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Why lawnmower need to Mulch, Bag or Discharge Your Grass Clippings

Why lawnmower need to Mulch, Bag or Discharge Your Grass Clippings

Nearly every lawnmower has the option to mulch, discharge and collect grass clippings into a rear bag. For homeowners, the benefits of these mowing techniques isn’t always clear. The best option for the health of your lawn and curb appeal is reducing grass clippings into a fine mulch. There are conditions when discharging or bagging is preferred.

Key Benefit: Finely mulched grass clippings return key nutrients back to the soil surface feeding your lawn.

Negative: Requires homeowners to mow more often and reduce ground speed.


I prefer to mulch my lawn whenever possible. It is the most effective and inexpensive method to maintaining healthy grass plants. Clippings reduce the temperature of soil and prevents evaporation. These are important benefits immediately after grass is cut. To reduce grass clippings into a fine mulch, you must mow regularly with a sharp blade and consistent speed. If grass is too tall clumps form both on the lawn and under your mowing deck. Clumps of grass damage your lawn and strain your lawnmower. If grass is too tall or wet, homeowners risk breaking belts or straining engines. If you rush grass clippings will be too large to breakdown onto the soil. This leads to soil compaction and thatch. Both of these issues are frustrating and required extensive effort to mitigate. So if saving time is a key factor in your lawn care mulching is not the best option.
Side Discharge

Key Benefit: Discharging grass saves time and puts less strain on equipment including wear on blades, belts, spindles, engines and other expensive components.

Negative: Less curb appeal and excessive clumps can damage health of your lawn.

Analysis: Whether discharging from the side of the mower or from the rear, the benefit of side discharge is speed. Quickly cutting and disposing of grass clippings puts less strain on the mower and allows for faster ground speed. When time is a factor, side discharge is the preferred option. That is why our residential zero turn riding mowers all come standard configured with side discharge. It is also the reason professional contractors mowing commercial properties, common areas and even residential properties typically discharge grass.