rakes, leaf blowers or vacuums, bagging attachments, and replacement bags. If you hire one to bag your mown grass, you might also end up with a bigger bill, which may include special trash services that may exist in your local grass-clipping disposal stations.
– Natural Fertilizer
Clipped grass contains high amounts of essential nutrients that feed and nourish the soil. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are the three main components of healthy soil provided by organic matter such as clipped grass.
Using grass as mulch to decompose can provide as much as 25 percent of your lawn’s fertilizer requirements. Aside from these main nutrients, clipped grass contains trace elements such as carbon to help the soil and grass grow healthier.
– Retains Moisture
Mulches help lawns stay hydrated, and clipped grass used as mulch is no different. This allows the soil to retain more moisture while allowing you to water it less. As a result, your lawn care saves you time, effort, and water.
When is the best time to mulch your lawn with grass? You’ll need to mulch or bag grass before winter in order to make the best out of the fall season. However, you can also mulch with your clipped grass in the mid to late spring period, although you can always bag your grass any time of the year.
– Prevents Weeds
As with regular mulch, clipped grass smothers weeds while allowing grass to thrive. Consequently, homeowners end up with lawns that are better hydrated and fertilized with lower maintenance.
– May Spread Diseases
This is one of the largest disadvantages of mulching grass. Clipped grass may contain insects or organisms that may encourage bacterial, fungal, or viral infestations due to the moisture content. If you suspect one or more parts of your lawn have these, then you may be better off bagging your grass.
Should you mulch your lawn after every lawnmowing activity? Most lawn care professionals and experts recommend having their clients’ yards mulched at least once a year. However, if you plan to mulch the lawn yourself, you can do so right before winter. Just make sure that your grass mulch does not contain pests or diseases.
– Not Ideal for Wet Lawn
Mowing wet grass after a storm or right after being watered will clog up the lawn mower and leave clumps of wet clippings. This will leave you with an unattractive lawn full of yard debris. If you need to mow your lawn when it’s wet, then mulching grass might not be the best option.
– Decreases Aesthetic Value
If you’re looking for a traditional appeal for your lawn, then mulching grass may be too unconventional.
While some homeowners find value in using clipped grass as mulch, they may not be too fond of how it looks. In case you prefer traditional yards, then bagging just might be up your alley.
What Are the Features of Bagging Your Grass Clippings?
The features of bagging your grass clippings include it being less messy, reducing allergy risks, preventing infestations, and reducing diseases and infections. It can also act as additional compost material, but it requires more yard work and costs more than its counterpart.
Mulching clipped grass isn’t for everyone, so you just may need to bag them instead. While it has its upsides, bagging clipped grass also has its inconveniences. Here’s what you can expect with the benefits and advantages of bagging grass clippings.
– Less Messy
There’s no doubt about it — bagging clipped grass away leaves you with a cleaner, well-maintained lawn compared to leaving the grass bits to mulch. Aside from this, your home has a better curb appeal overall.
– Reduces Allergy Risks
Some people can be sensitive to grass pollen, and this won’t do if you leave the grass out to mulch. By bagging the clippings, you reduce the chances of people having allergic reactions to the grass pollen. To further reduce the risk, mow and bag your grass at night since pollen count tends to be lower at this time.
– Prevents Infestations
Clipped grass usually has at least some pests hiding, especially since they tend to hide in tall grass. When you bag your clipped grass, you lessen the chance of these pests spreading further in your lawn.
– Reduces Diseases and Infections
Bagged grass clippings will help prevent any bacteria, fungus, or virus from spreading throughout your yard. This can be especially harmful when your lawn constantly gets wet from the rain or from your sprinkler.
This overly wet condition can encourage diseases to multiply and spread even further. Getting your mown grass bagged is especially beneficial when you suspect parts of your yard to have diseases or infections.
– Additional Compost Material
Bagging your clipped grass is easier to transport to your compost bins. In turn, your compost bin will benefit from these high sources of organic nutrients. Even if you don’t have one, you can always give them to your neighbors or any local community center that accepts composting materials.
– More Yard Work
To keep your lawn looking immaculate and well-maintained, you’ll have to do more work to make it more appealing. This means, aside from mowing, you’ll have to rake and bag the grass. Even with a bagging attachment on a mower, you’ll still need to move the bagged grass, replace full bags with empty ones, and clean up everything afterward.
How often should you bag your grass? If you decide to bag your grass instead of using the clippings as mulch, you’ll need to do it when your grass is extremely overgrown. This means that your grass should be several inches tall. When mowing taller grass, remove a third of the height per mowing season. Continue this until the grass is mown to its appropriate height.
– Costs More
Some disposal centers will require homeowners to pay fees.
Even if you’re donating your bagged grass clippings to your community or neighbor, you’ll still spend time, energy, and money in transporting or disposing of the bagged grass.
Mulching your collected grass clippings is a great option if you’re looking for low-maintenance, natural, and sustainable ways to do lawn care. On the other hand, mulching can help spread pests and diseases while lowering your curb appeal.
Bagging your grass clippings is less messy while reducing allergy, pests, and disease risks although it can cost more time, effort, and money. The best solution is to look for one that suits you best.
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