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To mulch or not to mulch

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
stewamax
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To mulch or not to mulch

#418213

Postby stewamax » June 8th, 2021, 7:39 pm

My 20-year-old mower having finally departed to mowers' graveyard, I splurged out on a Honda HRX537 HY (a biggish beast but I have lots of lawn).
It has the option to mulch - to send the clippings back down instead of into the bag.
Is this a good idea or a recipe for thatch?

kempiejon
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418215

Postby kempiejon » June 8th, 2021, 7:45 pm

I usually mulch, small lawn though and I run a rake though from time to time; in a previous house with a bigger lawn I mulched but also scarified and slit aerated spring and/or autumn. I think the wisdom is mowing and removing the clippings is taking nutrients out of your lawn.

ReformedCharacter
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418219

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 8th, 2021, 7:55 pm

stewamax wrote:My 20-year-old mower having finally departed to mowers' graveyard, I splurged out on a Honda HRX537 HY (a biggish beast but I have lots of lawn).
It has the option to mulch - to send the clippings back down instead of into the bag.
Is this a good idea or a recipe for thatch?

Thatch isn't caused by leaving lawn clippings:

Thatch is a natural part of the living turf and generally desirable. Thatch is a layer of dead turf material. Contrary to popular belief, it is not formed from the grass leaves that fall into the turf after mowing. Thatch forms for several reasons, but the most important is improper fertilisation. When grass is growing properly, it forms new roots, stems and leaves as the old ones die. As long as new grass is formed at about the same rate as the old dies, there will be no thatch accumulation, but when the grass grows faster than the old material can be destroyed, thatch accumulates.


https://www.rolawn.co.uk/thatch

RC

Dod101
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418224

Postby Dod101 » June 8th, 2021, 8:26 pm

stewamax wrote:My 20-year-old mower having finally departed to mowers' graveyard, I splurged out on a Honda HRX537 HY (a biggish beast but I have lots of lawn).
It has the option to mulch - to send the clippings back down instead of into the bag.
Is this a good idea or a recipe for thatch?


But what was wrong with what you were doing before, or, another way to put the question, why would the acquisition of a new mower change what you did before? For what it is worth, I think mulching (leaving the clippings on the grass) is fine if you are mowing regularly and the grass does not therefore get too long between mowings. I though remove the clippings and feed twice a year and ought to but do not always scarify in the spring before feeding it.

Dod

stewamax
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418234

Postby stewamax » June 8th, 2021, 9:28 pm

Dod101 wrote:But what was wrong with what you were doing before, or, another way to put the question, why would the acquisition of a new mower change what you did before?

Because with the old mower the clippings would shoot out of the vent: normally into the grass-bag but in its absence all over my legs!
The 'mulch' feature is simply a flap that blocks clippings from entering the grass bag and redirects them back to the lawn

stewamax
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418236

Postby stewamax » June 8th, 2021, 9:32 pm

Dod101 wrote:But what was wrong with what you were doing before, or, another way to put the question, why would the acquisition of a new mower change what you did before?

Because with the old mower the clippings would shoot out of the vent: normally into the grass-bag but in its absence all over my legs!
The 'mulch' feature is simply a flap that blocks clippings from entering the grass bag and redirects them back to the lawn

Dod101
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418238

Postby Dod101 » June 8th, 2021, 9:49 pm

That's interesting. Much too technical for my old Flymo! I would be inclined as I said, to let the grass cuttings go back onto the grass itself; in other words to mulch, as long as you are cutting the grass regularly.

Dod

sg31
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418327

Postby sg31 » June 9th, 2021, 11:14 am

I've got just under an acre, most of it is grass. The previous owners collected clippings and couldn't get rid of them quickly enough so there were piles of clippings dumped in every noock and cranny. I mulched at my previous property and contiinued to do so here. I wouldn't do anything else unless the area of grass was very small.

If the grass is wet or too long the mower might leave some unmulched cuttings on the surface, it's not really a problem just raise the cutting height or pass over the unmulched cuttings again with the mower to remulch them.

Not only does the mulch plug stop the cuttings going into the bag it helps recirculate the cut grass so it is chopped finer so that it drops into the existing lawn and rots quickly. The advantage of mulching is two fold, no cuttings and less fertiliser needed.

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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418344

Postby bungeejumper » June 9th, 2021, 11:51 am

We have about 250 sq m of grass, doing various jobs, and we adopt different approaches. We collect the clippings on our main lawn, partly because we like the pinstripes, and partly because the cut grass makes excellent compost. (It ferments really hot, which speeds everything else up no end.)

Our front lawn is full of (ahem) meadow flowers pernicious weeds, so we let the mulch lie. Our side lawn is chock full of speedwell, which is resistant to most weedkillers, and which we have no desire to see spreading elsewhere. So we cut and collect that, and it goes into the green bins for anaerobic composting, which the council assures us will kill it. (I hope they're right. :?)

BJ

Howard
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch

#418364

Postby Howard » June 9th, 2021, 12:22 pm

bungeejumper wrote:We have about 250 sq m of grass, doing various jobs, and we adopt different approaches. We collect the clippings on our main lawn, partly because we like the pinstripes, and partly because the cut grass makes excellent compost. (It ferments really hot, which speeds everything else up no end.)

Our front lawn is full of (ahem) meadow flowers pernicious weeds, so we let the mulch lie. Our side lawn is chock full of speedwell, which is resistant to most weedkillers, and which we have no desire to see spreading elsewhere. So we cut and collect that, and it goes into the green bins for anaerobic composting, which the council assures us will kill it. (I hope they're right. :?)

BJ


I had speedwell in my lawn years ago and found that lawn sand eradicated it. However it took probably five years. I spread a modest sprinkling with a spreader in Spring and then every time I found a clump I sprinkled a little lawn sand on it. I get a lawncare firm to come and put some fertiliser on the lawn twice a year and usually tell them not to use any lawn weedkiller. One of their guys who knows me quite well has been known to place a marker on the only weed he could find in the lawn. I took that as a compliment.

As a fairly keen gardener I too have a Honda mower. It stripes the lawn so it's best to collect the grass and I agree with you, bungeejumper, that, mixed with other garden plants it makes very good compost. Home made compost used for 20 years has completely transformed our garden which started with an inch or two of topsoil over rock chalk. Now the flower beds hold much more moisture. But realistically one has to be fairly keen on gardening to make significant amounts of compost. I like to think of it like fine wine. I will probably spread some of my 2019 vintage later this year. :)

regards

Howard


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