Mowing the lawn and mulching go hand in hand

Mowing the lawn and mulching go hand in hand

This is how a lawnmower works with a mulching function

A classic lawnmower is equipped with a grass catcher basket to collect and dispose of the clippings. In this way, the lawn loses some valuable nutrients every time it is mowed. Not so with a mower with a mulching function. This device works according to the following principle:

  • The cut grass is not caught
  • Instead, the chopped clippings fall back onto the sward as mulch (€ 213.00 at Amazon *)
  • The nutrients contained in the grass clippings are thus returned to the lawn

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A lawnmower for mulching is equipped with a second cutting unit or has a specially shaped blade that breaks the loose material into tiny particles. Newer devices guide the grass repeatedly through the knife area using a special air flow. The most important requirement for successful mulch mowing is a dry, short lawn. This results in regular mowing averaging 20 times per season.

Mow and fertilize at the same time

While mulching for the natural supply of nutrients has long been the norm in agriculture, hobby gardeners are reluctant to use this technique for their ornamental lawns. First and foremost, it was feared that a well-groomed appearance under a layer of mulch is not possible. In addition, the critics suspected an increased formation of lawn thatch. Instead, a current investigation revealed the following:

  • The lawn receives regular fertilization in an average of 20 small portions
  • A lush green, vital sward develops
  • There is no need for additional fertilizers
  • The proportion of the grass types is retained for a harmonious green area
  • The dense growth effectively suppresses moss and weeds

The financial aspect should not be underestimated either. Since you don't have to buy fertilizers, you save around 30-35 euros per square meter per year.

Overview of advantages and disadvantages

As part of a three-year series of tests by the Vienna Institute for Landscape Development at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, a number of prejudices against the mulching mower were dispelled. However, some concerns remain. The following overview of the advantages and disadvantages creates transparency:

No more disposal of clippingsFrequent mowing required
There is no need for long-term fertilizersBest result only with short lawns
No leaching of nitrate into the groundwaterPossible clumping on wet lawn
Vitalization of soil organismsMore complex to maintain
Saving time and money
The grass structure is retained
Decreased moss and weed growth

Tips & Tricks

When purchasing a lawn mower with a mulching function, it should be possible to adjust the cutting height flexibly, preferably beyond the normal 15 to 30 millimeters. If, for example, the lawn is very high after the holiday, mulching only works if it can be cut gradually to 3-4 centimeters.