To Bag- or not to bag?

Page 1 of 2  
I've got a well established 31 tall fescue lawn growing in Atlanta's hot clay soil (nicest one in the neighborhood, actually). I've always used the grass catcher on my mower but I'm getting tired of emptying the bag all the time.
If I just let the clippings spray out onto the lawn, would I get thatch build-up--- or would the clipping just disintegrate? And how bad is thatch anyhow?
Jos.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jos. Wheeler said:

Yes. Very much so. The clippings from a standard blade will not chop them fine enough to break down before they build up. If you mow often enough, so that the clippings are small, and keep the grass at the correct height for the species, you *may* not have an issue. But, it would require a rigid schedule to ensure that you don't build up the thatch layer to thick.

No. See above.

A little acts as a light mulch, is necessary, breaks down as a high-nitrogen fertilizer, and acts as a cushion for foot traffic. Too much acts as a barrier, keeping water, fertilizer, and air from penetrating to the roots. It also provides a save haven for insect infestation.
If you choose to allow a thatch buildup, you can help control it several ways. You can top dress your lawn with a light layer of compost, or the introduction of earthworms which will eat the thatch. If the thatch becomes too thick, then a bit more drastic measures need to be taken. You can verti-cut your lawn. It's sometimes called a "power rake". In essence, it's a vertical-cutting lawnmower. It's going to leave your lawn looking a mess, but immediately after you're through, just rake up the lose stolons, and throw them away. After you've cleaned up, then you'll need to aerate (with a core-aeraor, and then top dress with compost.
Maintaining your lawn the way it is, would probably be the least amount of work. From your description, you're doing things right. A nice lawn requires a lot of work. There are no shortcuts.
--
Eggs

Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

they become part of the thatch layer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steveo said:

I never said they "were" thatch. But, they *can* contribute to it's build-up. It depends on how long they are, which would depend on how often the lawn is mowed, and at what height.
--
Eggs

-A man who lives in a glass house should change in the basement.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

no, you're not bagging won't really contribute to your thatch layer. Clippings will make a very un-sightly mess behind your mower if they are excessive tho..you can go back over it and chop it again with your tractor and disperse the clippings again..I like to bag during the spring and fall, I use it for weed block along the back forty fence line. Aerate once a year if you can.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steveo said:

Sorry, but the above statement is only partially correct. While it's true that "clippings aren't thatch", it is untrue that they won't contribute to the thatch layer.
Just curious as to your background in turf grass management, if you don't mind providing that information. Please don't take that as any type of flame. I really am only curious.
--
Eggs

-It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stevo knows his stuff and has been posting here for several years

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
plug said:

Oh, I don't doubt it. I've lurked here a while, just haven't posted. My question as to his background was not meant to be derogatory at all. The OP's question has no cut and dry answer.
There are many more factors involved than just "can I quit bagging". The thickness of the existing thatch layer being one. If the clippings cannot come in contact with the organisms near the soil layer, they can't breakdown, and therefore *will* contribute to the thatch layer, creating more problems than simply removing the clippings.
--
Eggs

A piece of motorway and piece of dual carriage way are enjoying a drink in
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

an expert in California or anyplace else.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank's Plug..I am speaking the truth.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

You're so smart about grass, show me where grass clippings are thatch, and then tell me your qualifications.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steveo said:

Ahh. That must make you an expert, then.

There you are again, with the "clippings are thatch". Again, that's not what I said. I explained how they can *contribute* to thatch, in my reply to plug, as well as in my reply to the OP. You, as you've done before, conveniently snipped that part of my reply. If you want to play little Usenet games by snipping all but the part of your reply that will fit your argument, I've no time for that.

I'm currently a Horticulturist at a private country club, and working towards a degree in Grounds Management. Doesn't make me an expert, nope. Never claimed that it did. But, I'll stand by my claims as *I've* made them, not as *you've* snipped and altered them.
--
Eggs

-Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The OP asked if not bagging would add to his thatch layer, and you said:
:Yes, very much so
Again I ask who gave you the bum steer? Thatch ain't clippings. Are you a bull head or what?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Eggs Zachtly wrote:

Clippings do not contribute to thatch any more than snowfall contributes to a pile of dirt.
--
Art

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Artemis said:

Of course they do.
Thatch is the layer of undecomposed and partially decomposed plant material, tightly interwoven with living tissue between the soil surface and the green vegetation. This is *including*, but not limited to, clippings. If lawns are mowed regularly, so that no more than 1/3 of the leaf height is removed each time, there's no need to bag.
That was my only point. If you feel that's incorrect, that's totally on you, but you would be the one that was wrong. There are more factors to consider than just the desire to bag or not.
Never fear, I'll waste no more of my time trying to convince you what contributes to thatch. You obviously don't understand, or can't comprehend it.
--
Eggs

Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
do you have a degree in horticulture?
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nicole said:

In about three weeks, yup. =)
--
Eggs

Are part-time band leaders semi-conductors?
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
here in CA, there's a big difference between horticulture and grounds management. in fact, grounds management for golf courses is a vocational certificate.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.