How to Use a Mulching Lawn Mower

Overview

Mulching lawn mowers are dual-purpose garden tools that are capable of mowing your lawn, then grinding and re-depositing the clippings. They will also grind up and deposit any fallen leaves that have landed on the lawn. Mulching mowers are typically power lawn mowers with an extra hair dryer-like function that blows the grass clippings down in between the blades of grass to feed the soil. Traditional reel mowers used without a catch serve a similar purpose, but they do not drive the clippings down to the soil surface, so the clippings degrade more slowly and can look unattractive on the lawn surface.

Step 1

Engage the mulching function on your lawn mower once a week each time you mow in the spring. Spring grass blade growth that is mulched down to the soil surface and roots will feed the lawn and help to keep it green during summer heat and drought stress.

Step 2

Run your mulch mower over dry grass. Never use wet grass, as this can cause clumping and tearing of the grass blades, which looks unsightly and invites disease.

Step 3

Set your mulch mower blade height so that you are cutting your grass at 2 to 2 1/2 inches. This will disguise the clippings and present a more lush appearance. If the grass gets taller from skipped mowings, then remove a maximum of 1 inch of blade length in any single mowing session to prevent stress to the grass plants.

Step 4

Scale back watering and fertilizing just slightly, and observe the lawn for performance. Mulch-mowing not only feeds the lawn with the clippings, but it reduces the loss of water to evaporation because the clippings act as protective mulch.

References

  • Purdue University: Mulching Mowers
  • University of Missouri: Don't Bag It Lawn Care
Keywords: using a mulching lawn mower, benefits of a mulching mower, mulching grass with a lawn mower

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.