Mulching: good for your yard, good for you
- What is mulch?
- Why should I mulch instead of bagging?
- How do I avoid clumps?
- Does mulching cause thatch?
- My grass is too wet or too tall to mulch. Any suggestions?
What is mulch?
In the case of mulching lawn mowers, the mulch consists of grass clippings from the mowed turfgrass. The clippings are cut into fine pieces that fall easily to the soil surface. There, they can be rapidly broken down by soil microorganisms, which release nutrients from the mulched plant material back into the soil.
Why should I mulch instead of bag ?
It's good for your yard:
Mulching enhances the health and growth of the turf by reducing evaporation of moisture from the lawn and keeping soil temperature cooler.
In addition, it has been estimated that mulched clippings, which are 85 percent water and five percent nitrogen, can provide up to 25 percent of fertilizer needs for an average lawn.
According to Dr. Keith J. Karnok, an agronomist and turf specialist with the University of Georgia, "It's a good idea to mulch grass clippings when possible, providing the mulched clippings do not interfere with the use or appearance of the turf area."
It's good for the environment:
Mulching keeps grass clippings out of landfills. According to the EPA, yard trimmings make up approximately 13 percent (or 28 million tons) of the national waste stream. Grass clippings account for two thirds of all yard waste.
It's good for you:
Mulching takes less time than bagging, because you don't have to stop to empty the bag.
If you live in a municipality that charges extra fees to landfill yard waste, mulching will also save you money.
How do I avoid clumps?
Clumps are ugly, and when left on the surface of the turfgrass, clumps also can damage the plant underneath. Fortunately, Honda makes it easy to avoid clumping.
"The key to mulching grass clippings is the size of the clippings: the smaller the clippings, the better," said Dr. Karnok.
Smaller clippings fall more rapidly to the soil surface and are less likely to clump. The smaller the clipping, the better your lawn will look.
Honda's exclusive twin blade systems cut grass clippings into tiny pieces. The blades make not one, but two cuts along each blade of grass. This results in smaller pieces that naturally mulch better.
Does mulching promote thatch?
Some people may be reluctant to mulch grass clippings because they do not want to promote the buildup of thatch. Thatch is formed when the roots, stems, leaves and other parts of the grass build up faster than they decompose.
"Contrary to popular belief, mulching grass clippings does not contribute to the
buildup of thatch," said Dr. Karnok. "In general, proper mowing, irrigation and
proper fertilization, and in particular, avoiding over-fertilization, will help
keep thatch accumulation down."
More lawn care tips from Dr. Karnok
My grass is too wet or too tall to mulch. Any suggestions?
This is a common problem. Wet or tall grass often results in unsightly clumps. Grass with a high moisture content can also have this problem at times.
Many customers find that they can mulch successfully when using a Honda mower, even in wet or tall grass. Honda mowers offer superior mulching design, and our twin blade system often makes a bag unnecessary.
If your lawn conditions are really severe, try a Honda HRX mower. The HRX series offers our patented Versamow System™, which enables you to both mulch and bag simultaneously. You can incrementally adjust the amount of grass being mulched until clumps disappear. While you may have to bag some clippings, you will still be able to get some of the benefits of mulching - and you'll reduce the number of times you will have to empty the bag.
Versamow gives you the flexibility to mulch without sacrificing the appearance of your lawn. Learn more