Grass mulching is not only environmentally friendly, it has many benefits for your lawn. The first benefit, though, is for you. If you use your grass clippings as mulch, you no longer have to worry about bagging them and transporting them. You can just leave them where they fall.
Grass clippings left on your lawn can supply up to 25 percent of your lawn's total fertilizer needs, containing 4 percent nitrogen, 2 percent potassium, and 1 percent phosphorus, all important nutrients for your lawn. In addition, the clippings provide food for bacteria in the soil while decomposing. These bacteria are important because they decompose thatch.
Grass clippings contain 80 to 85 percent water so they decompose quickly. Contrary to popular belief, they do not add to thatch buildup. Thatch is not made of grass clippings; it is the breakdown of grass stems under the ground. Mulching with grass clippings can actually help limit the amount of thatch buildup
In addition, mulching with grass clippings helps retain moisture, cutting down on the amount of watering you need to do by as much as half. It also helps protect the lawn from freeze damage, keeps down weeds, and protects against damaging insects. As the grass clipping decay, they attract moisture and support the growth of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi that collect the moisture and supply it to the roots of the grass. These microbes also release CO2 which is heavy than air and collects near the ground. The CO2 is absorbed by the grass, removing the carbon and putting out oxygen into the air. The increased CO2 helps the leaves of grass use water more efficiently.
Many municipalities have banned grass clippings from waste disposal facilities so mulching with your grass clippings is not only beneficial to your grass, it helps cut down on waste.
To achieve the benefits of grass clippings, there are specific steps you should take when mowing. The first, of course, is to remove your grass catcher. Next, set your lawn mower to a tall setting so that clippings can fall into the lawn, between the blades. Make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp.
To effectively use grass clippings, you want to cut no more than 1/3 of the blade at any mowing. You may need to cut more often, but a lawn is easier to cut if you don't let it get too high. You may need to mow multiple times a week during the prime growing season in spring and early summer.
Be aware that you don't want to leave a thick layer of clippings on the lawn. If the build-up is too much, it can damage the lawn. However, if you mow regularly and cut no more than one-third of the blade each time, you should be fine and your lawn will benefit.