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?
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.
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
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
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!
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