The lawn is the largest irrigated crop in the USA. All that lawn needs to be watered, mowed, fertilized and kept pest-free. This takes a considerable amount of time, effort, money, materials, and, unfortunately, chemicals. Especially when you consider that all that has to happen over an area bigger than the state of Georgia.
What if I told you that all the steps above could be done in two steps? Mowing, and watering. And the resulting healthy lawn will be more resilient and full of life than before.
Does this sound too good to be true? Then read on to discover the amazing benefits of a mulching lawn mower.
How It Works
First things first, let’s discuss how mulching mowers are different from regular lawn mowers.
With a regular lawn mower, you mow the lawn as normal. Once you’re done, you do another pass over the lawn and collect all the grass clippings. If you’re lucky, you have one of those mowers with a grass collection attachment on the back so you don’t have to collect the clippings.
You then dispose of the grass clippings by throwing them on the compost pile, putting them on the curb to be picked up, or however you dispose of yard waste.
With a mulching mower, things happen differently. A mulching blade is fitted to the mower. This lawn mower blade cuts the grass blades multiple times, chopping the long blades into tiny little pieces of grass.
Since the grass collection chute is blocked, the grass is forced to stay in the deck of the mower until it’s small enough to fall through the blades and get pushed back towards the soil surface.
So the main difference is that with a regular mower, the grass clippings need to be collected while with a mulching lawn mower they do not. This is the first benefit of a mulching lawn mower. Read our post on the difference between mulching lawn mower vs a regular lawn mower for the full breakdown.
What Happens To The Clippings?
This is where the magic happens. The grass gets chopped up repeatedly until it’s small enough to fall through the blades. These finer pieces make their way down through the uncut grass towards the soil surface. This is where it ends up and, because it’s so small, it decomposes quickly. This is why you don’t have to collect the grass clippings when you’re using a mulching mower.
Feeding The Lawn
As I’ve stated above, if you use a mulching lawn mower, you don’t have to fertilize your lawn nearly as much. So where does the grass get the valuable nutrients it needs to become a healthier lawn? Well, from the grass itself. Let me explain.
Since the lawn clippings end up being so small, they decompose quickly. As they decompose, they release all the nutrients that they are made up of. It just so happens that these are the very same essential nutrients needed to maintain healthy grass.
So, as the tiny lawn clippings decompose, they release a natural fertilizer into the soil, which feeds the grass that’s still growing.
Not only this, but the mulched lawn clippings create a suitable environment for increased microbial activity. This is a good thing because those little microbes are essential for creating healthy, living soil that can support a huge variety of plant life.
Watering The Lawn
If you mulch grass clippings you will also be able to cut down on your watering. I’ve outlined how mulched lawn clippings feed your lawn, but how do they water the lawn? Let’s dig in.
All those tiny lawn clippings are going to create a layer of cut grass above the surface of the soil. This layer ends up shading the soil, which slows down evaporation. So mulching mowers keeps the soil moist, but that’s not all.
A blade of grass is made up of up to 80% water. So when these blades of grass decompose, they also release moisture into their immediate atmosphere. Since evaporation has been drastically reduced, a lot of this moisture is made available to the roots of your lawn.
This means that a mulching mower feeds your lawn as well as increasing the moisture levels at the root zone of your lawn, reducing watering needs.
Dealing With Pests
When it comes to dealing with pests, you can continue to use the same methods you use now. However, these methods are often resource and time-hungry.
Using pesticides is treating the symptom of the problem (population boom of “pest” organisms) instead of addressing the root of the problem (unhealthy soil life). If you’re looking for a better solution for dealing with pests, keep reading.
To get the most benefits out of your mulching lawn mower, both you and your lawn are going to have to go through an adjustment period. You’re going to have to learn how to live with a more natural lawn. While your lawn is going to have to reestablish the natural balance of a naturally occurring ecosystem.
This may take some time. How much time depends on how heavily your lawn has been relying on external inputs. If your current lawn maintenance involves plenty of fertilizer that you’ve been transporting in, it’s going to take some time for your lawn to create the environment it needs to thrive without any external inputs.
I’ll be honest, your lawn won’t look great while it’s adjusting. There’ll be some growing pains for a month or two while the lawn and all the accompanying microorganisms establish their natural balance.
However, once your lawn has gone through this adjustment phase, you’ll be happy you went this route. Lawn maintenance won’t be a multiple-step process that will dominate most of your weekends during spring and summer.
Your lawn will also be a lot more resilient. It will be able to withstand poor conditions and pest infestations a lot better than before. It will also be a haven for insects and small critters that are such important elements to life on Earth.
There you have it, the benefits of using a mulching lawn mower. A mulching mower can result in a much healthier lawn that requires a lot less work and maintenance to keep in top condition. In the long run, this saves time. If you’re ready to make the change, here’s a round-up of the best mulching lawn mowers.
To keep your lawn looking amazing, you don’t have to go through a lengthy, multiple-step process, several times every month. Your lawn care can be much simpler. If you change the way you mow the lawn, you can spend the weekends enjoying your lawn instead of maintaining it.
What do you think? Are you ready to make the change to a mulching lawn mower? If not, why not? Comment below and let’s continue the conversation.