Should You Mulch or Bag Grass Clippings?

Some homeowners wonder if they should mulch or bag grass clippings or do both at different times for best results. We've all seen yards that have been mowed that look like they have rows of hay spread about from the dead grass discharged by mowers.

A Mulching Blade

Lawns that look striped with dry, dead grass were mowed with machines that aren't designed for mulching. Standard side-discharge mowers don't grind the grass small enough to be considered mulched. Mowers must be equipped with a mulching blade to do this. This causes the cut grass to be re-cut several times before it's fine enough to fall through the blade to the lawn.

Benefits of Mulching

Mulching your lawn with this process lets the ground retain moisture and helps fertilize your lawn. It also makes erosion less likely and keeps you from having to bag clippings and dispose of them.


Too much mulching can cause thatch. During dry periods, excessively hot periods and after fertilization are the best times to mulch. Bag grass clippings when it appears that the grass is building up or your lawn is becoming thatched.