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What Is a Mulching Lawn Mower?

By Theresa Leschmann ; Updated September 21, 2017
Mulchng mowers make lawn care easier.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of David Sim

Lawn-mowing equipment comes in several styles, each with its own features. There are riding mowers and walk-behind mowers, self-propelled or push mowers, and mulching mower. Understanding how a mulching mower works, what it is supposed to do and the benefits it offers can help you decide if one is right for you lawn care needs.

What is a Mulching Mower?

Mulching mowers are like any other walk-behind mower, with two basic differences. They have enclosed decks that do not discharge grass clippings to the rear or side, meaning there is also no bag attachment. The deck is completely closed. They also utilize special cutting blades shaped differently and may be positioned differently within the deck to facilitate mulching.

How Does it Work?

The blades may have either multiple cutting edges or a saw-toothed edge and they are angled to control the flow of grass within the deck. With the enclosed deck, the special mulching blades keep the grass lifted up while continually cutting and recutting the clippings. When they are small enough, they fall to the ground below, creating mulch.

Why is This Important?

The smaller the clippings are when they fall back into the lawn, the quicker they will decompose, putting moisture and nutrients back into the soil for the lawn. Grass clippings consist primarily of water and nitrogen, both necessary for healthy lawns. If the clippings are too large, they take longer to decompose and can actually kill the grass they are covering up.

How Does a Mulching Mower Save Time?

Mulching the clippings back into your lawn saves time because the grass bag does not have to be emptied and reattached multiple times during the mowing session. Discharge mowers can leave clumps or streaks of large grass clippings that need to picked up or raked after mowing. This should not be the case with a mulching mower. Because of the fertilizing nature of the grass clippings, less time is spent spreading supplemental fertilizers, a cost savings as well.

Are There Other Benefits?

Mulching mowers are not only beneficial to the lawn they help maintain but to our communities as well. Yard waste must be disposed of and in many areas, it ends up taking up valuable space in landfills. By mulching the grass clippings, mulching mowers are helping recycle that yard waste and saving our landfill space for real trash.