Mulching Vs Collecting Grass: Which Mowing Type Is Best?

Many lawn mowers today come with a mulching function as well as the standard grass collection box that most of us are used to.

You might be wondering when it’s suitable to mulch your lawn, and when it’s best to collect your lawn clippings in the mower’s grass box.

I’ve shared everything you need to know in this guide.

✅ Key Takeaways:

  • Mulch your lawn if you want to mow faster, you can maintain a regular mowing schedule, or you want to improve grass health and reduce waste.

  • Collect your grass clippings if you want to create a cleaner appearance with better curb appeal after mowing, you’re keen to mow less frequently, you have a porblem with weeds, or you need to mow long or wet grass.

Table of Contents

🧐 Is Mulching Or Grass Collection Best?

There’s no ultimate better choice between collecting and mulching grass clippings – it depends on your personal preferences.

 

If you’d rather mow your lawn without interruptions, you like the idea of fertilizing your lawn as you mow, or you’re able to get your lawn mower out at least once weekly in the summer, use your mower’s mulching function.

 

But if you prefer the neat, clean appearance of a cut lawn with no scattered grass clippings, you need to mow your lawn when the grass is long or wet, or your mower doesn’t have a dedicated mulching function, bagging your grass is probably the best option for you.

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🤷‍♂️ When To Mulch Your Lawn

Here are the occasions when I recommend mulching grass clippings rather than bagging them up in your mower’s grass bag.

🏁 If You Want To Mow Faster

Mulching your grass is the best way to cut 10-20% off your overall mowing time.

 

When you use a mulching mower, you don’t have to stop to empty your grass clippings into your compost pile or garden waste bin.

 

You can simply mow continuously because you’ll be leaving grass clippings behind you as you mow, rather than collecting them in a box or bag with a limited capacity.

📆 When You Can Maintain A Regular Mowing Schedule

Using a mower with a mulching kit is a great option if you have a lot of time for lawn mowing and can mow at least once a week during the height of the grass growing season.

 

Grass grows more quickly during the spring and summer months, so you need to be available to mow your lawn frequently if you want to mulch.

 

Leaving your grass to grow too long will cause issues with mulching mowers because you’ll end up with an excess of freshly cut grass on your lawn.

It’s best to only mulch your grass when it’s around 5-7cm tall – no longer.

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🏜 During Periods Of Drought

Drought periods are also a great time to use your lawn mower mulching attachment.

 

Mulched grass acts as an insulating layer above the growing grass beneath, protecting soils from moisture loss due to evaporation.

 

The grass clippings help to hold and retain moisture, reducing the likelihood of cracked, dry soil and brown, dying grass.

 

If you mulch your lawn during the short heatwave period that’s known as “summer” in the UK, you’ll be able to better protect your grass and use less water to prevent it from drying out.

🌱 If You Want To Encourage Healthy Grass Growth

Using a mulching mower is a handy option if you want to encourage your lawn to grow healthily without the need for chemical fertilizers.

 

Mulch acts as a natural fertilizer and can add nutrients to your soil. The rotting organic matter increases microbial activity in the soil, promoting green, thick, healthy grasses and reducing the likelihood of diseases and thatch.

 

Since mulching simply requires swapping your mower blades or attaching the mulch accessory, you can encourage healthier grass growth without any extra effort.

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♻️ If You Want To Reduce Waste

It’s a shame to dump your grass clippings in a garden waste bin or a compost heap when they have so many lawn health benefits.

 

Mulching your lawn is a great choice if you’re trying to be more conscious about how you dispose of your waste, and you’re keen to learn which methods are the most environmentally friendly.

 

Mulching is a great way to recycle your grass clippings and use them to benefit your overall lawn health, without producing unnecessary waste that clogs up your garden waste or compost bin.

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☀️ Any Time Throughout Spring & Summer

Ultimately, you can mulch your lawn for any reason any time throughout spring and summer – as long as you don’t leave it too long between cutting your grass!

 

Mulching is a great way to provide your lawn with a natural source of essential nutrients and reduce your mowing time because you won’t have to make frequent stops to empty your mower’s grass box.

 

You don’t have to mulch your lawn on specific occasions – you’ll get great results from mulching your lawn throughout the grass growing season.

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🗓 When To Collect Grass Clippings

Here are the occasions when you should get be boxing or bagging grass clippings rather than using your mower’s mulch function:

🌧 If The Grass Is Damp

I don’t recommend mowing wet grass anyway, since your lawn is more susceptible to tearing and damage from the mower tires – but if you really have to mow in wet conditions, you’ll need to use the bagging attachment on your mower.

Mulching wet grass will cause the grass clippings to stick together in clumps. These clumps will be deposited as they are on your lawn, rather than being evenly dispersed (as they are when your grass is dry).

This damp grass will take longer to decompose and will block the grass plants underneath from receiving sunlight, leading to patches of yellow or dead grass.

🍀 If Your Lawn Has A Weed Problem

Another reason to switch to collecting clippings in your grass collector is if your lawn has a weed problem.

 

If you notice weeds even on a small area of your lawn, don’t mulch. Mulching a weedy lawn encourages the spread of weed grasses because it cuts them up and deposits them in other parts of your garden. So, even a small weed problem could quickly grow into a large-scale issue affecting your entire lawn.

 

First deal with your weed grasses and avoid mulching during this time. You can dispose of the bagged clippings safely in your garden waste bin, so there’s no risk of spreading weeds while you’re mowing.

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📏 If Your Lawn Is Overgrown

You’ll also need to collect your grass rather than mulching grass clippings if you have an overgrown lawn.

You shouldn’t mulch when your grass is too long because too much mulch will clog your lawn, damaging the growing grass underneath and reducing the sunlight it gets.

If you’ve left it too long between mowing sessions, it’s not the end of the world – but I recommend using your mower’s bagging system as a one-off, then switching back to the mulching attachment for your next mow.

🌟 If You Prefer A Manicured, Tidy Lawn

Mulch clippings are smaller and less noticeable than normal grass clippings, and they don’t take long to decompose, but they’ll still leave their mark on your lawn for a few days after mowing.

 

If you prefer the appearance of a neat, grass-clipping-free, freshly-mown lawn, you might not want to mulch your lawn.

✂️ If Your Mower Doesn’t Have A Dedicated Mulching Function

A mulch function on a mower is different from simple grass discharge.

 

Mulching involves using a special mulching blade to cut grass clippings up small before feeding them back onto your lawn. Grass discharge, on the other hand, is when the mower uses its standard blade to cut up grass, and these grass clippings are ejected in piles onto your lawn.

 

If your mower doesn’t have a dedicated mulching feature or attachment, don’t simply use rear or side discharge and think you’ll get the same benefits as mulching your lawn. Depositing large amounts of long grass onto your lawn will smother the grass underneath, leading to unwanted moss and thatch issues.

 

Only mulch if your mower is designed to do so. Otherwise, you’ll need to sweep or rake up the grass clippings after mowing.

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💬 Final Word

Hopefully, this article has given you some useful advice about when you should use your mulching lawn mower attachment, and when you should collect the grass clippings in your mower’s grass collector.

 

Mulching has several benefits, and the majority of lawn care professionals prefer to use mulching lawn mowers because of their ability to support lawn health – but that doesn’t mean that mulching is always the most suitable choice.

 

Want to learn about the most popular mulching lawn mowers available today? Take a look at our guide to the best lawn mowers for mulching.