Lawn mowers are designed to efficiently cut grass so a property owner does not have to spend much time with yard upkeep. Most lawn mowers toss grass clippings to the side or shoot them into a bag. You can use bagged grass clippings for compost. Or you can speed up this composting process by using a mulching lawn mower in combination with a regular lawn mower.
Grass clippings have to go somewhere. While conventional lawn mowers launch the grass clippings to the side or into a bag, mulching lawn mowers suck the grass into a dome above the mowing blade where the grass is cut, recut and returned to the ground.
Grass that is cut by a mulching mower can serve as compost for the lawn, while the grass cut using a regular lawn mower often ends up on the patio, in the neighbor’s yard or in an empty field. Clippings from a traditional mower that are left on the lawn will not benefit the lawn, since the grass clippings are not mulched enough to seep into the lawn.
Mulching mowers both fertilize and provide ground cover for the lawn using the lawn itself. The primary nutrient provided by mulching lawn mowers is nitrogen, which makes up 5 percent of the grass clippings.
Mulching with grass clippings mostly provides the lawn with nitrogen. But if the lawn is already receiving a high amount of nitrogen, the lawn can develop nitrogen burn, which can create brown spots on the lawn.
Mulching and mowing
Mowing with a mulching mower reduces the work required when mowing the lawn -- you don't have to pick up and bag the clippings. However, using a mulching mower exclusively can cause too many grass clippings to build up on the lawn, which can overwhelm the grass. Therefore, you should sometimes bag your clippings. While bagging the grass manually can be time consuming, many lawn mowers bag the grass clippings automatically.