Lawnmower with mulching attachment

I'm in the process of buying a new lawnmower, and I've seen brochures for ones with a mulching attachment, which is supposed to work by shredding the cuttings up small and spreading them back onto the lawn. This is supposed to feed the lawn as well as disposing of the cuttings. Has anyone used one of these, and can you tell me if they're any good?
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We used one for years and they work very well. If you want an immaculate lawn, they may result in too much thatch. For crappy ole standard patches of grass, they work very well and you never have to empty the clippings anywhere. They magically disappear (well almost; they get clipped up very finely and you have to look hard to see them). Ironically, now that we have a big compost heap, we have stopped automulching and now collect the clippings for compost anyway.
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Des Higgins wrote:

I don't think they contribute to thatch, which for most lawns is not a problem. They do leave a little bit of clippings on the lawn if cut regularly, while a bagging type will leave closer to zero. It is not really that noticeable, unless you want a trophy type lawn. If you let it get too long, then they will leave enough that it is definitely noticeable. Many can covert from mulch to bag, but the problem with that is that when it becomes too long, it's also a big pain to bag. Best solution is to cut it higher than normal in mulching, then lower it and recut in a few days.
The advantage of mulching is that the clippings decay and provide benefit to the soil. I have a Honda Harmony 215 and highly recommend it. You may want to check with consumer reports on ratings, as I'm sure there are differences. One thing that is important is to get one that is built for mulching. I had a previous mower that I tried to use one of the add-on mulching type blades to and that didn't work well at all. One other problem the mulching type seem to have is that if the grass is real thin, they don't cut it that well, tending to bend it and leave it more ragged, rather than a clean cut like you get on regular turf.
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we have a husqvarna and it is a mulching model; as you say, it is important to get one that is designed for mulching. The husq has the apron or whatever the surround bit is called, specially designed to help chop the leaves finely. Anyway it is a fine mower. I can also vouch for the effects of letting the grass grow too long.

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I find my mower makes a ragged cut in the mulch mode. It makes a much cleaner cut with a bagger.
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Unless your grass is short and dry, and the mower has a slow forward speed, then forget it.
I have a top of the range Honda HRX21 that has a MicroCut Twin Blade Mulching fitted.
This, as is the case with all other mowers with mulching fitted, are no good if the grass is long and or wet. Even if the grass is slightly damp, you end up with chewed up grass lumps, all over the lawn.
As I cut grass as business, the only one reliable method is to bag it.
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Re the comment that mulching mowers leave balls of wet or long grass; has anyone any experience of mowers that don't attempt to chop up the cuttings very fine but simply blow it out sideways through a chute? Presumably these don't cause balling?
Also any experience of the Haytorette which is designed to cope with long grass without bagging it or of the Viking (Steilh) 3-wheel mulching mower?
Davy

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Davy wrote:

I think what you're talking about is a just a basic side discharge mower. By not cutting up the grass finely, they leave the clippings on the lawn surface, where it's highly visible, especially after it start to dry out. Good solution for a field or similar area where you don't really care, but a poor choice for a front lawn.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

And I find they do drop the occasional lump. And even when they don't, they do leave the cuttings in lines, and a drop of rain may stick the streaks together, causing rows of gunky stuff with yellowing underneath.
--
Mike.



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Fwiw, my Stiga Compact ride-on mulcher doesn't leave clumps behind until or unless there's a build-up of wet clippings on the tyres which eventually falls off. These are easy to pick up by hand or they can be re-mulched by the mower.
A remote controlled hover mulcher might be the answer.
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I use a Snapper brand mower with mulching and it works great. There are variables to consider though, such as wetness/dampness and length of the cut, and I suppose, type of grass.
Are you cutting it weekly during the growth season? Depending on the type of grass, you may find that cutting it less often does not give as good of result.
How short are you cutting it? The more you cut at a time, the more grass you will leave behind, and this may leave more visible remains.
Overall though, we mulch through the entire year and the only time we really have a problem is when our schedule gets disrupted by rain.
While a mower with a mulching blade will bag, it won't bag wet/fairly damp grass well. At least the Snappers don't...
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We bought a John Deere mulching mower some years ago at Chelsea, and we have found it wonderful (I have raved about it before...). Admittedly, we still have our old mower for those times when the grass is just too tall or too wet, but the John Deere copes well with just slightly neglected grass. I was finding the emptying the most tiring part of the process and am only too happy to be rid of it. But also, this mower has swivelling front wheels, which means that I can weave in and out of awkward spots at will and without effort, and hardly ever need to turn around. We have a birch grouping in the centre of the back lawn, and I often just spiral outward in ever larger circles, producing an interesting effect. The wheels can also be locked for straight lines, if preferred. No roller, but hey - cutting of our two-thirds of an acre of mostly lawn has shrunk from most of the day to just an hour and a half!
As for lawn quality, we started with a very mossy lawn, which it still is, probably encouraged by the mulching. But where there is no moss the lawn looks healthy and well!
--
Klara, Gatwick basin

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